Minority outreach has long been the name of the game in presidential politics, but this election cycle, Clinton might be facing a very different kind of problem.
Where are her white supporters?
“That is such a delicate thing to manage,” Voth says. “I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s an angry white population behind Donald Trump. One of the interesting things from Tuesday is that Trump’s best state was Massachusetts, where he had 49% of the vote, which is the closest he’s come to a majority and a place where people can cross party lines to vote. There’s something really odd going on with disaffected Democrats and Trump, especially in the northeast, and Hillary needs to do something about it.”
Clinton’s big wins thus far have come in the south, where she wins the African-American vote by as much as 80 percent. Her success in primarily white electorates has been wobbly – especially in New England.
“She needs to frame an argument around dialogue that reassures whites that they come with some capacity to speak to the conversation on race and not just be lectured or talked down to, But that’s a really hard argument to frame,” Voth says. “There’s definitely something rumbling up there that could be significant. Hillary does not want to be vulnerable in the northeast.”
Voth is SMU’s director of debate and an associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs who can discuss:
- debate prep
- debate strategy
- comparisons between this debate season and the 2012 election’s debate season