I’m still hung up on suburban voting, because I think the suburbs are going to turn on Trump in 2018 and 2020.
Imagine you’re a middle management wage earner at some corporation or small company. You and your 1.75 children live in a tract home. You and your spouse both work. Juggling day care is tough, and it isn’t getting cheaper. Your concerns are living in a town with good schools, making sure your kids do well in that school, saving for college, and paying as little tax as possible. You generally vote for Republicans because the Republican party of Reagan and the Bushes promised to cut your taxes and keep you safe. You voted for McCain and Romney. Your parents watch Fox News but you think a lot of what they’re saying is nonsense. If you watch TV at all, you’re binging Stranger Things or Mindhunter on Netflix. Mostly, you’re too busy helping the kids with their homework and juggling dinner prep to pay close attention to the news.
Your suburb is majority white, by a large margin. But the good schools also attract Muslim, Hindi, Asian, Black and Hispanic middle management wage earners. They live on your street, their kids play with your kids, they come to school events. Some of them are your friends, some are your acquaintances. They are all “good people” in your mind. You all share the same concerns.
Now imagine that your 8 year-old kid asks whether his friend is going to be deported. Imagine that your 14 year-old daughter comes home asking how you can be a member of a party that has a Senate candidate who felt up someone her age. And imagine that your Republican Member of Congress, who earned your unreflective vote last cycle, votes for a tax plan that won’t let you deduct the thousands of dollars of state tax that you pay every year.
Do you think that maybe, just maybe, you will vote for anyone with a “D” behind their name for the next few years?
Our job as Democrats is simple: give these people good candidates to vote for, and to help the suburban Democratic parties to organize and influence these former Republicans.
(I realize this sounds like a Mark Penn microtarget or David Brooks Applebee salad bar fantasy, but given what happened in my little suburb last Tuesday, there’s nothing fantastical about it.)