WaPo has stumbled across something. “Republican Hopefuls agree: The key to the White House is working-class whites” is a story of theirs today:
There has been a debate within the party — and the political class — about whether Republicans need to diversify to win or whether it just needs to attract even more of its core constituencies. So far in 2016, led by Cruz and Donald Trump, the election has moved decisively toward the latter. The exceptions, such as Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham, are either out of the race or on the edges of it.
Trump is making the most visceral, raw appeal to people who feel left out of the economic recovery and ignored by the political establishment. He espouses hard-line views on immigration that border on nativism, protectionist trade policies and a tough approach with countries like China, Japan and Mexico that he portrays as thieves of U.S. manufacturing jobs…
Republican strategists describe the party’s relationship with working-class voters as a long flirtation that has veered between an all-out embrace in the years of Ronald Reagan and a drift away in the George W. Bush era.
The last person to ’embrace’ certainly was Reagan. Every GOP establishment candidate since then has taken whites for granted.
Whites without college degrees made up 41 percent of the overall electorate in 2012, though that share has declined steadily over the years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. They made up a core part of Bill Clinton’s coalition in 1992 and 1996, but have moved away from Democrats in recent elections. President Obama lost this bloc by 25 points to GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, the widest margin since Reagan’s 1984 landslide, according to national network exit polls.
As Republicans face difficulties winning over Latino, young and women voters, further maximizing support and turnout among working-class whites is critical.
“I think the Republicans are doing this out of necessity,” said Tad Devine, chief strategist for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “They’re being backed into a demographic corner right now.”
When living creatures are backed into a corner… well, sometimes things happen.