Joe Biden didn’t just win the Michigan primary this week. The turnout and demographic patterns of voters, from African Americans in Detroit to affluent suburbanites to working-class white voters in rural areas, provided evidence of a broader Democratic coalition than the party mobilized in 2016, a powerful warning shot to the Trump campaign.
In that last general election, Hillary Clinton struggled with white voters and independents, and underperformed with black voters compared with Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008. To the surprise of both political parties, Donald Trump carried the state by 10,700 votes, the first time a Republican had won Michigan in 28 years.
What stands out about Biden’s victory Tuesday is that he performed well not only among his bedrock supporters, black voters, but also drew solid backing from other key demographic groups — including college-educated white women, moderates and those over 45 — in a primary that shattered Democratic turnout records by more than 30%.
“The massive high turnout is very, very bad news in Michigan for the Trump campaign,” said Richard Czuba, a nonpartisan pollster who has surveyed the state for more than three decades. “Everybody is motivated to vote. And in a state like Michigan, when you have a record turnout coming — and I think we do in November — that is a huge benefit to the Democratic nominee. There just aren’t enough Republicans in Michigan.”
Because Michigan was the first Obama-to-Trump state to vote in the presidential primary, an erstwhile brick in what Democrats once complacently called their Blue Wall, both parties pounced on Tuesday’s results for signposts pointing to November.
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