Learning from Obama-Trump working class voters in Macomb and Democratic base groups in greater Detroit
On the one-year anniversary of the Trump presidency, Democracy Corps traveled to Michigan to speak with the white working class Obama-Trump voters of Macomb County, the African American women of Detroit and the college educated women of suburban Southfield. Each, in their own way, had contributed to one of the most unlikely political outcomes in American history in 2016; and now, each is contributing to an unprecedented level of politicization, polarization and genuine fear for the future of the country. That is the consequence of the Trump election and the context as the country heads into the 2018 election.
This research comes a year after Democracy Corps and The Roosevelt Institute held our first post-2016 focus groups in Macomb County. Democracy Corps and the American Federation of Teachers returned to Macomb to catch up with these Trump voters and Detroit-area base voters.
The stakes are so elevated in this political moment that both sides speak about a virtual “civil war” in the country, and critically, in their own families. Ordinary voters in focus groups now insist on talking about politics, national issues and the state of the country; they will not be distracted by our moderators who attempt to open conversations with popular culture and entertainment. Once participants realize they are in a room with fellow Trump or Clinton voters, they rush to politics. It sucks all the oxygen out of the room.