The Nov. 5 2019 elections brought some major disappointments to the Republican Party, which lost both houses of the Virginia State Legislature and found Democrats becoming even more prominent in the Philadelphia suburbs (which used to be much more GOP-friendly than Philly itself). Many suburban districts that leaned Republican in the past, from Virginia to Colorado, have been becoming more Democratic. And conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, looking ahead to 2020, stresses that if recent polling data and research are any indication, Republicans have good reason to be worried about suburban districts in battleground states.
The Never Trump conservative, in a Friday morning column, points to research by the group Priorities USA — which has released a poll on voters in battleground states. Acknowledging that the poll is “partisan,” Rubin explains why Priorities’ data on suburban areas doesn’t look good for President Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party. Priorities found that “roughly half of respondents across Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin say they live in the suburbs” — and among that group, Trump enjoys only 40% favorability.
“If you are either a Democratic primary voter or a campaign operative,” Rubin asserts, “the message here should be that voters are winnable, but not sewn up. Moreover, what is true for Republicans — extreme, base-pleasing positions turn off winnable suburban voters — is also true for Democrats.”
Rubin also points to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Blue Wall Voices Project and the insights it offers on Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Kaiser found that “majorities of swing voters” in those states have a favorable view of “a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in this country illegally” (70%), the Green New Deal (67%) and banning the sale of assault weapons (66%).
Rubin adds, however, that according to Kaiser, 62% of the suburban voters surveyed had a negative view of a Medicare-for-all plan — which the two leading progressive candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are in favor of.
The conservative journalist wraps up her column by asserting that while Democrats run the risk of alienating the suburbs by going too far to the left, the overall data shows that Republicans have a major problem in suburbia.
Rubin writes, “Democrats are rightfully excited by the shift in suburban voting patterns, but the best way to lose them or to depress turnout would be to feed into the narratives Trump propagates: ‘open borders’ and ‘socialized medicine’…. The question does boil down to how much Democrats really do want to win.”