Given Donald Trump's hold on the GOP-and his rather raucous pursuit of election fraud and tweets and also the occasional rally-circular firing squads may wear red than blue nowadays. The MAGA base hates the GOP now, Fox News Channel is losing ground to Newsmax, and, most importantly, hardly anyone wants to admit that Trump got drilled.
Poor losers like Trump will be the center of these conundrums: he and his supporters insist that they were right even while they got shellacked, while others in the party are loath to show their back on him given his capture of the GOP base. Given the fact that the election fraud lawsuits filed on behalf of Trump have hit the end of the street, the party now has to decide where it wants to maintain the 2022 midterms and 2024 general election. They find themselves stuck: the party continues to be Trumpified but Trump himself is, obviously, toxic to some majority of the population.
Political pundits are, generally, missing some basic changes in voting which were key to Trump losing. In particular, they have to look at three counties to determine how genuflecting before Trump in future years will make Joe Biden's re-election much easier.
These three counties have been in the Midwest \”Blue Wall\” states: Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, Oakland County in Michigan, and Dane County in Wisconsin. Trump won the 3 states that house these counties by about 77,000 votes combined in 2021. These were the three states that he flipped, and they put him in the White House.
This time Trump lost these states by about 250,000 combined votes. Although some in the Trump circle have tried to say the race was lost in these states in the big cities , it wasn't. For example, in Philadelphia County, Biden beat Trump by about 4,000 fewer votes than Hillary Rodham Clinton did. In Allegheny County, Biden beat Trump by about 40,000 more votes than Clinton did. In other words: Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,000 or so votes in 2021, and Biden just about made up that amount in one county.
Dane and Oakland counties performed similarly: The 3 counties came close to creating Trump's statewide numbers from 2021, helping make president-elect Biden the winner.
What was the main difference? Three things: Trump's campaign didn't recognize that the suburban population changed; women's earnings go up in the Midwest states and they're often now the primary breadwinners in their households; and midterm successes increase turnout by generating new voters, as seen by the fact that 2021 midterms in these counties moved the needle in 2021.
Trump and his campaign missed the fact that the African-American population has increased in the suburbs , which caused an unintended counter mobilization. In Oakland County, for example, the suburban population in the southeast corner is much more urban plus much more African-American than it was 10 or 20 years ago. This county was 93 percent white in 1980; it is 75 percent white now. Trump's racial politics-like his ominous suggestions that milquetoast African-American Sen. Cory Booker would destroy the homes of white families-play differently during these counties today.
Another change missed by Trump is the fact that Oakland County's economy has been driven by what they call \”Automation Alley\”: research in the nearby University of Michigan, combined with foreign trade and immigrant/science contributions, powered by the big money from the automakers. Trump flicked at some of this occasionally, but largely ignored it. Given that 59 percent of the foreign-born population within this county is Asian and many likely working in automobile research, huge tariffs and anti-China rhetoric aren't winning messages.
Women in the Rust Belt are actually earning more and are a bigger area of the total economic picture than in the past. Consider that manufacturing jobs are 75 % male while health care and social service personnel are 75 percent female. Now consider that all three states have seen manufacturing jobs either stay flat or decline, while healthcare jobs have risen steadily.
The swing in actual dollars is huge. In Pennsylvania, those who worked in durable goods manufacturing brought home $21 million in January of 2000, and $22 million in January of 2021. Rival healthcare dollars: $30 million annually in January 2000, and $74.3 million in 2021. The point here is that Trump and the GOP often portrayed the women in the suburbs as mindless wine-box-consuming hausfraus, but the things they missed is that they were generally the working parent who not just oversaw household spending, but earned quite a bit of what was spent too.
\”Common sense suggests that suburban women were skeptical about Trump prior to the pandemic,\” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres said in a recent interview with Vox. \”Having their lives utterly disrupted by school closings and seeking to help 6- and 7-year-olds learn virtually while also holding down a job has simply exacerbated their preexisting skepticism about Trump.\”
Lastly, the 2021 midterms influenced how these counties voted in 2021 because of new election data you can use going forward.
Allegheny County had the big congressional redistricting race in 2021, in which moderate Democrat Conor Lamb won inside a district that leaned very much right. In Oakland County, Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer won the usually red county by 17 points in her own first race for the top spot, as the Democratic winners in the secretary of state and attorney general races also reversed the popularity. Dane County has always been a Democratic stronghold, the answer in the Dems bouncing out Republican governor Scott Walker for Tony Evers was they increased turnout from 72.9 percent in 2021 to 88 percent in 2021.
Trump never determined that local issues with a federal component-freeway construction needs in Oakland County; healthcare and STEM research in Pittsburgh; and urban job training and park expansion in Madison-are big factors for voters. You receive votes by sending money back to taxpayers in the form of spending programs where they live.
Some conservatives think they should be preparing legal responses to Biden's promise to sign executive orders in his first month that could undo a number of Trump's policies on immigration, foreign policy, and restoring programs which have been killed. The public may not be inside a mood for that.
\”To be sure, Trump's petulant refusal to concede is forcing a bit of a kabuki dance, particularly for McConnell and GOP members, to pretend that the election either didn't happen or has not yet been resolved,\” wrote Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. \”But once that's resolved, there really is a chance for at least a brief period of moderate stability and measured governing, simply because, for once, neither party is within a position to go too far. Any coalitions must be built from the center out, not in the left or right in.\”
What the GOP refuses to acknowledge is very obvious to most everyone else: The media stop covering Trump's rallies; his MAGA base will diminish; and protests against elected officials goes away. The suggestion that election fraud caused him to get rid of will subside quickly. Individuals will be seeking stability rather than chaos, and there will be more counties like Dane, Oakland, and Allegheny these days in the next few years.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Trump will have no good answer for the following question as time goes on: \”What have you done for me personally lately?\” That's usually measured in months and never years. This is why the idea of Trump running in 2024 almost seems like bad fiction: Not only is he a loser, he can't deliver anything to his voters aside from in-person spectacle in the form of rallies. Consider the attention length of the American public nowadays and then think of how Trump is going to be perceived in 2024.
Republicans have a choice. Take some short-term heat from Trump and his most dedicated fans by ditching him now. Or carry him round the party's neck like an albatross, alienating voters in must-win suburban counties in 2022 across the way-which would in turn imperil their chances in 2024 of defeating Biden's reelection efforts.