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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP Worried About ‘Turnout Disaster’ Without Trump

By now, you’ve probably heard several versions of the argument that President Biden can only beat Trump, and if any other Republican gets the GOP presidential nomination Democrats are screwed. Not so fast. At The Hill, Alexander Bolton chews on that assumption and argues,

Republican strategists are worried that if former President Trump doesn’t secure the GOP’s presidential nomination next year, or if he is kept off the ballot because of his mounting legal problems, it could spell a voter turnout disaster for their party in 2024.

GOP strategists say there’s growing concern that if Trump is not the nominee, many of his core supporters, who are estimated to make up 25 percent to 35 percent of the party base, “will take their ball and go home.”

“The conventional wisdom is there’s concern that if Trump’s not the nominee, his coalition will take their ball and go home,” said Matt Dole, a Republican strategist based in Ohio, where Republicans are targeting vulnerable Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Bolton notes further, “A Pew Research Center analysis of the 2022 midterm election published last month found that higher turnout among Trump voters last year was a key factor behind Republicans winning control of the House….The analysis found that 71 percent of voters who backed Trump participated in the midterm election, compared to 67 percent of voters who supported Biden.”

Also, Bolton adds,

Given the shift of college-educated women and suburban voters to Democrats since the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, Republicans are counting on big turnout in rural areas and from the so-called “Trump coalition” to win the presidential and congressional races next year.

“With controversial issues like abortion in the suburbs, Republicans have to make up for it in rural parts of the state, and without Trump on the ballot, rural parts of the state just didn’t turn out at the same rate,” the [unnamed] strategist said of the election result in Ohio.”

Yes, Biden’s polling numbers could be better. But 14 and a half months before Election Day is a bit early for doomsaying or high fives. Trump, or no Trump, however, there are persuasive arguments that Biden can win, regardless of the GOP nominee.

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