There are contemporary Democrats with a high-dominance style. Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky stands up for trans and abortion rights, proclaimed June Pride Month in the state, and chided the unvaccinated during the pandemic. When a Republican lawmaker displayed a photo of Mr. Beshear with drag queens at a gay rights rally and accused him of corrupting kids, the governor shot back that the participants “are as much Kentuckians as anybody else.”

The Republican tucked his tail between his legs, whimpering: “My problem is not with the gay movement. I didn’t say anything about the ‘Pride Celebration.’” Mr. Beshear won re-election by five points in a state Mr. Trump carried by 26 points in 2020.

Mr. Biden’s Republican-owning 2024 State of the Union address and the briny language he uses to describe Mr. Trump in private delighted the Democrats — and won rare kudos from Republican strategists. But these are just flashes of dominance — and flashes aren’t nearly enough.

A dominance advantage is no guarantee of victory, as Mr. Trump’s 2020 loss to Mr. Biden showed. What’s more, Mr. Trump may sometimes pay a price for his extreme dominance style, whether it’s by turning off some voters or incurring the wrath of impatient judges in his seemingly endless court cases.

Still, Mr. Trump’s high-dominance style remains the most formidable tool in his arsenal. Taking on Mr. Trump’s party in its area of greatest strength would leave it beatable in national elections.

Mr. Biden could even counter the perception that his age has rendered him feeble by taking a page from his higher-dominance predecessors, the mighty leaders who mobilized dominance to promote freedom, equality and progress.

M. Steven Fish, a political scientist at Berkeley, is the author of “Comeback: Routing Trumpism, Reclaiming the Nation, and Restoring Democracy’s Edge.”

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By David

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