In other words, Republicans will probably own the next four years. Given the uncertainty in the global economy, in foreign policy, and in domestic affairs, it is a rough time to have that responsibility. Since Trump is already starting out with a brittle coalition, further erosion would spell doom for him.
But as with the Obama coalition, there are opportunities for Republicans. If Trump governs well – if the recession is delayed or brief, he could conceivably hold on to his white working-class support while bringing college-educated whites back into the fold – he would have a hard time losing. Combining Trump’s share of the white working class with Romney’s share of college-educated whites would give him around 63 percent of the white vote, and most of what he would need to win re-election.
Of course, if Trump were to govern as a pragmatist by, for example, abandoning economic libertarianism, endorsing infrastructure spending, making good on his plan to build a wall, but with a “big beautiful door” in it, and attacking special interests, he could have cross-racial appeal. I’ve long believed that the GOP’s best bet with non-whites was not to try and out-identity-politic the Democrats, but rather to come at them from the side, via a class-based appeal. Trump offers an interesting experiment. Given how low expectations are set for him, he will be graded on quite the curve (as he was during the campaign, I think).