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There’s no such thing as a Trump Democrat

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04.08.2017

Do you believe in mermaids, unicorns and fairies?

If so, you may have taken interest in a new mythical creature that appeared during the 2016 election: the Trump Democrat.

It has become an article of faith that an unusually large number of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 switched sides and voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. It follows that Democrats, to win in the future, need to get these lost partisans to come home.

But new data, and an analysis by AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer that he shared with me, puts all this into question. The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with. The aberration wasn’t their votes for Trump but their votes for Obama.

It follows for Democrats that most of these Obama-Trump voters aren’t going to be persuaded to vote Democratic in future; the party would do better to go after disaffected Democrats who didn’t vote in 2016 or who voted for third parties.

In the aftermath of Trump’s surprise win, the commentary quickly focused on the “Obama-Trump voter.” Nate Cohn of the New York Times said, “Democrats have to grapple with the importance of the Obama-Trump voter.” NBC’s Chuck Todd said “one of the big........

© Washington Post