After two nights of debates, the Democratic field for President needs to decide what its approach is going to be to try to unseat President Donald Trump, says an Emporia State University political scientist.

“There are at least two schools of thought,” said Michael Smith. “School A is that the voters that put Trump in the White House, with the help of the Electoral College, were voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and switched to Donald Trump in 2016. There are about two of them nationally for every one that switched from Romney to Clinton. They’re concentrated in the Rust Belt. The idea is that we need to win those back.”

Some in the other school don’t think those votes are so easily changed and that there is another generation that needs to be courted.

“We need to energize new, young progressives, especially women, people of color and people in the LGBTQ community,” said Smith. “Democrats are really in the midst of debating that right now. It will determine the direction of
the party.”

The Democratic Party also needs to articulate a message that shows voters that things aren’t as good for them as they could be, or they could fall victim to people simply wanting the status quo because they are doing well personally from an economic standpoint.

“It is very true that it is very hard to beat an incumbent President when the economy is doing well, whether that President is actually the one that deserves to take credit for the economy or not,” Smith said.

The next pair of debate nights is July 30 and 31.