Since November 8, 2016, we’ve been living in a political paradigm shift. The desires and will of the electorate – difficult to predict on a good day – have shifted seismically, forming new coalitions and disintegrating others.
In particular, the Trump voters – who they are, where they live, and, ultimately, what they want – continue to plague pollsters and pundits alike. These answers aren’t just important for career campaigners, but also for policy makers seeking to respond to a changing electorate.
Emily Ekins, a research fellow and director of polling at the Cato Institute, has taken a welcome first step in unpacking what defines a Trump voter, and what she has uncovered goes against the grain of what the media would have you believe.
Trump voters, as a whole, are, well, not one. As it turns out, there is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter.” Rather, Trump voters vary considerably on issues like taxes, entitlements, immigration, race and social conservatives, among other areas.
These findings have significant ramifications for the next few election cycles, and for lawmakers seeking to reconcile policy proposals to the changing shape of the voting base.
As there is no “one kind of Trump voter,” politicians and policy makers cannot respond with “one kind of solution.” Nuance is required, as is the ability to listen. If 2016 taught us anything, it is that the needs and desires of the electorate defy the kind of easy categorization that pundits would like to attach to it.
Politicians, as well as policy makers, would do well to pay attention.