One point I’ve been trying to make for the last three years is that a fair number of Democratic voters are, to use a word, deplorable. That is, there are bigots who vote for Democrats in spite of and in opposition to their bigotry. Consider this figure:
Lots of Democratic deplorables–though we have far fewer. That said, these data also indicate there’s a flipside to that coin (boldface mine):
One is an Obama/Trump voter….
I’ve been unrelenting over the last four years in talking about how Democrats are not doing enough to address market consolidation and monopoly power. This is why they didn’t win Mr. Johansen’s vote in 2016. Now Johansen can choose someone like Elizabeth Warren who is laser-focused on the issue, but he’s not leaving Trump because he’s excited about the alternatives. He’s just turned off by Trump’s racism, thinks his economic policies are chaotic, and is ready to punish him for failing to keep his health care promises…
Then there’s the Romney/Trump voter…
Here, the only expressed regret is that Trump is too dishonest. It’d be interesting to learn which lies are most concerning to Mr. Brogna, but the cumulative effect has been sufficient for him to not vote for Trump again.
There’s a narrative on the left that Trump voters are unreachable, deplorable racists who showed through their 2016 support for the man that they have no moral standards. Polls showing the president retaining the support of 90 precent or more of Republicans tend to confirm this opinion. But the truth is that Trump got votes for many different reasons, including from many traditional Democrats who were frustrated about the economy and from Republicans who opted for him only because they had spent a lifetime marinating in anti-Clinton storylines. Trump has taken these voters for granted, and it’s likely to cost him.
Democrats must not compromise on their core issues, especially the existential fight against white Christian nationalism, to win over former Trump voters, especially at the cost of demoralizing and demobilizing Democratic voters (either likely or ‘low-attachment’). But if they can pick off a few former Trump voters simply by reminding those on the fence how he has failed to make their lives better–and telling those same voters how Democrats will make their lives better–it can’t hurt. And the same rhetoric can be used to win over Democratic-leaning, low-attachment voters (e.g., healthcare). It would be political malpractice to not do this.