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Monday, July 18, 2016

Trumpish Demographics Point to a Complicated Political Future

As the Republican National Convention gets underway today in Cleveland, the question of who supports Trump, and who supports Trumpish-type policies even if they aren't totally on board with the man, comes to the fore. The bottom line seems to be that angry white voters--people who feel that they have been disenfranchised in some way by changes in American society--are the base to which Trump's ideas are most appealing. Are there enough of them to make a difference? The Economist discusses an attempt to answer that question:
...[t]he electorate is not the same as the population, because not all voters are equally likely to turn out. Even in 2012, an election that saw minorities turn out in record numbers, voters were as white as America was 20 years before. Three demographers—Mr Teixeira and Rob Griffin of the Centre for American Progress, and Bill Frey of Brookings—have run a simulation to see what would happen if the Republican Party managed to boost white turnout by 5% across the board, while all other voter groups remained constant. This would be hard to achieve, but not impossible: turnout among whites in 2012 was 64%, which leaves some headroom. The result of the voting model is a Republican advantage in the electoral college up until 2024, after which point the strategy no longer works.
The point is that for the time being the electorate is sufficiently white and less well-educated that Trump/Trumpish policies have at least a shot at winning elections. Complicating the chance of a Republican victory, however, is that a brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that a majority of prospective voters in the U.S. support free trade and immigration--contrary to the Trumpish ideas.  

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