Democrats’ two roads to beating Trump

Two distinct paths are emerging for Democrats to beat Donald Trump in 2020, each presenting different challenges—and perhaps demanding a different kind of nominee.

The paths are through the Rust Belt and Sun Belt battlegrounds that both parties consider most likely to decide the next presidential contest. New state-level polling from Gallup signals that Democrats face very different equations in those two regions.

In the key Rust Belt states that Trump captured in 2016, his job-approval rating during 2018 was consistently worse than his national average for both whites with and without a college degree, according to detailed figures provided to me by Gallup. That suggests the most straightforward path for Democrats to recapture these Rust Belt states—particularly Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin—may be to find a nominee who can reassure white voters who are cooling on Trump.