Trump may need Mitt Romney supporters if he wants to win the White House

Posted September 19

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio, on September 14, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mike Segar (Deseret Photo)

Both GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic pick Hillary Clinton are trying their best to corral supporters ahead of the 2016 election in November in surprising ways.

Clinton, for example, released a set of medical records on Thursday after she had a spell with pneumonia over the weekend. Her doctor revealed in the records that the infection was non-contagious and that she would be healthy after taking some antibiotics.

Meanwhile, Trump released two pages of medical info on Thursday morning, in addition to the physical results he shared on the Dr. Oz show Wednesday.

While the two attempted to quell the health talking point, both candidates are still trying to secure voters so that they can reach the 270 electoral college votes needed for the presidency. And their supporters could not be more different, according to The Washington Post.

“The division between Clinton and Trump backers mirrors the candidates' appraisals of the country's progress. Trump has made ‘Make America Great Again’ his campaign theme and often has described the country in dystopian terms — as a nation where workers are falling behind, crime is increasing and elected leaders routinely lose in negotiations with other countries,” the Washington Post reported. “Clinton has portrayed the country more positively, praising President Obama for helping the economy climb out of the pit of the Great Recession but emphasizing the need for more efforts to boost American families.”

In recent days, polls have shown that Trump’s gaining in several battleground states, seeing bumps in both Ohio and Florida.

But Trump may need the supporters of a man he’s had a contentious relationship with if he wants to win the White House — Mitt Romney.

As Reuters reported, Trump’s failed to connect with white-collar workers and professionals who don’t identify with Trump’s blue-collar demographic. Romney, meanwhile, polled well with white-collar workers.

In fact, these voters also “favor smaller government, less intrusive regulations and put less weight on conservative social values,” according to Reuters. These “country club Republicans,” as Reuters called them, also prefer their candidates be a little more mild-mannered than Trump has been.

For example, “some Republican professionals in central Ohio can’t get past his temperament and comments like the one suggesting illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists and murderers. Romney himself has been a fierce critic of Trump,” according to Reuters.

And we’ve seen real examples of this. I’ve written before about how Trump hasn’t polled well with people in Utah, especially Mormon voters, who helped Romney win the Beehive State in a landslide (by 48 points) in the 2012 election.

Clinton, meanwhile, is currently winning over a group of supporters that haven't traditionally voted Democrat — college-educated white Americans.

As the Pew Research Center reported, white college graduates prefer Clinton over Trump by 14 points.

“Unlike the overall educational gap, an educational gap among white voters is not new — whites without a college degree have voted for GOP candidates by larger margins than their counterparts with more education in the last four presidential contests," according to Pew. "But the gap this year appears to have grown wider. And if support for Clinton holds steady among white college graduates, 2016 will mark the first time in at least a quarter century that this group has supported a Democratic candidate for president."

This is mostly because white college students haven't enjoyed Trump's attacks on Muslims or women, nor do they embrace his leadership style, according to Bloomberg.

Winning over this demographic may actually be a problem for Clinton, though. As FiveThirtyEight reported, college-educated whites tend to live in safer states, like the northeast and Colorado, and not swing states. So even if Clinton earns all these supporters, Trump could still find success elsewhere.

Still, it looks like those country club Republicans could end up voting Trump on election day as a number of them want to keep Clinton from obtaining the White House, according to Reuters.

“We all know,” Bradley Barbin, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, told Reuters, “that there are certain people you just cannot give that kind of unfettered power to. You just can’t.”

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.


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