Trump’s winning coalition and its weaknesses... In the aftermath of the 2012 election, when just about everyone assumed Mitt Romney lost because he didn’t win enough Hispanic votes, the election analyst Sean Trende produced a dissenting take. A close look at the results across the Midwest and Appalachia revealed a large population of what Trende called “missing white voters” — a mostly working-class constituency that simply declined to turn out in the Romney-Obama contest, and that a future (and more populist) Republican might win... explicit “double down on white voters” argument has circulated for years on the margins of conservatism, and it had obvious influence over Donald Trump’s campaign strategy in 2016. His mix of economic populism and deliberate racial polarization was supposed to be demographically foredoomed — but instead it won him precisely those regions Trende’s analysis had highlighted, and the presidency as well... Compared to exit polls, a couple of things stand out: First, Pew has whites at 74 percent of all voters (CNN’s exit poll had them at 71 percent), and second, it has whites without a college degree, Trump’s key constituency, at 44 percent of all voters (compared to just 34 percent for CNN)... Turning out disaffected whites is more politically effective than most people imagined after 2012, but white voters are ultimately too divided to make a “white strategy” work as a foundation for a real governing majority... A performative anti-whiteness is common among white lefties seeking a rhetorical cudgel against blue-collar Archie Bunkers and popped-collar frat bros... And some conservative-white anxiety about the browning of America reflects a fear that minority votes will put the real enemy, white liberals, into power permanently... So even with a slower immigration rate, a slower pace of demographic change, the Republican Party would still need either some of the white voters Trump alienated or some of the minority votes he didn’t really try to win — and neither can be delivered by the white strategy alone... nstead of a white strategy pursue a populist strategy shorn of white-identity appeals.
- Keep the infrastructure promises and
- drop the birther forays;
- pursue E-Verify but
- forgo the child-separating cruelties;
- be tough on China but
- stop vilifying black athletes;
- embrace nationalism but
- stiff-arm Confederate nostalgia.
.. Some Republicans really welcome racial polarization; others, a larger group, are hoping to simply return to the ideological comforts of zombie-Reaganism once Trump has vanished from the scene. Meanwhile Trump himself seems mostly content to fight from within the redoubt the white strategy built for him rather than expand it.