Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.
The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (whites), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.
Why it matters: You can't win elections without diversity, bigger population centers and sufficient money.
Flashback: Before President Trump, the GOP acknowledged all this. Then-RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in his "autopsy" after Mitt Romney's loss in 2012:
- "We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities."
What's happening: Trump threw that out and realigned the GOP base away from suburbs and wealth, and toward working-class whites in small towns.
- New Gallup polling finds Trump remains above 50% with rural residents, white men and white adults without college degrees.
- But he has dropped nine points just this year with suburbanites — falling with both men and women — to 35%, after winning them in 2016.
Republicans have hemorrhaged support among suburban women during the Trump years. Now, the GOP even struggles in exurbs.
- Trump's plaintive pleas to these vital voters have become a 2020 punchline. "Suburban women, you’re going to love me. You better love me," Trump said last night in West Salem, Wis.
Another GOP drain: Voters are no longer following the traditional pattern of getting more conservative as they age.
- In what Axios demographic expert Stef Kight calls the "liberal youth revolution," millennials and Gen Z are sticking with the Democratic Party as they move through adulthood.
The demographic wind shear is also hitting Republicans financially, the N.Y. Times shows in a new analysis.
- In ZIP codes with a median household income of $100,000+, Biden beat Trump 3-to-1 in fundraising, "accounting for almost his entire financial edge. In the rest of the country, the two were knotted closely."
- Trump's sweet spot: Areas averaging $50,000 or less.
What's next: Key players in the Republican Party tell Axios they're deeply concerned about winning back the suburbs.
- Republicans eyeing 2024 runs know the party's current demographic math may not work for Trump again — and certainly won't work for them.