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Not who Trump wants: his voters have a diverse profile

Not who Trump wants: his voters have a diverse profile

In 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton used this unfortunate phrase to describe Donald Trump's supporters: “a basket of deplorables.” If there were many unfriendly individuals in this electoral college, the formula was crude and simplistic.

There is great diversity among Trump's followers. If the courts force him to step down, the person who fired him will not be able to escape Trumpism. This trend is ingrained, whether Trump is there or not.

As a heterogeneous group

Already in 2017, the institution Democracy FundThis is through his organization Voting Study Groupgrouped Trump voters into five broad categories.

First of all, we find a group of ardent conservatives. Guardians of traditional morality and little hostility to immigrants, they are loyal to the Republican Party. These are mostly male voters with middle or higher education.

Added to these conservatives is a group distinguished by its rejection of elites. They are quick to condemn the regime and believe the entire political class is corrupt. Surprisingly, they are more economically advanced, attend fewer churches, and own fewer guns. Because they are middle class, they may be tempted by the Democratic Party.

“Conservatives,” for their part, are less educated than the average American and are found among those with lower incomes. Their knowledge of the issues and policy details is inferior to that of other Trump supporters. On the issue of immigration, they are as extreme as the conservatives.

For free marketers, they are the most educated, wealthiest, and best informed among Trump supporters. And the most skeptical too! They focus their efforts on the economy and promote free trade. This group is not afraid of immigration, and is open to the demands of the LGBTQ+ community.

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As for the fifth category, which is the category of disengaged, it represents only 5% of the total supporters of the Republican candidate. Because we are reluctant to mobilize and so poorly informed, we sometimes succeed in joining them by promising to overthrow the elites, limit immigration and ban Muslims from entering the country.

Possible convergence?

Contrary to what is sometimes said, Trump's electoral constituency is more complex than the caricature that portrays him. There's more to it than just “angry white men.”

Whether some of Trump's Republican opponents or Democrats, they are often criticized for neglecting the former president's supporters, because they no longer know how to talk to them. However, you should know that they are generally the least open to compromise (Pew Research Center, October 2023). How to establish a dialogue?

We will have to find the answer to this question if we are to court or cannibalize a group of core voters.