At a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump revealed just how desperate his political fortunes are at the moment.
“Suburban women, will you please like me?” he pleaded. “I saved your damn neighborhood.”
Which, well, awkward.
Trump is right, of course, that he has a major problem with suburban voters — and suburban women in particular.
In 2016, Trump won voters who lived in the suburbs — 49% of the total electorate — by 2 points over Hillary Clinton, according to Pew.
Two years later, the President’s party was crushed in the 2018 midterms — losing control of the House — thanks in large part to a suburban revolt against Trump. House Democratic candidates won 52% of suburban voters as compared to just 45% for House GOPers.
Of the 41 seats Democrats picked up in the 2018 election, 38 were in predominantly suburban districts. Which is remarkable.
Unfortunately for Trump — and down-ballot Republicans — the 2018 midterms weren’t the low ebb for the President in the eyes of suburbanites.
States like Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia and Florida — where much of the population resides in suburban areas — have all moved away from Trump over the past few years.
Colorado looks to be out of reach for the President, and his struggles will likely cost Republican Sen. Cory Gardner his seat. Pennsylvania remains a possibility for Trump but his poor performance in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh suburbs could be too big a hole for him to dig out of.
Florida, Texas and Georgia are all toss ups at this point, largely due to Trump’s underperformance in the suburban areas of the state.
The problem for Trump is that knowing he has a problem in the suburbs and fixing it are two very different things. Trump, as his quote on Tuesday night makes clear, has tried to scare women in the suburbs into voting for him; if Joe Biden wins, he claim with little subtlety, roving gangs of Antifa supporters will invade your suburban paradise.
But female suburban voters aren’t buying it. As The New York Times wrote last month, citing polling data in Minnesota and Wisconsin:
“President Trump’s effort to court suburban women by promising to protect their neighborhoods is encountering one sizable hitch: Most suburban women say their neighborhoods aren’t particularly under threat.”
The Point: Trump knows he is losing. And he knows that a lot of the problem has to do with the suburbs, and women living in the suburbs in particular. He also has no message that persuades them to reconsider voting for him. So he is resorting to begging — which rarely works.