Cruz, Trump, and the missing white voters

As for whites, there is clearly a ceiling for the GOP, but I’m not altogether certain where it is. We were told in 2010 that it was probably somewhere around the 59 percent Republicans won in 1994, yet the GOP has exceeded that level in three straight congressional elections. Trump could probably convince a fair number of blue-collar whites to cast a ballot for Republicans. Again, I am skeptical here; the trick will be convincing enough blue-collar voters to vote Republican to offset likely losses among white-collar voters, and it remains to be seen whether Trump can withstand the inevitable attempt by Democrats to turn him into Romney (Trump isn’t exactly poor, his accent notwithstanding).

My analysis ultimately concluded (and a lot of analysts miss this as well) that the best approach for Republicans involved outreach. But, I concluded, a Republican candidate who softened the party’s libertarian economic platform could probably motivate enough missing whites and bring enough blue-collar voters on board to win. There is, as I wrote, more than one way to skin the electoral cat.

Trump accomplishes part of this, but I suspect he has been too strident and divisive to overcome the losses he would generate. Finding the right candidate for reform is always difficult. There were probably only a handful of African-American officeholders capable of putting together the coalition to win in 2008, yet Obama accomplished it. Bernie Sanders is unlikely to win either the Democratic nomination or the general election, but a candidate like Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who supports a similar platform? That’s a different story. Likewise, finding a candidate with Trump’s positives who is without his many negatives is difficult, but I don’t think it is impossible.