sunny.png
Monday July 15th, 2019 2:43PM

After 2016 loss, Democrats know they need white male voters

By The Associated Press

UPPER ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — When he moved to Pennsylvania about five years ago, it was a coin toss which party Brian Heitman would register with.

No longer.

Since Donald Trump's election in 2016, Heitman, who is 42 and white, has become a reliable Democrat. Last week, he voted for the Democratic candidate in a special state Senate election in Pittsburgh's affluent southern suburbs.

"A decade ago I probably wouldn't have even noticed this election was happening," Heitman said, "but I'm making a point in voting in every one I can nowadays."

The Democrats' 2020 presidential primary may feature a historically diverse field of women and minorities, but in some ways it is testing how the party appeals to white men such as Heitman. Many Democratic politicians went into the last presidential campaign cycle taking little account of those voters, and banked on a coalition of women and minorities to carry them to victory. Trump's victory proved that thinking wrong. Many in the party are determined now not to make the mistake again.

That's left Democrats wondering whether the nominee should be someone who can cut deep into Trump's base, picking off large numbers of working-class whites, whether it's enough to win over affluent, college-educated, suburban men and whether party is moving to far left to win them both.

"The white male vote is indispensable, it's a part of any winning coalition," said Democratic pollster Ronald Lester, who worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016. He noted that successful national Democrats perform well with white men, and that includes Barack Obama, whose strength among white men in the Rust Belt helped fuel his White House victories in 2008 and 2012.

Several candidates have jumped in with their own suggestions of how to do that.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn't said whether he is running, spoke to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in an appearance Friday that seemed designed to show how he could win back white working-class voters. Biden said some of his "sophisticated friends" don't understand the need to treat laborers with respect.

"How the hell do we get to the place where a lot of you think the rest of the country doesn't see you, or know you?" Biden asked the mostly male crowd.

When Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, announced his campaign earlier in the week, he said his more centrist approach could appeal to working-class voters like those in his district, which embodies the Rust Belt terrain that Trump won.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said her no-frills style has delivered white Midwestern voters before. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, uses his star appeal that helped him in Texas' well-educated suburbs. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has said his economic populism will bring rural white voters back to the Democratic fold.

Polling makes clear why Democratic are searching for the right messenger.

White men make up typically make up about one-third of the electorate. In 2018, 41 percent of them voted for Democrats, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the national electorate. While Democrats' strength among women won headlines and was often credited with Democrats' strong showing, white men also moved to the Democrats column. VoteCast showed Democrats won the votes of 46% of white male college graduates, a figure that has given some in the party hope.

"The revolt in these suburban districts wasn't just about white women, it was also about white men," said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster advising the campaign of former Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo. "Just as there's been a movement of white, college-educated women, there's been a movement of white college-educated men."

That shift is part of a long-term trend.

According to the American National Election Survey, white men without college degrees have consistently supported the GOP over the past two decades, while those with degrees — roughly one-fifth of the 2018 electorate — have increasingly moved toward Democrats. In 1996, when President Bill Clinton overwhelmingly won re-election, he only received 36% of the votes of white male college graduates, according to ANES. Hillary Clinton lost her race in 2016 but won 43% of them.

Strategists generally find that college-educated white men are more moved by social issues and Trump's violations of political norms, while those without degrees are more concerned about economic issues and like candidates who may shake up the establishment. In Pennsylvania, Democrats have gained ground among both groups since Trump's election, but some see the college-educated cohort as the most promising.

Democrats picked up three U.S. House seats in Pennsylvania in November, flipping suburban districts while also easily defending a U.S. Senate seat and the governor's mansion.

"The current coalition — urban, suburban women and these college-educated males — will likely put Pennsylvania back in the Democratic column," said Mike Mikus, a veteran Democratic strategist who lives in the affluent suburbs of the 37th state Senate district.

Trump won the traditionally Republican district by 6 percentage points in 2016. But after its Republican state senator was elected to Congress in November, Democrats targeted the seat. They counted on flipping its educated populace of lawyers, consultants and doctors who fill its colonial-style houses and shopping centers that spill over the ridgelines outside Pittsburgh.

