AGAINST THE GRAIN

Meet Donald Trump’s Surprising Supporters

The GOP front-runner is winning delegates in the most Democratic parts of the country, foiling Ted Cruz in the process.

Donald Trump gives a thumbs up at the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference.
AIPAC
March 29, 2016, 8 p.m.

The path to the Republican presidential nomination will be running through some of the most Democratic neighborhoods in the country—Harlem, the South Bronx, Berkeley, and South Central Los Angeles. It’s another odd quirk of the Republican primary process that some of the most liberal congressional districts in the country will play an outsize role in determining whether Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee or not.

In the vote-rich states of New York and California, each congressional district allocates three delegates apiece. That means that conservative districts in Staten Island (New York) and Orange County (California) carry as much importance as heavily-Democratic districts in New York City’s inner boroughs or the densely packed liberal neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Ten of New York’s 27 districts and 13 of California’s 53 districts have a Cook Political Report rating of D+20 or greater, and allocate 69 delegates in total. The success of Trump’s rivals in these districts will likely make or break Trump’s campaign.

Against the odds, Trump has won widespread support in some of the most liberal Democratic areas of the country. He carried 40 percent of Cook County’s Republican vote, which includes the city of Chicago and its inner suburbs, allowing him to take most of Illinois’s delegates. Trump won 41 percent of the GOP vote in Wayne County, which encompasses the city of Detroit. He won 36 percent of the GOP vote in the city of St. Louis, and carried Boston’s Suffolk County with 47 percent of Republicans.

What explains this dynamic? A major reason is that Trump’s (mainly white) supporters are disproportionately concentrated near areas with many minorities, suggesting that strained race relations may have played a role in their backing of Trump. He has won over white Republican voters in rural Southern counties where African-Americans make up a majority of the vote, and he has performed well in urban neighborhoods where the racial composition of surrounding areas has changed over the years. His victory in the city of St. Louis was probably boosted by the recent rioting in nearby Ferguson that polarized the region along racial lines.

Second, some of the urban congressional districts are gerrymandered in order to take a small slice of Republican suburban territory along with heavily Democratic urban turf. In Illinois, Democratic redistricters drew a small slice of suburban Will County into the Chicago district of Rep. Robin Kelly. Needless to say, the political views of these Republican voters are entirely different than their Democratic neighbors, and they proved sympathetic to Trump.  

Third, Trump’s front-runner status is a testament to the breadth of GOP support that he has received across the country. Trump has captured delegates from some of the wealthiest districts on the map, from the North Shore suburban Chicago district of Illinois Rep. Robert Dold to Rep. Mark Sanford’s tony seat in South Carolina’s Low Country. Many of those unlikely victories were a consequence of the crowded Republican field. Now the burden will be on Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the last establishment Republican in the race, to pick up delegates in affluent urban districts from Beverly Hills to Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

It’s the disproportionate influence of urban voters in the Republican nomination process that makes it difficult for Sen. Ted Cruz to make serious headway against Trump. Cruz, who famously criticized Trump for holding “New York values,” will soon need to reach out to those very New Yorkers to have a chance at picking up delegates in the Empire State. Trump is a natural fit for many New York City Republicans, who embraced former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s strong leadership and overlooked his personal foibles, and see Trump in much the same light.

At the beginning of the election, it looked like blue-state Republicans would be the saving grace for the GOP establishment, countering the influence of the conservative grassroots. Mitt Romney dominated in the big cities throughout the 2012 GOP primary, winning easily in the same areas where Trump is showcasing strength.

But Trump has upended the conventional GOP playbook, winning over moderates and less-religious Republicans that usually side with the party’s mainstream. That’s allowed him to succeed in areas that, on paper, once looked like Trump dead zones. As the primary calendar turns to densely-populated states—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and California—Trump will have the opportunity to lock down the GOP nomination in the most unlikely places.

What We're Following See More »
BREAKING WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AFTER TRUMP INSULTED THE SENATOR
McCain Family to Endorse Biden
39 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

"The late Sen. John McCain's family plans to support former Vice President Joe Biden's White House bid, backing the Democrat not only in his party's crowded primary race but also in a general election matchup with President Trump, the Washington Examiner has learned. In an extraordinary snub to Trump, who derided McCain's Vietnam War service and mocked him even after his death last August at age 81, the McCain family is preparing to break with the Republican Party. McCain represented the party in Congress for 35 years and was chosen as its presidential nominee in 2008, losing to Barack Obama."

Source:
LEGAL BATTLE BETWEEN THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS LOOMS
IRS Resists Giving Congress Trump's Tax Returns
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left little doubt Tuesday that the administration will reject a congressional request for President Donald Trump's tax returns by a self-imposed May 6 target for a "final decision," setting the stage for a legal battle that will test the limits of congressional oversight."

Source:
CALLS CONGRESS "VERY PARTISAN"
Trump Opposes White House Aides Giving Congressional Testimony
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Trump on Tuesday said he is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimony to congressional panels in the wake of the special counsel report, intensifying a power struggle between his administration and House Democrats. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said that complying with congressional requests was unnecessary after the White House cooperated with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference and the president’s own conduct in office."

Source:
GAG RULE WOULD HAVE KEPT CLINICS FROM REFERRING WOMEN TO ABORTION PROVIDERS
Judge Blocks Trump Abortion Rule
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane late Tuesday said he’ll grant a preliminary injunction against new federal restrictions that bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers, calling the rule a 'ham-fisted approach to public health policy.' Oregon is one of 20 states and the District of Columbia that challenged the Trump administration’s changes to the Title X family planning program in U.S. District Court in Oregon, along with Planned Parenthood affiliates and the American Medical Association."

Source:
WANTS IT BY MAY 1
Nadler Subpoenas Unredacted Report
5 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login