Why the suburbs aren't buying Trump's white-grievance pitch

“He calls the protesters like they’re evil people,” she said. “He calls all Democrats like they’re bad.” While Mr. Trump won suburban areas overall by four percentage points in 2016, according to exit polls, white college-educated suburban women have rapidly moved away from his Republican Party, and they helped deliver the House of Representatives to the Democrats in 2018. And now, as some polling shows Mr. Trump facing competitive races even in deep-red states, he cannot afford to lose all of those voters again.

Yet this week, in interview after interview, suburbanites described Mr. Trump as a polarizing and deeply flawed messenger on the most searing issue of the day. “College-educated suburban women do not want to support someone who is perceived to be intolerant on racial issues,” said Whit Ayres, the veteran Republican pollster. “That has been true for many years, and is particularly true now, after the George Floyd killing.”…

“It’s a disgrace,” said Jane Scilovati, a schoolteacher from Devon, Pa., who called the president’s recent handling of racial issues “deplorable.” “He doesn’t have any compassion or empathy. He doesn’t reference historical facts correctly. He’s brought more division to this country than we’ve seen since the Civil Rights Act.”…

Added Karl Rowell, 46, from the Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield, which Mr. Trump won narrowly in 2016: “He has sharpened the spear and handed it to the racists. Every time he has a chance to bring people together, he strikes a divide.”