Why it's so hard for Democrats to pick off Trump voters

To take a page from James Carville, “It’s the cul­ture, stu­pid.” Read between the lines of Green­berg’s re­port, and it’s clear he re­cog­nizes his pre­scrip­tion that Demo­crats emu­late Bernie Sanders on eco­nom­ic is­sues has lim­ited pull with most Trump sup­port­ers. He quotes ex­tens­ively from voters whose eco­nom­ic in­terests may align with Demo­crats, but who also ex­press a panoply of anxi­et­ies over a chan­ging Amer­ic­an cul­ture. Wor­ries about ter­ror­ism, con­cerns that im­mig­rants aren’t in­teg­rat­ing in­to Amer­ic­an so­ci­ety, and com­plaints about worsen­ing race re­la­tions all dom­in­ate the fo­cus-group con­ver­sa­tions—in­clud­ing among people who backed Obama in the past.

Obama­care is still widely dis­liked, even among work­ing-class voters who stood to be­ne­fit. There’s been a rising chor­us of Demo­crats who be­lieve that Pres­id­ent Obama’s health care law is grow­ing in pop­ular­ity, in­clud­ing among work­ing-class Trump sup­port­ers. A Demo­crat­ic sur­vey (which I cited in my last column) showed a siz­able ma­jor­ity of Obama-Trump voters sup­port­ing Obama­care. But the re­ac­tions from these Trump-back­ing swing voters should pour some cold wa­ter on that be­lief.

Many par­ti­cipants in the fo­cus group shared some hor­ror story about their health in­sur­ance as a con­sequence of Obama’s health care law, cit­ing con­crete ex­amples of how the law was a net neg­at­ive for them. “Nearly every per­son in our groups was strug­gling with how to af­ford their plans, co-pays, and med­ic­a­tions,” Green­berg wrote. He ad­ded that these voters don’t have an al­tern­at­ive in mind, but they’re con­vinced the law needs to be changed—and have enough faith in Trump that he’s up to the task.