That's a phrase we haven't heard much in this election cycle. Harry Enten of 538 likes to point out that never before has a voting bloc this big been so -under-analyzed. I keep hearing story after story after story about "Trump voters" in this election. They have become about the most tiresome thing around. A reporter goes to northeast Ohio or western Pennsylvania and interviews a resentful white person with a blue collar background and talks about economic anxiety and never racism or culture. With very, very, few exceptions, Trump voters are just Republicans. I find the Republicans who aren't voting for Trump a much more revealing and interesting group to examine, since they might be the fulcrum that future elections turn on.
But what about Hillary Clinton's voters? They gave her many more votes than any candidate in the primaries, including both Sanders and Trump. They are also poised to put her in the White House. We may be witnessing the creation of a new New Deal coalition, and instead we're spending our time hanging on every word from racist retired steelworkers from Youngstown. Reporters should be talking to politically moderate Asian and Latino voters, since they are the ones who will be putting Hillary over the top.
Here's a little secret: historically party affiliation in America has had as much or more to do with identity than with political ideology. Both parties are broad coalitions of different groups with a lot of ideas and interests in common, but also some cleavages. The party that builds a coalition of groups that are bigger than the groups of their opponents wins. This is what happened with the Democrats for decades after 1932. The New Deal brought together the traditional party constituencies of southern whites and northern urban immigrants with African Americans, blue collar workers more broadly, and educated liberals. Of course, the party could not maintain such a coalition, as African Americans had a much different agenda than the southern Democrats still pining for the Confederacy and violently defending Jim Crow.
What is the new Democratic coalition? African Americans, gays, organized labor, educated white liberals, coastal city dwellers more broadly, Latinos, Asians, and perhaps now white suburban women. (White women went for Romney, it looks like Clinton will get them.) Asians and Latinos used to split their vote less decisively, but now that the Republican brand is tinged with white nationalism, the Democrats have been able to increase their advantage with those groups. While I am not happy with the party's economic centrism since the time of Bill Clinton, it has meant not scaring off middle class voters who might have gone Republican, and has allowed the Democrats to capture voters repelled by the conservative culture war.
The primaries this year showed the challenge of keeping this coalition together. Younger voters within the party are further to the left and not as committed to the party. Progressives generally are tired of New Democrat centrism. Either the voters on the left or the moderates could get alienated. However, these are small concerns next to what Republicans are facing. Trump has mobilized a lot their voters, but Mormons, some evangelicals, Republicans of color, women generally, and highly educated conservatives have been repelled by him. While the Democrats had a contentious primary and convention, the Bernie or Bust folks are not disrupting the party the way that the Never Trump faction has done on the other side.
So please, let's analyze "Clinton voters." They're the coalition saving us from the Trumpist nightmare.