It is a gray and damp first-day-of-spring Wednesday and time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum. Blogger has been perplexed by Mr. Donald Trump's latest spat of tweets, attacking the late-Senator John McCain, making disparaging comments about White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband, complaining (again) about Saturday Night Live, and the usual Trump rants. What has Blogger scratching her head is what is behind it. Could it be the specter of the special counsel's final report--which the president is in favor of releasing to the general public. Investigations by the House or Representatives Democrats, federal prosecutor at the Southern District of New York, or just plain boredom. Whatever the case may be, the president would be best served if he put down the phone for good and focused on being the President of the United States because the 2020 Presidential Election cycle is in motion. One place the president and his team need to worry about is suburbia.
|American suburban house|
Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey report,
Trump's advisers also believe the Democratic Party's recent shift to the left on a host of issues,... will help the president and other Republicans focus on a Trumpian message of strong economic growth, national border restrictions and "America First" trade policies. (washingtonpost.com; Mar. 10, 2019; date accessed Mar. 20, 2019)
In late January, The Post and ABC News conducted a survey (Ibid; Jan 21-24, 2019) revealed that the president is looking at growing opposition from key voting blocs: women, suburban residents, and minorities, the majority of who told pollsters that "they would 'definitely not' vote for the president" (newsweek.com; Mar. 11, 2019; date accessed Mar. 20, 2019).
The 2018 midterm elections also spotlighted the president's loosening grip in Republican suburbia. The numbers tell the story: "According to an analysis by the Post, the GOP lost control of 37 suburban districts during the midterm election cycle. Heading into Election Day, Republicans had held nearly 70 of those districts." (Ibid)
|Stacy Abrams campaign rally|
|Trump rally today|
|Voters in Chesterfield, Virginia November 2020|
Really, the lessons on how to win back suburbia applies to both Republicans and Democrats but for the sake of this post let us focus on Republicans because they took a serious beating in the midterms. The best places to study are the congressional districts that flipped Republican to Democrat, like the ones in Orange County, California. The first lesson, no outrageous character assassinations.
The lesson is particularly significant for Republicans who lost seven governorships, 40 seats in the House of Representatives, and two purple state (Arizona and Nevada) seats in the Senate. Trashing your opponent may make headlines on Fox News but one of the critical reasons Republicans suffered massive loss last November especially among suburban Republicans and Independents was their revulsion to the president's rhetoric (nationalreview.com; Nov. 15, 2019; date accessed Mar. 20, 2019).
|The March for Women|
Second, pay attention to suburban white women. In 2018, these college educated ladies were key to returning control of the House to Democrats: "According to exit polling conducted by Public Opinion Strategies [pos.org; date accessed Mar. 20, 2019], there was a 20 percent gap between educated white women who voted Democratic versus those who voted Republican" (thehill.com; Dec. 26, 2019; date accessed Mar. 20, 2019). The report found that in states with a percentage college educated voters above the national average of 10.3 predictably voted Democrat. Republicans lost voters with college degrees by 8 percent, in contrast to 2016 when the president won it by 10 points. (Ibid)
Over time, suburban white women have come to view the Democratic Party as being on the right side of history, the party of "smart people." The party that embraces science and protects children. Republican candidates were stumbling all over themselves trying to explain how their support for fossil fuel and similar policies were not responsible for extreme weather, global political unrest, famine, and migration. Suburban women simply do not connect with Madame Secretary's (in)famous basket of deplorable comment. Assuming that this key bloc will vote Republican because of good economic news is naivete on their part.
|Voters waiting in line|
Finally, the path to the president's re-election runs through minority communities. In order to gain minority voters, the Republicans need to change the media narrative of "Trump and hate" (nationalreview.com; Feb. 21, 2019; date accessed Mar. 20, 2019). This is no small task, given the endless accusations of racism leveled at the president and other ignorant comments spewing forth from his mouth. The upside is that more African American and Latino voters cast their ballots last November. Further, African American men have become the major bloc trending favorable toward the president. How to win back minority voters. Start with the economy.
Voters want real results like manufacturing rebound, low unemployment, and pay raises for blue collar workers, most of whom are African American and Latino, all delivered by the president. The president understands the attraction of economic recovery for the working class. Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic, who represent a large swath of culture, religion, and ethnicity, and face systemic bias in admissions to elite universities.
The point here is unless Mr. Trump spends more time campaigning on actual, real world issues, instead of blathering on about "no collusion," his Electoral College victory, or how the McCain family supposedly owe him a thank you for approving a state funeral for the late Senator, he could find himself out of a job on November 4, 2020. The president would also be very well advised to waste time demonizing every potential Democratic opponent in hopes of running against a weak adversary. It is childish and will backfire.