If you want to understand how to reach Trump voters, I encourage you to read, “Macomb County in the Age of Trump,”. This is a report from Democracy Corps and Roosevelt Institute who partnered to conduct focus groups in Macomb County, Michigan.
The focus groups were made up of “white working class independent and Democratic Trump Voters,” “Macomb County in the Age of Trump,” p. 1 According to the authors of this report, Macomb County, Michigan was chosen because it was in the rust belt and the county voted for President Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections, but went for Donald Trump in 2016. The individuals who participated in the focus groups had either voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 or sat out the previous elections.
The findings from the focus groups provides a snapshot of the concerns of these individuals; what motivated them to vote for Trump; and what they hope he can deliver to them. The take away from this report is simply this, these voters are populists in every sense of the word and progressive Democrats may be able to get some of these voters back.
But progressives will only get an audience with these voters if they listen to them and understand why they were desperate for sweeping changes, why they voted for Trump and what message they were sending to the elites about putting “us” and America first. They support Trump for understandable reasons, including concerns about controlling immigration and health care costs, and frustrations with President Obama’s light and elite footprint on the economy. Acknowledging those concerns and the effects of Democratic governance on their lives is the first step to making headway with these voters. “Macomb County in the Age of Trump” p. 3 (emphasis added)
The insights provided in the report are invaluable for those of us who want to reach out to the larger community and dialogue with people who have a different view of the world then we do. To be sure, some of the views expressed in the focus groups are cringe worthy. However, once we can gain their trust by active listening, we can better address how progressive candidates can work for them.
Written by Rochelle Kaplan – EPDC Education Committee Chairman
Democracy Corps, and Roosevelt Institute. Macomb County in the Age of Trump. Issue brief. Democracy Corps, 10 Mar. 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. <https://tinyurl.com/zg5f53h>.
Drawing Detroit. Party Vote Change from 2012 to 2016 Presidential Election, Macomb County, by Precinct. Digital image. Drawing Detroit. Drawing Detroit, 30 Jan. 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. <https://tinyurl.com/grpeqv4>.