The 2018-focused work ranges from a major donor-funded super PAC designed to blemish Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s image, to a full-scale effort to defeat Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown outright before he gets the chance to take on Trump. Beyond that, after months of monitoring dozens of potential challengers, Trump allies are building research files and crafting lines of attack on Democrats seen as most threatening to Trump and who will be on the ballot next November.
The patchwork push is less organized than past efforts orchestrated by presidential reelection campaigns. But it’s beginning to resemble Republicans’ successful attempt to drag down Hillary Clinton before she announced her 2016 run. Plus, with Trump under siege from Democrats and Republicans — and with his team wary of a GOP primary challenge — it’s more confirmation that Trump allies are already maneuvering for a bruising 2020 campaign.
The bulk of the early preparations underway focus on seven possible 2020 Democrats who are up for reelection in 2018.