May 29, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump's 2020 plan to target black, Hispanic and suburban female voters

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Trump campaign officials have been discussing a digital campaign to boost President Trump’s 2020 support among three key demographic groups: African Americans, Hispanics and suburban women, two sources familiar with the plan tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are the groups the president must make inroads with the most. Trump won in 2016 with less support from black and Hispanic voters than any president in at least 40 years, per Reuters. And in 2018, suburban women revolted against Republicans in the midterms, a shift that was widely seen as a direct rebuke of Trump.

  • "We have high confidence that we’ll make great inroads with key voters,” a senior Trump campaign official told Axios.

Examples of the planned messaging, per the official:

  • Across the board, the campaign plans to play up the strong economy and historic low unemployment.
  • For Hispanics: They'll emphasize that Trump supports school choice and expanding educational opportunities.
  • For African Americans: The campaign will tout that how Trump supports health care policies that protect patients with pre-existing conditions. They'll also play up the administration's success on criminal justice reform.
    • Reality check: The administration is actively arguing that the courts should strike down the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for pre-existing conditions.
  • For suburban women: They'll focus on how the "energy revolution" has made energy more affordable, creates jobs, and reduced carbon emissions. They'll also highlight how the president supports dedicating $500 million over the next 10 years to fund childhood cancer research and therapies.
    • Reality check: Presidents have very little direct sway over fuel prices, per Axios' Ben Geman. Meanwhile, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 2.7% last year.

Examples of target areas:

  • Detroit, Mich.; specifically Oakland & Macomb Counties: Trump won blue-collar Macomb by 12 points in 2016, while Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow won it by narrow margins in 2018. Oakland was one of only eight counties Hillary Clinton took in 2016.
  • Phoenix, Ariz., specifically Maricopa County, voted Republican in every election since 1952, per Politico. But, in 2016, Trump won the county by just a narrow plurality.

The backdrop: Trump was elected in 2016 with just 8% of the black vote and 28% of the Hispanic vote, per Reuters. Though it's worth noting that he performed better among these groups than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

  • Among women, 53% of all white women chose Trump in 2016, but 94% of black women and 68% of Hispanic women chose Clinton, per the NYT.
  • During the 2018 midterms, white women split their vote evenly between Democrats and Republicans, per FiveThirtyEight. And among white women with a college degree, most voted for Democrats over Republicans — 59% to 39%.
  • "If the enthusiasm for Trump in rural and small-town America constituted the story after 2016, the revolt against him in the suburbs, led by female voters, has become the story of the 2018 elections," The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes. "The more you analyze the House results, the more the GOP’s suburban problem stands out."

The bottom line: Given his policies, rhetoric, Fox News obsession and Cabinet picks, Trump knows older, white men are probably the key to any win. He just can’t get his clock cleaned with every other group. 

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