Democrats Think They've Found the Key to Winning over 'Weak Trump Voters'

President Donald Trump is a particularly unpopular leader deluged by scandals and viscerally disturbing to many American voters. But a new memo from Democratic super PAC Priorities USA suggests that dealing a blow to his power may involve rather conventional campaign tactics.

Despite confidence among Republicans that the economy is a winning rallying cry for them, the polling indicates that dollars-and-cents issues will play favorably to the voters Democrats need.

"One of the clear and important takeaways from this survey is that Democrats and progressive should be playing offense against Trump and Republicans on economic issues, including on the cost of health care," the memo reads. "For as much as President Trump brags on his economic record, the new Priorities USA poll shows that voters are largely unimpressed and most of them are not feeling any personal benefit from Trump’s policies despite viewing them as a boon for the wealthy."

The memo was initially obtained by Axios and the Washington Post. 

While the controversies around Trump's ties to Russia and his cruel immigration policies have hurt the president, these issues have already been covered extensively in the media. Democrats, therefore, don't get much benefit if they only focus on these controversies — so the memo concludes that the candidates themselves will need to bring home the economic message to really secure the advantage.

It's important to remember that while Democrats are hopeful about their chances in 2018 — and running against Trump is certainly a help — they face serious structural challenges. Democratic senators are vulnerable in several important red states, and Republicans have fewer Senate seats up for grabs. Meanwhile, gerrymandering and geographical disadvantages mean that Democrats need to win by a big margin to win back the House.

So the party can't merely rely on its base, the memo argues — though turnout will be crucial. It needs to also figure out how it can encourage "weak Trump voters," who are unlikely to show up to a rally wearing a MAGA hat, to cast their ballots against the GOP. Focusing on the concrete way the Republican-controlled federal government has let them down appears to be key to doing just that.

“In the red states, Democratic senators plus Phil Bredesen have to win something between 18 percent and 24 percent of the Trump vote to be elected,” said Geoff Garin, who helped draft the memo, told the Washington Post. “These weak Trump voters are the ones who are most likely to be willing to support a Democrat, or stay home.” 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.