While Washington remains fixated on impeachment, a slow-moving disaster is making its way for the 2020 Democratic field. This morning Axios reported on a small focus group that, in my anecdotal experience, is representative of a lot of American voters the mainstream remains, even years after the 2016 election, blissfully unaware of. Axios reports:
At a focus group in Saginaw, Mich., swing voters who went for President Obama and then flipped to Donald Trump are firmly in Trump’s camp now — and said they’re sick of impeachment, Axios’ Alexi McCammond reports.
- Why it matters: The two-hour-plus conversation revealed major warning signs for the Democratic Party in a crucial swing county that will be a pivotal area to win in 2020.
- That was the biggest takeaway from an Engagious/FPG focus group last week, made up of 10 voters who flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016.
Why Saginaw matters: Trump won Saginaw County by just over 1% in 2016, and Obama won by nearly 12% in 2012.
- While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, these responses show how some voters are thinking and talking about the 2020 election in crucial counties.
What we found:
- These voters call impeachment a distraction from issues that would actually improve their lives, like preserving Social Security, cracking down on illegal immigration, and keeping jobs in the U.S.
Between the lines: These voters aren’t sick of Trump’s antics, like other swing voters we’ve talked with for this series. And they don’t feel a sense that things need to get back to “normal” — Trump is their new normal.
- They have virtually zero trust in the media’s coverage of him.
- Their support for Trump will grow, they said, even if the country enters a recession or a full-blown trade war with China.
- And they credit Trump with making health care more affordable, thanks to — they said — his GOP tax law, which some said has saved them more in taxes so they can now reallocate that money to pay for prescription drugs.
Their responses were strikingly at odds with several other groups of Obama/Trump voters we’ve spoken with this year.
- In past focus groups this year around the upper Midwest, we’ve heard voters say they wish Michelle Obama would run for president, and that they’ve soured on Trump’s personality.
- But swing voters in our focus groups from Ohio, Iowa and now Michigan have revealed a common disdain for impeachment.
While only two participants said they are definitely voting to re-elect Trump next year, all the voters said they’re not excited by any 2020 Democrats.
None of this is news to readers of Salena Zito’s book (out now in paperback) but it’s still somehow not sinking in for Democrats and the media.
Over the weekend I spent a good deal of time in line at a pharmacy in Ocean County, New Jersey waiting on a prescription for my daughter. A man stood in line wearing a Trump 2020 hat and I complimented his bravery wearing it in such a blue state. The compliment sparked a conversation that spread through the line, and everyone who joined in echoed the remarks of these focus group participants; they were furious with Congress for wasting time and money on a dead-end impeachment. Outside of the man in the hat, nobody seemed thrilled with Trump but as tepid as they were about the President, their negative feelings about his Democratic contenders far surpassed how they felt about the President.