It isn’t clear that the case against Trump’s values is a winning argument in those places. All three national polls released this week placed Trump’s approval rating among whites without a college degree below his commanding two-thirds in 2016. But he remained positive with those voters overall, and in each survey they preferred Republicans over Democrats for Congress by at least 13 percentage points. That’s despite last week’s nonstop news about Comey’s new book; the continued sparring between Trump and Daniels, the adult film star; and the FBI’s raid on Cohen, the president’s longtime “fixer.”
Trump has forged a powerful connection with many working-class whites by expressing their anxiety about cultural, demographic, and economic change. If there’s an opening for Democrats among these Americans, it’s through discrediting Trump’s argument that he’s championing working-class interests against powerful elites. For Democrats, the key is building a case that Trump, for all his posturing as a working-class hero, has increased economic insecurity for average families. They could do so by highlighting his attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, along with his support for a tax plan that mostly benefited the wealthy and corporations and will eventually increase pressure to cut Social Security and Medicare.
Those arguments, however, now rarely break through the tabloid maelstrom constantly engulfing Trump.