"There are college-educated men who have, at least temporarily, put their Republican Party membership card in their pocket for a while," Mikus said of his neighbors. But, he warned, these new Democratic voters may only be willing to tolerate so much in a party swinging to the left. "They are somewhat conservative. They don't like paying a lot of taxes."

Alfred Schnabel is one of them. The 42-year-old business analyst has kept his GOP registration but feels unwanted in either party. He is turned off by Trump and wary of Democratic presidential hopefuls such as Sanders.

"There seems to be a push to go super-progressive," he said of Democrats.

Still, Schnabel volunteered for a local Democratic legislative candidate last year because he was infuriated at his state representative's criticism of gay people, and his frustration at the GOP outweighs his concerns about Democrats. He chalks up his ability to evolve politically to his education.

"Going to college, I met people who were gay, people from other cultures," Schnabel said. "That stayed with me."

Mike Wessell is still a registered Republican but he was comfortable at the victory party last Tuesday night for the Democrat, Pam Iovino, who won the state Senate race comfortably.

"I'm not happy with the way President Trump has been running the country, or his ideology," said Wessell, a corporate lawyer. He cited Trump's immigration stance and denial of climate science.

Wessell worked on the campaign of Conor Lamb, the Democrat whose special election victory last year in a congressional district that overlaps with the 37th presaged Democrats' new strength in the state. He even appeared in an ad for Democratic Sen. Bob Casey's re-election campaign later that year with his wife, who is an active Democrat.

Wessell is also wary of Sanders, but he knows he won't be voting Trump in 2020. He's still hanging onto his Republican registration, though.

"I haven't given up on my party," Wessell said as a roomful of Democrats cheered their latest win.

