Saturday, October 24, 2020

Where Have All the White Noncollege Voters Gone--Long Time Passing

Can Trump ride the declining white noncollege demographic to one more victory? We'll soon find out. But it's a heavy lift and it's getting heavier by the year for the GOP. Ford Fessenden and Lazaro Gamio provide the details in a New York Times analysis, which bears some resemblance to work I myself have done in the past.
“For his entire term, Trump has made very few attempts to reach out and broaden his coalition,” said Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “He has been trying to expand the Trump base that casts ballots, and they could substitute for the diminishing group of blue-collar whites.”
In some key states including Pennsylvania and Florida, new Republican voter registrations have outnumbered new Democratic ones.
“The combination of the president’s personality and style combined with the demographic challenges leaves very little margin for error,” said Ken Spain, a Republican strategist. “Increasing registration while juicing turnout is his only play at this stage. It would mean defying the polls again.”
But Mr. Trump has appeared to generate a countervailing enthusiasm among both educated white voters and minority voters. The turnout of both groups spiked in 2018 as well.
The result was the 2018 blue wave in which the Democrats took over the House of Representatives.
“You had a heroic performance in these declining groups in 2016,” said Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, referring to the Trump base.
In 2018, other groups closed that enthusiasm gap. If that happens again, Mr. Trump’s advantage diminishes. “Without replicating the relative turnout advantage he had in 2016, what has he got?” Mr. Teixeira said. “He has a sinking demographic ship, and he may go down with it.”...
If Mr. Trump is to be successful turning out new voters, there are plenty in swing states, which remain bastions of the non-college-educated white vote. But most of these states have also been undergoing the same changes in the electorate as the country as a whole.
And compared with Mr. Trump’s tiny 2016 margins in some of these states, the demographic changes since then are a tsunami, especially in critical states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.....
The changes in demographics are driven largely by aging: The non-college-educated white cohort is older and steadily declining as its members die. The Biden coalition is younger and aging into the electorate.....
Beyond 2020, these trends foreshadow further strengthening of both minority and college-educated white cohorts at the expense of white voters without college degrees.
“Over time these underlying shifts are really quite potent,” Mr. Teixeira said, “and would suggest that just getting rid of Trump may not be enough for the Republicans to right the ship.”

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