“Although polls give Clinton a solid advantage over Trump in a general election, many Democrats remain wary because of what one party strategist called ‘the unpredictability of Trump.’ As one former member of Obama’s campaign team put it, ‘I feel like in some ways my brain has to think differently than it ever has.,,,
Party strategists and independent analysts have just begun to explore in-depth the contours of a Trump vs. Clinton election, examining in particular how the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate might affect the preferences of specific voter blocs. More difficult to assess, but no less important, is how a Trump-Clinton contest would affect turnout among those groups.
The main conclusion to date is that a Trump nomination would test theories among some Republicans about the potential strength and power of the white vote to change the electorate and give the GOP the White House. Given what is known, Trump would appear to have no choice but to center his energies on states in the industrial and upper Midwest…
The Midwest’s ‘blue wall’
Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the progressive Center for American Progress, said Trump’s only path to victory lies in “a spike of white working-class support. . . . It’s trying to break apart the heartland part of the ‘blue wall,’ with less emphasis on the rest of the country.”
The ‘blue wall’ is a term coined by journalist Ronald Brownstein of Atlantic Media and refers to the 18 states plus the District of Columbia that Democrats have won in the past six elections. Those states add up to 242 electoral votes, giving Democrats a foundation and therefore several combinations of other states to get to 270.
Among the 18 states that have been in Democratic hands since the 1992 election are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Along with Ohio and Iowa, those heartland states are likely to be the most intensely contested battlegrounds in the country if a Trump-Clinton race materializes.
All those states have higher concentrations of white voters, including larger percentages of older, white working-class voters, than many of the states in faster-growing areas that Obama looked to in his two campaigns.
‘If he drives big turnout increases with white voters, especially with white male voters, that has the potential to change the map,’ said a veteran of Obama’s campaigns, who spoke anonymously in order to share current analysis of the fall campaign.
Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and veteran of past presidential campaigns, said Trump’s overall general election strength is unpredictable at this point, in part because Trump could campaign as a different candidate from the one on display throughout the primaries. But he said that what Trump has shown to date is an ability to surprise his opponents and offer crosscutting messages to draw support.
To be successful as a Republican candidate you have to be the equivalent of a neutron bomb,’ Schmidt said. ‘He’s a neutron bomb. Donald Trump has been disruptive in the way Uber has been disruptive in the taxi industry.’..
Republican Schmidt, however, warned Democrats that Trump could prove more appealing to minority voters, especially African Americans, than they assume. ‘He’s an asymmetric threat,’ Schmidt said. ‘He fits into none of the conventions. He has a completely unorthodox style.’ ”