___

AP Polling Editor Emily Swanson and Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Senate GOP game plan means more Trump nominees, fewer bills
Mitch McConnell says the Senate will be in the "personnel business" this year, but the majority leader's focus on confirming President Donald Trump's nominees is coming at the expense of any big legislative priorities.
8:04AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Rwanda somberly marks the start of genocide 25 years ago
Rwanda on Sunday somberly commemorated the start, 25 years ago, of its genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed, as the country continues to grapple with the lasting consequences of the slaughter
7:51AM ( 41 minutes ago )
US says reuniting separated families laborious process
The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing the Trump administration for seeking up to two years to find thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border
6:18AM ( 2 hours ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Trump boasts of Israel support to Jewish group
President Donald Trump is warning members of the Republican Jewish Coalition that a Democratic victory in 2020 could "leave Israel out there."
2:40AM ( 5 hours ago )
Ex-Sen Ernest 'Fritz' Hollings of South Carolina dies at 97
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, the Democrat who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to six terms in the U.S. Senate, has died at 97
2:38AM ( 5 hours ago )
Maldives leader celebrates victory in parliamentary election
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's party is leading in the vote count in the parliamentary election and has already declared a landslide victory that could give him a free hand in efforts to restore political freedoms and tackle corruption
2:01AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Estonian populists, 2 other parties seal coalition deal
A far-right populist party known for anti-immigration and euroskeptic views sealed a deal Saturday to be one of three coalition partners in Estonia's next government
5:57PM ( 14 hours ago )
UK's May concedes Brexit deal won't pass 'in near future'
British Prime Minister Theresa May has acknowledged the failure of strategies to get her Brexit deal approved in Parliament, saying there's little prospect lawmakers will back it in "the near future."
5:52PM ( 14 hours ago )
Algerian Parliament to make president's resignation official
Both houses of Algeria's Parliament are meeting next week to take official note of the country not having a leader after the resignation under pressure of its president
3:56PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Former RNC chairman Steve Wynn sees Trump off
Former Republican National Committee chairman and casino mogul Steve Wynn met with President Donald Trump at the Las Vegas airport on Saturday following the president's speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition
5:08PM ( 15 hours ago )
For American Jews, Trump is key figure in Israeli election
Donald Trump isn't on the ballot for Israel's election, but he's a dominant factor for many American Jews as they assess the high stakes of the balloting
4:25PM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump sees 'close' election upcoming in Israel
President Donald Trump says it's shaping up to be a "close" race in Tuesday's election in Israel
3:59PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Trump visits his California golf club
President Donald Trump makes a surprise appearance at his golf club
2:00AM ( 1 day ago )
Some Sanders supporters struggle to move past 2016 fight
Bernie or Bust: Sanders supporters still smarting over 2016 primary they say was 'rigged'
1:16AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Trump ponders victory in California in 2020
President Donald Trump is still thinking about winning heavily Democratic California in 2020
11:00PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Maldives votes in crucial ballot to elect new parliament
Voting is underway in the Maldives in a parliamentary election amid hope it would help President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih to overcome a coalition split that has hampered his efforts to restore political freedoms and tackle corruption
3:07AM ( 1 day ago )
Reformist Maldives leader seeks to overcome split in polls
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is hoping Saturday's parliamentary elections will help him overcome a coalition split that has hampered his efforts to restore political freedoms and tackle corruption
12:46AM ( 1 day ago )
Drug tests then debate in Ukraine's presidential runoff
The campaign for Ukraine's presidential election has taken a turn for the strange, but voters may find it reassuring that the two candidates in the runoff apparently aren't on drugs
3:53PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
4th ranked House leader seeks US Senate seat in New Mexico
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico is making a run for the state's open Senate seat in 2020.
5:00PM ( 5 days ago )
Schumer wants Boeing off FAA committee amid investigations
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer wants Boeing to be removed from a Federal Aviation Administration rulemaking committee as investigations deepen into both the company and regulator's role in two deadline airline crashes
6:34PM ( 6 days ago )
For '20 Dems, more targets but uphill slog to win Senate
Democrats hoping to win Senate control in 2018 face a better terrain than last year, but would have to win practically every competitive seat to capture a majority
7:55AM ( 1 week ago )
General Senate Election News
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is latest Democrat seeking White House
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan jumps into the 2020 presidential race, portraying himself as a candidate who can bridge Democrats' progressive and working class wings to win the White House
12:41PM ( 2 days ago )
Democratic candidates urged to offer ideas on justice reform
Democratic presidential candidates are being urged to offer specific proposals for transforming the U.S. criminal justice system as they campaign for their party's 2020 nomination
10:39AM ( 2 days ago )
Justice reform activists want more ideas from Dem candidates
2020's missing issue? Criminal justice gets little mention
4:09AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Hungarian PM Orban launches campaign with anti-migrant plan
Hungary's prime minister is launching his party's campaign for the European Parliamentary elections in May by presenting a seven-point plan against immigration
12:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Biden to make 1st appearance since complaints about behavior
Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to speak to a union for electrical workers in his first public appearance since several women began recounting encounters with him that left them feeling uneasy
9:10AM ( 1 day ago )
Trump ramps up attacks on Democrats ahead of border visit
President Donald Trump is ramping up his attacks on Democrats as he looks to make border security an issue for his 2020 re-election campaign
8:52AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Senate GOP game plan means more Trump nominees, fewer bills
Mitch McConnell says the Senate will be in the "personnel business" this year, but the majority leader's focus on confirming President Donald Trump's nominees is coming at the expense of any big legislative priorities.
8:04AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Rwanda somberly marks the start of genocide 25 years ago
Rwanda on Sunday somberly commemorated the start, 25 years ago, of its genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed, as the country continues to grapple with the lasting consequences of the slaughter
7:51AM ( 41 minutes ago )
US says reuniting separated families laborious process
The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing the Trump administration for seeking up to two years to find thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border
6:18AM ( 2 hours ago )
In possible first, Cuba allows march by animal activists
A group of animal-lovers will march a mile down one of Havana's main thoroughfares Sunday waving placards calling for an end to animal cruelty in Cuba
6:13AM ( 2 hours ago )
As Israelis head to polls, it's all about Netanyahu
Israeli elections boil down to a referendum on PM Netanyahu, who has dominated country's politics for decades.
6:07AM ( 2 hours ago )