Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sister (White Evangelical) Christian

Steve M. posits that Trump picking an overtly racist fight with Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley is a losing proposition.

I'll repeat what I said yesterday: Trump can't possibly fire up his base more than he already has. They'll crawl through ground glass to vote for him. They're locked in. He's wasting energy selling them on a product they're already 100% certain to buy. It's not as if he can motivate them to vote for him more than once. But when he plays the race card this way, he motivates independents and women, including some who chose him in 2016, not to vote for him.

Trump's usual mode is barely concealed racism, but the Squad inspired him to dispense with even the tiny bit of deniability in his standard rhetoric. If he keeps up his vendetta against them in this way -- or if, perhaps, he's inspired to go full-on racist against, say, Kamala Harris if she's on the Democratic ticket -- I think he'll lose. The Squad may be the foil Trump wants, but what he wants might be the opposite of what he needs.

It's a good theory and it makes sense on the surface.

But I disagree strongly with it.

According to Public Religion Research Institute president and author Robert P. Jones, the numbers bear out record turnout among Trump's "white evangelical Christian" base.

Amid all the ongoing changes in the country that generally favor Democrats, is it still possible that President Donald Trump will be reelected in 2020? Because I study religious and demographic change, I hear this question a lot. Much of the early punditry on Trump’s reelection prospects has focused on complex Electoral College scenarios—insights that, while valuable, shed little light on the bigger picture. I’ve come to answer the question this way: Yes, it is possible Trump gets reelected. While Democrats have the long-term demographic winds at their back, Republicans have a time machine: a consistent skew in ethnic and religious voter-turnout patterns that, in national elections, has the effect of turning back the demographic clock eight or more years.

I first stumbled over this Republican secret weapon while analyzing the political implications of the changing U.S. religious landscape. In the decades since Ronald Reagan’s pivotal election in 1980, describing the political behavior of religious groups has been a simple task. Majorities of white Christian groups—including white evangelical Protestants, white mainline Protestants, and white Catholics—have voted for Republican presidential candidates, while majorities of every other group—including nonwhite Protestant and Catholic Christians, non-Christian religious Americans, and the religiously unaffiliated—have voted for Democratic presidential candidates. The upshot: Any significant change in white Christians’ share of the electorate has major partisan implications.

Yes, white evangelical Christians are shrinking in number, but their turnout percentage in elections is getting larger, to the point where their overall share of the electorate now is still exactly what it was in 2008: 26% of all votes cast.

Even though white evangelical Christians made up only 15% of the population in 2018, so many of them voted that they accounted for over a quarter of all votes.  There's every reason to believe that this trend will continue in 2020.

It explains why Democrats have won back the House in areas with growing urban populations and suburban areas, but have lost 14 net Senate seats in the last five elections as blue voters are moving away from the Midwest and Rust Belt.

Should Republicans be able to hyper-gerrymander the majority of states in 2022 as I expect, those gains in the House go away for the above reason.

Yes, as Steve says, his base is fired up as much as it can go.  Yes, that base is shrinking.  But they vote in increasing numbers, and given the 100 million people who didn't vote in 2018, some of them have to be Trump's base that sat out. 

And you know what?  They'll hold their nose and vote for his policies or hyper-nationalism and yes, white supremacy.  We know Trump's racism is not a dealbreaker with his base, it's a requirement.  Some sat out in 2016 because they were unsure if he could deliver the goods on immigration, judges, and owning the libs.

That won't be the case in 2020.  The election may be the highest turnout in decades.  We haven't seen it hit 60% since 1968, well before I was born.  We're going to hit that again next year, I'm sure of it.

It depends on which trend wins out.  I'm nowhere near as sanguine to believe that Trump won't get at least 60 million votes, and probably 65 million, and that means a huge hunk of GOP candidates enabling Trump will get votes too, people don't split tickets anymore.

We have to turn out regardless.

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