Some unsolicited campaign advice for President Trump from me (via Agatha Christie)

Had some fun with my column at Real Clear Politics today by becoming an ersatz campaign adviser to President Trump. The advice is entirely sound though, so maybe he will take a look at it. The idea comes from “Murder on the Orient Express,” the classic murder mystery by Agatha Christie, but in my version it was the Democrats who all “did it,” and if Trump follows my advice, they won’t get away with it. Read it at RealClear Politics if you want to leave a comment.

Murder on the Campaign Express: All the Dems Did It

By Frank Miele

The polls look bad for President Trump, but the polls have always looked bad for this particular candidate.

Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, says that polling is dead as a tool of political prognostication.

“I just think the country is too complex now to call a couple hundred people and ask them what they think,” Parscale told CBS. “There are so many ways and different people who show up and vote now. The way turnout works now. The abilities we have now to turn out voters. The polling can’t understand that. And that’s why the polling was so wrong in 2016. It was 100% wrong. Nobody got it right — not one public poll. The reason why — it’s not 1962 anymore.”

Of course, that’s right. It would also be nice to know how many times pollsters got told “hell no” before they reached that “couple hundred people” who were willing to talk. It is easy to envision Trump haters wanting to vent to pollsters while at the same time Trump supporters were unanimously giving a giant middle finger to the wholly owned polling subsidiary of Fake News by hanging up.

It’s also true that most presidential polls in the public eye talk about the national race, which is irrelevant in a world where the Electoral College, not the popular vote, decides elections.

Yet it is hard for even the most solid Trump supporter to get behind Mr. Parscale’s prediction of an “electoral landslide” for Trump in 2020. Even if a landslide is measured by the fairly modest margin of 2016, few can be so confident at this juncture when so many forces are aligned against the president.

Yes, the president will have a huge campaign treasure chest at his disposal — as much as $1 billion, according to some reports — but one has to hope that he doesn’t think money can buy an election. Otherwise, Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton would be in the Oval Office today.

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There has to be a message as well, and no, it doesn’t have to be a policy message. Policy wonks don’t make good candidates — just ask former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who got trounced in 1988 by the first President Bush. The message has to be simple: “I’m better than the other guy (or gal) — here’s why.” Candidate Trump is a master of this strategy, as 16 other Republicans and a punch-drunk Hillary can attest.

However, Republicans need to be aware that they are vulnerable to this strategy as well. President Trump has been marginalized by the mainstream media for three-plus years to such an extent that it will be easy for a plain-Jane Democrat candidate to point at him as a dangerous tyrant, a buffoonish tool of Putin, a racist imperialist, or any of a number of other cartoon characters that liberals see when they hear the words “President Trump.”

The Trump campaign needs to be able to fight back against that certain onslaught, and the president will no doubt come up with a strategy of personalizing his eventual opponent with a derogatory nickname and a favorite Achilles’ heel. Nonetheless, with all due respect to Parscale and Trump for their respective skills, that may not be enough.

The mainstream media have been softening up Trump with body blows for the last three years. If he is still going to be standing on election night in 2020, he will need to recognize that his true opponent is not Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren; it is the Democratic Party. Therefore, no matter who the nominee is, Trump’s winning move is to run against all 24 of the Democrats currently in the race.

Call it the “Murder on the Orient Express” strategy. In that classic Agatha Christie novel, it turned out that all of the passengers on the train had conspired to kill the man whose body was discovered in his sleeping coach. The motive was what connected them all. Now let’s turn everything on its head. Imagine that 24 Democrats are trying to destroy Trump. Eventually, due to the nature of the primary election process, only one will be left, but if Trump were to act as if only one Democrat was guilty, he would be making a huge mistake.

Remember, that single Democrat, once nominated, will spend three or four months working to convince the voting public that he or she is a reasonable, moderate, helpful, hopeful politician who just wants to protect the country from this “dangerous, out-of-control president.” Trump might or might not win that battle, but his odds would be greatly expanded were he to recognize his true opponent — the Democratic Party itself, represented by some two dozen candidates who are mostly convinced that America would be better off as a socialist state.

The perfect winning strategy is to catalog all of the most outrageous declarations of the top Democratic candidates and replay them nonstop in September and October — contrasted with the president’s many accomplishments.

  • Clip 1: Cory Booker promising billions of dollars in reparations for slavery.
  • Clip 2: Beto O’Rourke promising to tear down every border barrier.
  • Clip 3: Kirsten Gillibrand promising to shut down Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • Clip 4: Elizabeth Warren promising to forgive all student loans, and then to provide free college for everyone else.
  • Clip 5: Mayor Pete promising a national gun registry as his first step in dismantling the Second Amendment.
  • Clip 6: Joe Biden promising to bankrupt the national economy by pursuing a Green New Deal that would make Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proud.

And what about Bernie Sanders? He’s the gift that keeps on giving, promising all of the above — and a pro-communist foreign policy, too!

Of course, the president could intermix quotes from Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Gavin Newsom, Andrew Cuomo, Ralph Northam and a cast of thousands. Almost any Democrat will do as a poster child for the extreme, radical anti-American agenda that will be on the table if Trump is defeated in November. No matter how much the candidate protests, it’s up to Trump to demonstrate that a victorious Democratic candidate will be beholden to the progressive, radical agenda of Ocasio-Cortez and her loon squad on the left.

Is this a fear-mongering strategy? No, it is a realistic strategy. If Trump loses, the Democrats will be emboldened to push their radical agenda. Americans who don’t bookmark RealClearPolitics and stay up-to-date on the insane day-to-day extremism of the Democratic Party have a right to be fully informed before they mark their ballots.

Frank Miele writes from Kalispell, Montana, at and is a columnist at Real Clear Politics. To read more of my columns about the Dishonest Media, the Deep Swamp, the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Trump’s war to restore American greatness, read my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy or “The Media Matrix: What If Everything You Know Is Fake?”. They are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. 

Also visit Heartland Diary on YouTube at

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