In either case, the memo concluded that the swing to the Democrats is primarily driven by new and independent voters who are focused on abortion.
“This movement is (led) overwhelmingly by independent and NEW voters who identify abortion as one of their top issues,” co/efficient said on slide 11 of a 34-slide presentation. “Reproductive freedom is the #1 issue among those who DID NOT vote in 2020.
New voters, swing voters and independents have become a staple of electoral coalitions in the Trump era, as supporters are less and less likely to cross the aisle. The almost singular exception to this fierce partisanship is a small but critical slice of anti-Trump Republicans who voted for the Democrats over the past two cycles as a rejection of Donald Trump, Trumpism and MAGA election deniers. Indeed, a pro-democracy coalition of Democrats, independent voters, and GOP-leaning conservatives came together in 2022 to defeat MAGA deniers up and down polling in battleground states.
The Republican memo is an admission that the party’s anti-abortion extremism has been a key driver of voter disaffection, with Republicans, independents and new voters leading the charge. This news comes as two recent Washington Post discussion groups indicate that Trump and Trumpism are absolute voter repellents.
Focus groups of 15 voters from Trump to Biden from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin were not all good news for Democrats. The eight independents, four Democrats and three Republicans expressed dismay when they showed a video of Joe Biden, prompting words such as “sad”, “sorry” and “worried”. Attendees were uniformly worried about Biden’s age crippling his ability to do the job both mentally and physically.
But all that negative emotion pales in comparison to the possibility of Trump winning another term.
“Regardless of the step above freaked out, that’s how I feel about Trump,” one registered Democrat said.
Asked about Trump taking over the White House, these swing voters offered words such as “nervous,” “scared,” “sick” and “horrified” to describe their emotions.
A Wisconsin voter in his 50s said another Trump presidency would make him “feel like living in Nazi Germany.”
In a Biden-Trump rematch, nine of 15 said they would pick Biden, three said Trump, and three opted for neither, giving Biden three-quarters of those who would opt for one two. Although the groups aren’t statistically representative, the numbers suggest Biden continues to be the clear frontrunner among those who defected from Trump to Biden in 2020.
Interestingly, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his brash MAGA brand of “Trump without the baggage” didn’t play better against Biden with these swing voters. A majority favored Biden while five chose DeSantis or said they were undecided.
“Someone said he was a mini-Trump. I agree with that,” said a woman who had lived in Florida. “He’s also very divisive. … He would separate the country.
Extremism now defines the Republican Party, and Trump, Trumpism, and anti-abortion bigotry, perhaps more than any other issue, exemplify that extremism in both mood and real-world consequences.
They also continue to alienate independent voters and alienate them from the Republican Party the longer they remain in public view. As badly as Trump performed for Republicans in 2020, just as anti-abortion and MAGA extremism did in 2022, they threaten to have an even more devastating impact on Republican candidates and the party as a whole in 2024.