Why it’s so hard for Democrats to pick off Trump supporters

Why it’s so hard for Democrats to pick off Trump supporters
Credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Fo­cus groups can be self-ful­filling Rorschach tests, with prac­ti­tion­ers cherry-pick­ing the parts that fit their pre­con­ceived nar­rat­ive. But it’s non­ethe­less use­ful to pay close at­ten­tion to Demo­crat­ic poll­ster Stan­ley Green­berg’s find­ings from a group of Ma­comb County, Michigan sup­port­ers of Pres­id­ent Trump, all in­de­pend­ents and Demo­crats. The fine print of these swing voters’ re­ac­tions is as sig­ni­fic­ant as Green­berg’s con­clu­sion that Demo­crats can win back some Trump voters by pivot­ing left­ward on eco­nom­ic is­sues.

The full re­port should be read by any Demo­crat in­ter­ested in for­ging a path back to power with Trump in of­fice. For all the anti-Trump sen­ti­ment cours­ing through the coun­try, many will find Green­berg’s find­ings sober­ing. Yes, Demo­crats could win a small slice of Trump voters by ad­opt­ing a more eco­nom­ic­ally pop­u­list mes­sage geared to­wards the Mid­west­ern states. But the cul­tur­al dis­con­nect between Trump’s voters and the op­pos­i­tion is so wide that it’s hard to see Demo­crats mak­ing com­prom­ises with this siz­able, dis­af­fected con­stitu­ency.

Green­berg has ex­tens­ive ex­per­i­ence in Ma­comb County, where he con­duc­ted a series of sem­in­al stud­ies of Re­agan Demo­crats in the 1980s.

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