One of the theories of how Trump gets to the White House rests on activating white voters who turned out for the presidential race in 1992—the year independent populist Ross Perot ran on an anti-establishment, anti-trade message foreshadowing elements of Trumpism—but then didn’t vote in subsequent years.
There were always flaws in this thinking. As David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report explained in June, most of these voters don’t live in battleground states. Trump is also tanking with a key constituency of white voters who supported Mitt Romney.
“The critical shift there is among whites with college degrees,” Philip Bump writes in The Washington Post Tuesday. “This is a group that has also voted Republican in every election since Dwight Eisenhower was reelected. But thanks to a 28-point swing with that group (including Trump doing 15 points worse than Romney), Clinton is poised to be the first Democrat to win college-educated whites in a long time.”
Now comes further evidence the “missing” white voter theory won’t hold. As voter registration in the United States hits the 200 million mark, Politico reports, “The wave of new voters this year has dramatically favored the Democratic Party, according to TargetSmart, which analyzed the expected party preferences of the new registrants in 15 of the first- and second-tier presidential battlegrounds.”
“TargetSmart found that 42.6 percent of the new voters registered this year lean Democratic, and only 29 percent lean Republican,” Politico added. “Worse for the GOP, registration trended more Democratic in every single battleground state.”
Turns out, the missing voters who might truly matter next month weren’t voters at all until this year—and Clinton, not Trump, stands to benefit.