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Politics GOP threat in 2018: suburban voters

15:20  13 january  2018
15:20  13 january  2018 Source:   latimes.com

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SUMMERLIN, Nev. — White college graduates in America’s suburbs have turned hard against Republicans in elections around the country and threaten to upend the party’s control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. Put off by Donald Trump’s presidency, they have been shunning Republicans

Brenda Fraser and her husband Gale Fraser in Summerlin, Nev. (Michael Finnegan/Los Angeles Times/TNS ) © Michael Finnegan-Los Angeles Times-TNS Brenda Fraser and her husband Gale Fraser in Summerlin, Nev. (Michael Finnegan/Los Angeles Times/TNS )

SUMMERLIN, Nev. — White college graduates in America's suburbs have turned hard against Republicans in elections around the country and threaten to upend the party's control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.

Put off by Donald Trump's presidency, they have been shunning Republicans in congressional and state legislative contests. Their support was crucial in electing Democrats as governor in Virginia and U.S. senator in conservative Alabama.

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The fifth-term representative voted against the House GOP health care plan after previously opposing Obamacare. It will nick many voters in his high income, high tax district where residents take the largest average #CNBC # 2018 Midterms. Trump's tax Bill Hits New Jersey Suburban Republicans.

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Republican hopes for keeping control of the U.S. Senate next year will hinge on affluent, mainly white suburbs such as Summerlin, Nev., where Trump's unpopularity is weighing on GOP Sen. Dean Heller in his run for re-election.

It's an open question whether the Republican Party — encumbered by Trump's often racially charged cultural appeals to blue-collar voters — has repelled well-educated whites for the long term.

"This is a big group of people, and they're growing, and if they turn into a base group for the Democratic Party, that really changes things a lot," said Ruy Teixeira, a demographics expert at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. "If there's anyone who can do that, it's Donald Trump."

For now, the Trump backlash is endangering House Republican incumbents in well-off suburban districts nationwide.

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Republicans acknowledge that slipping support among suburban whites will pose a challenge next year. “I think it has more to do with reaction to who’s in the White He continues: “Trump’s approval ratings, the number of voters identifying themselves as Republicans, and the GOP ’s standing on the

The GOP started the year, pointing to a silver lining in Trump’s bad suburban 2016 results. He didn’t drag other Republicans down with him, they said, and if the party could figure It's the reverse of what Democrats experienced with rural voters in 2016, when many had assumed the party had reached its

It also puts at risk the Republicans' one-vote majority in the Senate.

Heller is widely seen as the party's most vulnerable senator, and his re-election in this closely divided state depends on convincing white voters in upscale swing suburbs that Trump's shortcomings should not be held against the senator.

It won't be easy. Republican Judy Lehman, 77, regrets voting for Trump.

"At the time I thought it was a very good thing — now I'm not so sure," Lehman, a retired corporate concierge, said as she walked her Shih Tzu-bichon frise puppy in Summerlin recently. "I'm starting to wonder if he's really stable."

Befitting the boom-and-bust economy of Las Vegas, Summerlin, named after the grandmother of aviation mogul Howard Hughes, is a place of explosive population growth.

Just 30 years ago, it was an open slope of desert, bought by Hughes in the 1950s, near Red Rock Canyon. Now, more than 100,000 people live in its strictly planned neighborhoods of homes in shades of peach, tan and beige, many of them in gated communities.

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Suburban voters tend to be richer and better-educated than the country as a whole. That is bad news for Republicans, who are struggling with a massive divide among white voters . The deduction is heavily used in other vulnerable GOP districts, including the northern New Jersey seats held by Rep.

The GOP ’s ominous chances in the Clinton-Republican districts flow directly from Trump’s weak position in them. Rather than expanding his support in those. You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Part of what's pushing white-collar suburban voters away from the GOP is Trump's alliance with his party's right wing on abortion, immigration and climate change, said Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster who worked for former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

"The Republicans have become an anti-science, anti-fact, anti-immigrant, anti-cosmopolitan party, and that is just very unappealing to college-educated voters," Mellman said.

