A voter enters a voting booth at Laurel High School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Laurel, Mont. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
A pro-Democrat group known as “American Bridge” is spending about $3 million to target any voters in the Rust Belt who may be regretting their 2016 vote for Donald Trump.
The ad campaign, which will be focused on markets in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, will be documentary-like in appearance, going into the towns and homes of voters who regret voting for Trump in the last presidential election. The overall goal is to encourage voters who may have similar feelings to vote Democrat instead in 2020.
Via the New York Times:
The voters featured in the commercials all focus on Mr. Trump’s record, and what they say is his self-focus and lack of accomplishments in their communities, while avoiding issues that often consume Washington, like impeachment or Mr. Trump’s inflammatory language. Speaking in personal terms, they acknowledge that they supported the president because they thought that, as a political outsider, he would be a more effective change agent than the elected officials who won the White House every four years, until him.
One participant, Lori Malburg from Romeo, Mich., was blunt about her feelings of regret.
“I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I voted for Donald Trump at this point,” Ms. Malburg says in the spot that features her and her hometown, which is part of a storied swing county, Macomb, that flipped from Democrat to Republican three years ago.
And, given the polling from these states, it may not be a bad idea to go about it like this. Except… what do the Democrats have to offer that is a better alternative for many of these voters?
Industrial workers are looking at Barack Obama’s Vice President, recalling the huge negative impact Obama’s policies had on the manufacturing jobs in their states, and that is their best-case scenario. The vast majority of the Democratic candidates would put back into place what Obama had going before Trump took office – or worse. Trump’s trade war, which has had a disastrous impact on the manufacturing industry in America, still pales in comparison to what harsh environmental regulations did to their factories and what taxes did to employment opportunities.
The Democrats promising to make America green are basically telling these same voters American Bridge is trying to reach that they will just get screwed again if they go back to the Democrats. Much like 2016, the choice will be seen by many as a choice between the lesser of two evils.
And this leads to another related point: Namely, the fact that Donald Trump did not so much win in places like this as much as Hillary lost in them. Trump was the alternative to 4-8 years of more Obama-like policy. In these Rust Belt states, the promise of Trump was less about Trump and more the promise that Not Hillary is the best choice to make.
Ultimately, too, you don’t actually see a lot of widespread “remorse” for Trump. You see his popularity rise and (mostly) fall, but people elected him because they thought he would do right by them, and in many ways… his administration has. Employment is up, wages are up, and even minority groups are feeling the benefits of Trump’s economy. You may have some moderate voters who regret their vote, but you are likely to have just as many look at the Democrats and say “Nah.”
That’s going to be the factor that determines the race in 2020: Which candidate is the least unlikeable. Given the American public’s tastes in prior elections, it’s currently not the Democrats.