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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Brownstein: Dems Gain from Trump’s Shrinking Coalition

At CNN Politics, Ronald Brownstein writes that ” Trump has imposed a distinctive bet on the GOP. He’s increased its reliance on the people and places least touched by — and most resistant to — the seismic demographic, cultural and economic changes remaking America, while accelerating the party’s retreat in the places, and among the people, that most welcome those changes. Evidence is growing that in November, the GOP could be pushed back further into its strongholds and lose more ground in diverse, growing metropolitan America, even if Trump finds a way to overcome his persistent deficits in national polls to Democratic nominee Joe Biden.” Brownstein notes, further,

In 2016, Trump won very few of the states with the most immigrants, the most college graduates or the fewest White Christians, and polls show he could lose several of the small number he did carry in each category. House Republicans, while still strong in rural areas, are also at high risk for even further losses in the big metropolitan areas that keyed the Democratic surge in 2018. That same demographic and geographic realignment threatens embattled GOP senators in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Maine and potentially Iowa, Georgia and conceivably even Texas.

The conundrum facing the GOP will be visible in the passionate support for the President on display this week. As the previously Republican-leaning voters who can’t abide Trump’s definition drift away from the party — a dynamic that Democrats highlighted last week by featuring so many prominent Republicans at their own convention — what’s left are those most bonded to Trump’s polarizing approach. That will make it difficult to build a coalition for changing direction if Trump loses this fall, even if he takes down the GOP Senate majority with him.

Brownstein adds that “all signs suggest that Trump and the GOP this year will become even more reliant on support from his narrow coalition of core groups: Whites who live in rural areas, lack college degrees or identify as evangelical Christians. Polls conducted just before the national conventions showed that while Trump generally is not quite matching his extraordinary 2016 levels of support from those groups, he remains very strong with them.”

“Polls consistently show him drawing support from only about 30% of adults younger than 30,” notes Brownstein, “and unlike 2016, when many of those younger voters splintered off to third-party candidates, several surveys suggest that Biden could consolidate as many as two-thirds of them, far more than Hillary Clinton did in 2016…Trump is at risk of the weakest performance for any Republican presidential nominee in the history of modern polling, tracing back to 1952, among White voters with a college education; a flurry of recent surveys, including those from CNN, NBC/Wall Street Journal, Pew and ABC/Washington Post, all showed Biden winning at least 57% of them, an unprecedented number for a Democrat.”

As Brownstein observes, “The groups he runs best with are almost all shrinking as a share of American society, while the groups that he’s alienated are growing.” He quots Republican pollster Whit Ayers, who explains, “The trends of 2016-17 and ’18 are continuing apace, with continuing weakness of the Republican brand in suburban areas that had traditionally voted Republican coupled with strengthening of the Republican brand in rural areas that had traditionally voted Democrat…The problem, of course, is that the Republicans are trading larger, faster-growing areas for smaller slower-growing areas, and the math does not work out in the long run with that sort of trade.”

Brownstein cites the “rejection of the Trump-defined GOP in suburbia,” which has “pointedly demonstrated the limits of the combative political vision the President is celebrating at this week’s convention.” He concludes with a quote from Republican Rep  Charlie Dent (PA) who has endorsed Biden: “If the President loses reelection and the Senate were to flip, then I believe there will be a reckoning and the need for a very real conversation…There will be no need for another ‘autopsy.’ We will know who killed the patient here.”

One comment on “Brownstein: Dems Gain from Trump’s Shrinking Coalition

  1. Martin Lawford on

    Biden and the Democrats’ victory in 2020 seems imminent. Let’s not forget, though, that when the party scored a decisive victory in 2008 they took one of the worst defeats in living memory in 2010. The time is now, when victory is in sight, to avoid the errors which caused a heavy defeat in the next off-year election.


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