President Donald Trump keeps doubling down on his base supporters, even as that demographic seems to be shrinking.
The president won an unlikely election four years ago by generating enthusiasm from white voters without college degrees, who don’t usually turn out to the polls, but that share of the voting bloc has declined as the number of minority voters and college-educated voters grows, reported the New York Times.
The number of white American voters without college degrees has dropped by more than five million since 2016, largely due to aging, while the number of minority voters and college-educated white voters has grown by more than 13 million since then.
Although their numbers have shrunk, that voting cohort has continued turning out to the polls in unusually high numbers even when Trump hasn’t been on the ballot, and his campaign has focused on finding more of those voters instead of reaching out beyond them.
“For his entire term, Trump has made very few attempts to reach out and broaden his coalition,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “He has been trying to expand the Trump base that casts ballots, and they could substitute for the diminishing group of blue-collar whites.”
More new voters have registered as Republicans than Democrats in key states such as Florida and Pennsylvania, but the shrinking of his base in states that he narrowly won last time pose a challenge to Trump’s re-election.
“The combination of the president’s personality and style combined with the demographic challenges leaves very little margin for error,” said GOP strategist Ken Spain. “Increasing registration while juicing turnout is his only play at this stage. It would mean defying the polls again.”