The New Republic - December 2017

"Suburban ex-Republicans are worth pursuing, but not at the risk of diluting liberal policy commitments. While opposition to Trump is helping to swell Democratic ranks, the truth remains that excessive centrism will dishearten core voters. Watering down the party’s identity only ensures more defeats further down the road, when Trump won’t be around to scare up an ad hoc Democratic coalition. “Virginians deserve civility,” Northam told thePost***. “They’re looking for a moral compass right now.” But Democrats don’t need Republicans to help calibrate that compass."***

... There’s one very compelling reason to be wary of this pursuit of disaffected suburban Republicans: Hillary Clinton tried it last year. As New York Senator Chuck Schumer described the strategy in July 0f 2016, “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” While Clinton performed well in prosperous suburbs, this didn’t offset her losses with working-class whites, which led her, contra Schumer’s prediction, to lose Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, among other previously Democratic states. Clinton ended up winning fewer Electoral College votes than any Democratic candidate since Michael Dukakis.

The Democratic Party’s fetishization of the suburban voter has myriad roots. These are desirable voters, in theory, because they are more likely to vote in midterms than more traditional Democratic constituencies like the young, the poor, and people of color; they’re also more likely to be substantial donors. And for Democratic centrists, middle-of-the-road Republicans are also ideal voters since they are unlikely to demand large government programs.

The Democrats have pursued suburban Republican voters since long before 2016, to little avail. “Democrats have dreamed for years of peeling away the rings around major cities, separating suburban voters who favor conservative tax and economic policies from a Republican Party that also champions harder-right positions on abortion, guns and gay rights,” the Timesreported. “So far, that effort has gained Democrats few seats.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reportedly found that in the 2014 and 2016 elections, suburban voters were “inching away from Republicans, but too slowly to flip many seats.” ...
Read full report at The New Republic