Whether anecdotal or supported by statistics, it appears that almost all of the people who voted for Trump would vote for him again. Maybe it’s his bluster, I don’t know. Whatever he’s doing is enough to please his supporters while simultaneously making him the most unpopular president after one hundred days in polling history.

“There are no signs of major slippage in support among those who voted for Trump. His approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94%. Among Republicans, it is 84%. Asked of those who voted for him whether they regret doing so, 2 percent say they do, while 96% say supporting Trump was the right thing to do. When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.”

Aside from his success in placing Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, his main success so far as president has been simply occupying the office. When Salena Zito of the New York Post checked in with Trump supporters she had met while traveling the old Lincoln Highway back in the fall, she discovered that the new president’s star is undimmed. Here’s a typical response from a registered Democrat in Bulger, Pennsylvania.

When I called him recently, [Robert] Hughes picked up his phone from the gun range. “I could not be more optimistic about the future than I am right now,” he told me. “Honestly, I am still on cloud nine that he won and is our president.”

Why is that? Hughes cites Trump’s unconventional approach to politics, his dismissal of political games and his willingness to compromise to get things done…

Bulger is in Washington County, Pennsylvania, on the border with West Virginia. It’s no surprise that Trump has support from registered Democrats there. Let’s look at the erosion of Democratic support in Washington County over the last eight years. In 2008, Barack Obama won 46,122 votes there which was good for 48% of the two-party vote. In 2012, Obama won 40,345 votes there, which was good for 43% of the two-party vote. Last November, Hillary Clinton won 36,322 votes, which came to 37% of the two-party vote. Perhaps it’s more instructive to look at it this way: in 2008, the Democratic candidate lost in Washington County by 4,630 votes. In 2012, he lost by 12,885. In 2016, she lost by 25,044, which was more than half the total (44,492) that Hillary Clinton lost by statewide.

Another way of looking at this is to consider the effect on down ballot Democrats. In 2012, Democrat Bob Casey Jr. was reelected with 54% of the statewide vote, but he lost in Washington County (46.7%-51.3%), or by about 4,300 votes. Meanwhile, Republican congressman Bill Shuster won reelection despite losing in Washington County 42.7%-57.1%. In 2016, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Katie McGinty, lost in the county 37.7%-56.3%, or by about 18,000 votes. Rep. Bill Schuster prevailed 56.9%-42.1%.

If you still don’t get the picture, let’s compare the percent of the vote the Democratic candidate got (in the county) in the seven general assembly districts that represent all or parts of Washington County.

Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 37- 2012 38.9% 2016 25.6%
Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 39- 2012 48.6% 2016 28.7%
Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 40- 2012 No candidate 2016 26.8%
Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 46- 2012 17.9% 2016 37.8%
Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 48- 2012 No opponent 2016 No opponent
Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 49- 2012 62.8% 2016 46.2%
Senator Gen Assembly Dist. 50- 2012 69.8% 2016 57.7%

Other than an improvement in District 46, the results speak with a resounding voice. The problem wasn’t contained to the presidential ballot line. Support for the Democratic Party collapsed relative to 2012. When we consider the previously cited presidential numbers going back to 2008, the size of collapse comes into even better focus.

This is just one county in Pennsylvania, and not a particularly well-populated one, but it alone accounted for more than half of Trump’s statewide margin of victory.  On Tuesday, I highlighted numbers from Greene County, which lies adjacently to the south of Washington County. Though smaller and therefore less consequential, the erosion for the Democrats in Greene has been far worse than in Washington.

In 2008, Obama carried 50% of the vote in southwest Greene County, costing him 60 net votes against John McCain. In 2016, Clinton won 29% of the vote in Greene County, costing her 6,367 net votes against Donald Trump.

Compared to 2008, Clinton carried 11% less of the vote than Obama in Washington County, but fully 21% less of the vote in Greene. Combined, they accounted for roughly 30,000 of the 44,000 votes she lost by in the Keystone State.

Whether you’re looking at this from the perspective of winning Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes in 2020, or for the prospects of winning back seats in Congress, or (especially) by the desire for the Democrats to ever control the state legislature again, these numbers are somewhere between troubling and catastrophic.

It matters if these voters aren’t responding negatively to Trump’s first 100 days. We need to figure out why they supported him in the first place but also why more of them haven’t already come to regret or doubt their decision.

And, no, we can’t abandon these folks for both practical and moral reasons. I’ve laid out the practical reasons. The moral reason is that the underclass needs a left-wing to represent and champion them regardless of their color or values. If the Democratic Party doesn’t want to be the left-wing for these folks, it will get even worse results in these counties in the future. And some left-wing alternative will have to be created even if it is no longer associated with the Democratic Party in any way.

Remember, too, these folks (or enough of them, anyway) supported the black president. In 2008, he lost Greene County by 60 votes. This isn’t ancient history and whatever racism may exist in these areas (and it’s substantial), it isn’t determinative of how they’ll vote.

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