News & Politics

Part of Trump's Base and Left's Worst Nightmare: Disaffected Democrats

(AP Photo/Matthew Holst)

As I was tweeting, just the other day:

And:

Comes now a story in the New York Times, making a similar point or two:

Donald Trump holds a dominant position in national polls in no small part because he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the Republican coalition.

He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm.

Mr. Trump’s huge advantage among these groups poses a challenge for his campaign, because it may not have the turnout operation necessary to mobilize irregular voters.

But it is just as big a challenge for the Republican Party, which has maintained its competitiveness in spite of losses among nonwhite and young voters by adding older and white voters, many from the South. These gains have helped the party retake the House, the Senate and many state governments. But these same voters may now be making it harder for the party to broaden its appeal to nonwhite and younger people — perhaps even by helping to nominate Mr. Trump.

Analysis: partly correct. What the Times misses here is the most important issue — not whether the GOP can attract nonwhite and younger voters (something the Left obsesses over) but whether Trump could siphon away enough angry Democrats to make the point moot.

Mr. Trump has broad support, spanning all major demographic groups. He leads among Republican women and among people in well-educated and affluent areas. He even holds a nominal lead among Republican respondents that Civis estimated are Hispanic, based on their names and where they live.

But Mr. Trump’s lead is not equal among all groups, or across all parts of the country. His support follows a clear geographic pattern. He fares best in a broad swath of the country stretching from the Gulf Coast, up the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, to upstate New York.

Mr. Trump’s best state is West Virginia, followed by New York. Eight of Mr. Trump’s 10 best congressional districts are in New York, including several on Long Island. North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and South Carolina follow.

Naturally, the Times blames another of its obsessions — racism:

His geographic pattern of support is not just about demographics — educational attainment, for example. It is not necessarily the typical pattern for a populist, either. In fact, it’s almost the exact opposite of Ross Perot’s support in 1992, which was strongest in the West and New England, and weakest in the South and industrial North.

But it is still a familiar pattern. It is similar to a map of the tendency toward racism by region, according to measures like the prevalence of Google searches for racial slurs and racist jokes, or scores on implicit association tests.

If Trump sweeps the red states, and makes the Democrats fight hard for New York State, he can win, and win going away.