From Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for George W. Bush, on Donald Trump’s racist attempts to scare white suburban women:
“If I don’t win,” Trump alleges, “America’s Suburbs will be OVERRUN with Low Income Projects, Anarchists, Agitators, Looters and, of course, ‘Friendly Protesters.’ ” There is no possible interpretation of “Low Income Projects” in this context that does not involve the incitement of racism. The same might be said for the use of “Looters” and “Protesters.” Trump is conflating protests against racial injustice with criminal activity and warning that angry faces are coming to suburbia if Biden wins.
Elsewhere, Trump has warned that “low income housing and projects” will undermine the “American Dream.” Note Trump’s consistent use of the word “projects,” which evokes images of decaying and dangerous apartment buildings filled with minorities. Trump’s twisted definition of the American Dream is White flight from urban poverty and decay.
Will this work? A poll from All In Together suggests it won’t. Women usually support the Democratic candidate for president, and this year is no different: Biden leads Trump among women by 11 points. Among suburban women that increases to 14 percentage points, but they support him more on some subjects than on others. Here’s how it nets out among suburban women:
The issue on which suburban women support Biden the most is race relations. This suggests that Trump’s racist incitements are not only falling flat, but probably losing him support. Suburban women look around their neighborhoods and they simply don’t buy the apocalypse that Trump is selling. What they want, presumably, is a president who will calm things down, not one who’s deliberately inflaming white bigotry and making things worse.
None of this means that Trump can’t possibly win. In 2016 he went all-in on Hillary Clinton as a criminal and then got lucky when James Comey wrote a letter shortly before the election that seemed to confirm it. This year he’s going all-in on racist scaremongering, and he could get lucky again if something happens late in the game that scares white suburban women. Liberals need to be careful not to let that happen, especially since Trump doesn’t precisely need to rely just on luck this time around. He’s been doing his best to incite violence for the past couple of months, and there’s no reason to think he won’t keep trying right up until November 3.