The Washington Post examines the question…..
In the 2018 midterm elections, women like Kupernik and Stacishin were part of a women-led army that changed politics. Women who had never been particularly active politically worked phone banks, wrote postcards and sent text messages to voters. They were repulsed by Trump and determined to do something about it.
They met in small groups, marched in the streets and went door-to-door to encourage people to vote for Democrats. Their passions were palpable. Many of the congressional candidates they were supporting flipped Republican-held seats, all part of a political tide strong enough to flush the GOP from control of the House, dealing Trump a major defeat. The Pew Research Center has estimated that 62 percent of White women with college degrees backed Democrats for the House four years ago.
For much of this year, the political dynamics appeared to be the reverse of 2018 — a rebellion against Biden poised to eliminate Democrats’ slim majorities in the Senate and House. History alone suggested that. But the crosscurrents are more varied than they were four years ago. Earlier predictions of sweeping Republican gains have been tempered by the changing political climate, thanks in large part to the Dobbs decision, though the GOP remains favored to take control of the House. In the final weeks, with concerns about the economy still dominant, elections could turn on how much sustaining energy the Dobbs decision provides for Democrats or whether it fades in the face of bread-and-butter concerns.
Biden’s approval ratings remain well below 50 percent, though his average rating is not as low as it was a few months ago. Inflation continues at decades-high levels. Crime in major cities and some suburban areas is up. The influx of undocumented immigrants gnaws at many voters. All that continues to push toward Republican victories.
But the midterms are shaping up to be more than just a referendum on the president. Trump remains a central, and polarizing, figure at center stage. He continues to claim falsely the 2020 election was stolen and has remained in the news because of investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his handling of classified documents. He maintains a tight grip on the GOP base and, as election deniers have won many GOP primaries this year, this Trumpian Republican Party is seen by many voters as a growing threat….
No single group of voters holds the key to the midterm elections, but both parties see the following demographic blocs as critical.
- Black voters are the Democrats’ most important and reliable constituency, particularly Black women. Democratic candidates will need another big turnout from them, though some Black men have been receptive to Trump’s appeals.
- Competition for Latino voters has intensified as they have shown a greater tendency to drift from their Democratic moorings. Republicans think they can register gains among Latinos in Nevada, Texas and some other states.
- Working-class White voters — men and women — have become a key constituency for Republicans. GOP candidates will need their strong support, as has been the case since Trump was elected.
- White women with college educations, the focus here, are another key to November. Will they stay with Democrats in the way they did four years ago? Will some shift back toward Republicans, as happened in the Virginia governor’s race in 2021? Will many of them choose not to vote, conflicted by their choices or simply out of disinterest or exhaustion with politics?
In the coming weeks, The Washington Post will be looking at some of the voters who will decide the fate of the next Congress, and assessing whether Democrats can maintain the coalition that propelled them to victories in 2018 and 2020. This “Deciders” series begins with a look from Colorado and how some women in Denver and its suburbs view the country, the issues, their families and themselves….