Democrats need to stop chasing white Republican suburban women, because no matter how racist Trump is they will never, ever, vote for Democrats. They may not vote for Trump, but they'll happily vote for every other Republican on the ticket if they do vote. The best outcome you'll get is that they stay home completely.
Vanessa Steinkamp is the kind of voter that Texas Republicans counted on. She’s a devoted conservative who volunteered for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign, interned for former GOP Sen. Bill Frist and lives in an affluent suburb between Fort Worth and Dallas that is the reddest pocket of a reliably Republican district.
These days, though, Steinkamp feels alienated, not energized, by her party. The thought of voting in 2020 brings on a weary sigh.
“It feels like there’s no place for lifelong Republicans like me,” she said.
Her unease underscores a larger problem for Texas Republicans: Female suburban voters like Steinkamp are no longer a sure bet for the party, injecting new competitiveness into the Lone Star State’s politics.
That dynamic captured the national spotlight last week when U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, a Republican who represents the communities outside Dallas and Fort Worth, including Steinkamp’s home of Colleyville, said he would not seek reelection next year — the fourth Texas Republican congressman to announce plans to retire.
Across the nation, Republicans are increasingly worried about their strength in once-friendly suburban terrain. Last week, Democrats officially took the lead in voter registrations in California’s Orange County, the storied GOP stronghold. Suburban districts in red states such as Georgia and North Carolina have become hotly contested.
I'll take voters like Steinkamp staying home in November 2020. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that they believe their own GOP members of Congress are the problem, or that they'll ever believe Democrats are the answer.
Steinkamp is among those who despair over Trump’s behavior, which she said falls short of statesmanlike.
“I just wish he would talk about policy and he wouldn’t tweet all the time,” she said as she ferried her three children to the dentist for back-to-school checkups. “He tweets every thought that goes through his mind. I can’t stand that.”
Steinkamp, 42, and her family moved to Colleyville four years ago for her husband’s financial services job. Once predominantly pasture, the town boasts well-manicured subdivisions of big houses sitting on even bigger lots. The median income is $165,000.
Speaking in her spacious brick home at the end of a leafy cul de sac, Steinkamp fretted about how she saw Trump’s vitriolic approach to politics spilling into her community. When she ran for city council this year, her opponent branded her as a liberal interloper from Chicago. The sting of her defeat is still raw.
Her objections extend to Trump’s policies as well. Steinkamp, a government teacher at Tarrant Community College, credited the president with signing bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, but blanched at him pursuing an $8-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia over the objections of Congress and toying with granting clemency to imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“Now, will I vote for a Democrat over Trump?” Steinkamp said. She thought of the leading progressives seeking the Democratic nomination: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “I do not agree with almost anything Warren says, what Sanders says. So it’s hard.”
Steinkamp said she might consider a write-in vote.
Most likely Mike Pence. And I guarantee you Steinkamp will be out campaigning for whichever GOP nutjob runs for Kenny Marchant's old seat.
Go after gettable Democrats, not disloyal Republicans. Because white suburban women who voted for Trump in 2016 are 98% OK with current GOP racism.