Republicans have also positioned themselves, he said, as "anti-diversity" in an era when college-educated whites have largely welcomed civil rights advances for women, racial minorities and LGBTQ Americans.

"I'm pushed away by the anti-gay, white nationalist side," said Shayna Smith, a 30-year-old nurse who lives in Summerlin. "My generation is a little more open."

She is a Republican who voted for Trump but plans to back someone else in 2020 "if they have a heartbeat."

The Senate race is shaping up as an epic test of Heller's agility. His GOP primary rival, businessman Danny Tarkanian, is a staunch Trump man.

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Suburban areas appear to be in open revolt against President Trump, with a coalition of educated whites and minorities shunning Republican candidates. By Wednesday morning, two presidential advisers acknowledged antipathy toward Mr. Trump would probably drive Democratic turnout in 2018 .

But in 2018 , the resistance of blue-collar whites remains a constraint on possible Democratic gains in the House. But while the blue-collar terrain remains rocky, Democratic The approaching suburban recoil from the GOP , Davis acknowledges, looks "more fundamental" than a typical mid-term shift.

But the more Heller appeals to the rural Trump fans who dominate the primary, the more ammunition he provides to the Democrat in November, most likely freshman Rep. Jacky Rosen.

If Heller survives the primary, he will face brutal attacks — focused on his ties to Trump — from the powerful campaign built by Reid and the Culinary Workers Union, which represents 57,000 cooks, housekeepers and other hospitality workers.

"Heller is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't — every single day," said Jennifer Duffy, an election analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Heller's hand-wringing on Obamacare — at Trump's urging, he voted to repeal it — captured the senator's quandary. While he opposed Trump in the 2016 primaries, Heller has largely backed the president since he took office.

Republicans know that suburban whites turned off by Trump pose a daunting challenge, especially when women, African-Americans, Latinos and other core Democratic groups are highly motivated to vote.

Judy Lehman and her puppy, Boo, in Summerlin, Nev. (Michael Finnegan/Los Angeles Times/TNS ) © Michael Finnegan-Los Angeles Times-TNS Judy Lehman and her puppy, Boo, in Summerlin, Nev. (Michael Finnegan/Los Angeles Times/TNS ) "I think it has more to do with reaction to who's in the White House than anything else," said GOP pollster Glen Bolger.

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3 Sep 2018 . On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA) stated the GOP is experiencing “shrinkage” among suburban voters and that if the GOP struggles in 2018 , more GOP members of Congress will “realize that just standing in line behind

The suburban revolt, which began in a handful of little-noticed special elections and then exploded last month in governor’s and state House races in That rebuke resonates with voters like Pat Robinson, a retired teacher inclined to vote for a Democrat in 2018 but waiting to see who will emerge as the

Despite the growth in minority voting, whites remain the dominant force in presidential elections. In 2016, 71 percent of the voters were white, 12 percent black, 11 percent Latino, 4 percent Asian, and 3 percent another race, according to exit polls.

Since World War II, white voters with and without college degrees voted roughly the same way in White House contests.

Since Barack Obama's election as president in 2008, however, whites have split. Those with college degrees have tilted toward Democrats, and those without have leaned Republican.

Trump's Electoral College victory was driven by a surge of support from whites with no college degree in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The same dynamic played out in Nevada, where whites without a college degree were more supportive of Trump than those with a degree.

Trump does have support from some white college graduates in the suburbs.

"Build that wall — more money to the Border Patrol," said Democrat Frank Bianca, 67, a retired airline pilot who lives in Henderson, another high-end suburb of Las Vegas.

Bianca wants all immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally to be deported, fears the Black Lives Matter movement will ruin the country, and does not welcome the country's growing diversity.

Still, it's Republicans such as Gale and Brenda Fraser, a recently retired Summerlin couple, that Heller and others in the party need to fear.

The Frasers, both 63, wince at Trump's derogatory comments about Muslims, they don't appreciate his call for firing football players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality, and they were turned off by his support for Roy Moore after the Alabama Senate hopeful was accused of sexual assault.

As for the immigrants that some want expelled from the U.S., Brenda Fraser said, "I think they have just as much a right to be here as anybody."

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