Democrats turned over their convention keynote speech last night to a split-screen array of 17 diverse young leaders one day after news leaked that Republicans had invited to speak at their convention the white suburban couple who brandished guns at a multiracial group of Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis home in June. Even with all else that has happened during Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency, there may not be much else you need to know about the lines dividing America in the 2020 presidential election.
Despite a pandemic that has killed more than 170,000 Americans and cratered the economy, the latest surveys show Trump maintaining strong support among the white voters most uneasy about the demographic and cultural changes remaking America, particularly those who are evangelical Christians, live in rural areas, or lack a college degree. And despite a Democratic nominee who stirs only modest enthusiasm among many key party constituencies, those same polls show Joe Biden amassing big advantages among the groups most comfortable with those changes: young people, racial minorities, secular Americans, and college-educated white Americans.
This division of the electorate leaves Biden holding a steady and substantial lead in national polling over Trump that matches or slightly exceeds the Democrats’ 8-percentage-point edge in the total national vote for the House of Representatives in 2018. But the uneven distribution of these contrasting constituencies across the battleground states means that Democrats will likely remain nervous through Election Day about their ability to win the Electoral College, even if Biden maintains a healthy lead in the popular vote.