The Atlantic Politics Daily: All About That Base—Again

Today, what the changing demographics in swing states could mean for Trump in 2020. Plus, the White House fumbles on its impeachment narrative.

Today in Politics

It’s Thursday, October 24. Today, what the changing demographics in swing states could mean for Trump in 2020. Plus, the White House fumbles on its impeachment narrative. Finally, on the “human scum” attack line.

(Andrew Harnik / AP)

Donald Trump’s 2020 strategy is looking a lot like his 2016 strategy.

He’s eschewed courting independents and is ginning up his most ardent supporters with a message laced with white grievance. That message helped Trump achieve a thin victory in 2016, but now he has less room for error.

Why? To put things bluntly, his base is shrinking. Here are some demographic trends that should worry the president, my colleague Ron Brownstein writes:

1. Whites without a college degree, a core of Trump’s base, will decline as a share of eligible voters in 2020 by 2.3 percentage points. Those dips will be even more pronounced in key 2020 states: Nevada (3.2 percentage points), Arizona (2.8 points), and Texas (2.5) points.

2. Speaking of Texas: the once-Republican stronghold is turning purple in part because of changing demographics. “Since 2010,” Ron writes, “census figures show, the state has added 1.9 million new Latino residents, 541,000 African Americans, and 473,000 Asians, along with just 484,000 whites.”

3. Young Americans are moving away from blue strongholds like New York City and to booming Sun Belt metros, which give Democrats an opening in states like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. In 2012, Democrats lost Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, by nearly 150,000 votes. Six years later, in the 2018 Senate election, Democrats captured the state by more than 50,000 votes.

— Saahil Desai


(Al Drogo / Reuters)

Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings lay in state at the U.S. Capitol today, after dying at 68 last week. Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are set to eulogize him Friday during a service in Baltimore.

+ Cummings’ death is a reminder of the racial disparity in life expectancy, Ibram X. Kendi writes: “[T]here may be no more consequential white privilege than life itself. The privilege of being on the living end of racism.”

What Else We’re Watching

(Leah Millis / Reuters)

Who’s in control of the impeachment narrative? Earlier this year, Attorney General William Barr was able to reframe the conversation around the soon-to-be-released Mueller report. This fall, things are a little different, our White House reporters Peter Nicholas and Elaina Plott report.

What striking teachers tell their students: Tens of thousands of Chicago teachers are now in their second week on strike in one of the nation’s largest school districts. “I asked the kids, ‘Do you want to know what we’re fighting about?’” one teacher told Jack Crosbie.

Tim Ryan goes out with a whisper. The hot yoga enthusiast and 2020 Democratic hopeful from Ohio is dropping out of the race. “We need a national coalition of people who say it’s ‘both and,’ not ‘either/or,’” Ryan had told our reporter Elaine Godfrey after they sweat buckets at a Georgetown studio back in March shortly before he announced his candidacy.

Argument of the Day

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

While the president frequently attacks his Democratic rivals, Trump’s tweet calling so-called Never-Trump Republicans “human scum” should be a badge of honor, Paul Rosenzweig argues.

What makes me human scum? Evidently, a belief in enduring American ideals, like the rule of law and the value of a free press. A belief in a system of governance that enshrines the principle of checks and balances in our Constitution—a system in which Congress and the judiciary serve as limits on authoritarian executive overreach.

→ Read the rest

+ More from Rosenzweig, who served as a Senior Counsel in the investigation of President Clinton two decades ago: “Trump’s Defiance of the Rule of Law.” (June 2019)

What Our Reporters Are Reading

The Ongoing Horror of #MeToo (Megan Garber, The Atlantic)

Outdoor Industry Giants Such as Patagonia Stood Up for Bears Ears. Why Won’t They Stand Up for the Borderlands? (Jessica Kutz, High Country News)

On Capitol Hill, the Caucus Grows for Diwali (Priya Krishna, The New York Times) (🔒Paywall)

About us: The Atlantic’s politics newsletter is a daily effort from our politics desk. Today’s edition was written by Saahil Desai, with help from Christian Paz, and edited by Shan Wang.

You can reach us with questions, comments, or concerns anytime by replying directly to this email.

Your support makes our journalism possible. Subscribe here.