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Westlake Legal Group > Voting and Voters

Young Voters Still ‘Feel the Bern,’ but Not Just for Bernie Sanders Anymore

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — College students are back on campus. Bernie Sanders is, too.

Earlier this month at Iowa State University, he lectured to young voters as they played “Green New Deal Pong” (the Solo cups were filled with green-colored water) and “Bern Bag Toss.” At the University of Nevada, Reno, he croaked through a hoarse voice to address a crowd that stretched from the college lawn to the open-air floors of a parking garage beside it.

And at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday evening, he implored students to get themselves to the primary polls come February — and vote for him.

“You have friends out there, and I know you do, who think that the political system” is absurd, he said, using a colorful expletive. “Tell them that instead of just complaining, they must get involved into the political process.”

It was a sentiment he has repeated often this month as he crisscrossed the country on what has amounted to a whirlwind back-to-school tour. In Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina, he has by turns used flattery (“Your generation is the most progressive younger generation in the history of this country”) and subtle warnings (“The future of this country and in fact the world rests with your generation”) to bolster his appeals.

Everywhere, his goal was the same: muster a version of the army of young voters who propelled his campaign in 2016.

His message was one that has resonated with Brianna Williams, 19, who arrived with a group of friends to hear him in Chapel Hill. “I’ve seen a lot of his policies, and I’m just excited for what he has to offer as a candidate,” she said.

But she was just as excited by Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I would love to see a woman running the country,” she said. “That would be really cool.”

Last time around, Mr. Sanders’s rants against the elite and promises of free college tuition endeared him to legions of young fans. It also helped that Mr. Sanders — 74 at the time, with unruly white hair and an old-school Brooklyn accent — was both decidedly uncool and new to presidential politics, affording his campaign a paradoxical edge that inspired millions of young supporters to “feel the bern” and vote for him over Hillary Clinton.

As he fights anew for the Democratic nomination, it is not lost on him or his allies that his success hinges, in no small part, on his ability to capture that enthusiasm again — for both the optics of his race and the actual votes.

But this time he is no longer an insurgent, nor is he the only anti-establishment candidate in the race — factors that helped boost his standing among young voters. With the race entering the crucial fall period, other candidates, including Ms. Warren and Andrew Yang, have begun siphoning off some of his support.

[Sign up for our politics newsletter hosted by Lisa Lerer and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

Even Mr. Sanders’s closest advisers acknowledge that he cannot take for granted a voting cohort they view as critical, even if it is traditionally unreliable in actually making it to the ballot box.

“Last time it was much more organic,” Faiz Shakir, Mr. Sanders’s campaign manager, said. “And this time it’s far more intentional.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160469223_e0806b6f-ab96-4d19-97e1-91fc9f605194-articleLarge Young Voters Still ‘Feel the Bern,’ but Not Just for Bernie Sanders Anymore Youth Warren, Elizabeth Voting and Voters United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Democratic Party Colleges and Universities

People playing “Green New Deal Pong” at a Sanders rally at Iowa State University in Ames.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

In interviews, many young voters still praised Mr. Sanders, sometimes breathlessly — citing his authenticity and conviction but also his calls for free college and universal health care and his proposal to cancel student debt. But many also expressed curiosity, if not exuberance, about other candidates

“I love everything he stands for,” said Asha Loutsch, 18, as she sat with a circle of friends who were waiting for his event at the University of Iowa. “I think he really cares about what he’s trying to say. Like, he’s always getting up in there, you know?”

But she also said she was interested in Ms. Warren and wanted to hear her speak.

Jiego Lim, an 18-year-old student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who was volunteering at Mr. Sanders’s event there, said he supported Mr. Sanders but was also intrigued by Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Kamala Harris. “I feel like we need a fresh new face in politics,” he said. “Bernie comes off aggressive to me sometimes.”

Others were less equivocal.

“He’s America’s dad,” offered Gabriel Olier, 19, a student in Reno. “I love Bernie.”

That affection for Mr. Sanders is reflected in some more tangible metrics. His campaign said it had so far raised over $1 million from people under the age of 25, a relatively small figure compared to his overall haul but one that nevertheless points to his continued strength with young voters.

[Here’s the latest data on who’s leading the race to be the Democratic nominee.]

And in most polls, Mr. Sanders still maintains a strong lead among young voters: A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey showed that a third of voters under 35 supported him.

Yet at the same time, a quarter of these respondents said they supported Ms. Warren, suggesting Mr. Sanders no longer has the same hold on the group he had in 2016.

Any candidate relying on the support of younger voters faces an undeniable challenge: Younger voters tend not to vote in high numbers compared with other groups. In the 2016 election, for instance, only 11 percent of voters under 30 participated in the Iowa caucuses, representing just 15 percent of the total, according to an estimate from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

But the high turnout among young voters during the 2018 midterm elections has given some experts hope that the 2020 election will be different. That strong showing has provided organizers with a larger pool to identify and target potential presidential voters. Issues, including climate change, criminal justice, health care and gun control, are also motivating young voters to act.

“The truth is that if younger people in this country voted at the same level as people 65 and over, we could transform this country,” Mr. Sanders said this month at the University of Iowa. “Please do it!”

John Della Volpe, the director of polling at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, said that Mr. Sanders was still “doing really well” but that the field was more complex and his pool of support was smaller.

“At this stage, he’s essentially sharing support of young people in most polls with Elizabeth Warren,” Mr. Della Volpe said. “The idea of going after structural reforms is really, I think, what is resonating so clearly with young people.”

Indeed, of all the other candidates, it is Ms. Warren who appears to be generating the most powerful wave of energy among young voters in Democratic presidential politics — particularly among those who once supported Mr. Sanders.

More Coverage of Bernie Sanders and Young Voters
Bernie Sanders Courts Elusive Voters: Young Iowans

Jan. 23, 2016

Young Democrats Flock to Bernie Sanders, Spurning Hillary Clinton’s Polish and Poise

Feb. 4, 2016

Bernie Sanders’s Big Turnout Problem: He’s Reliant on Infrequent Voters

Jan. 25, 2016

For Bernie Sanders, Holding Onto Support May Be Hard in a 2020 Bid

Dec. 27, 2018

Young Voters Could Make a Difference. Will They?

Nov. 2, 2018

Olivia Stecklein, 19, a student at the University of Iowa, said she had been a fan of Mr. Sanders since 2015 but was now choosing between him and Ms. Warren.

“I feel like they’re pretty similar, but I just kind of like how Elizabeth Warren has a set-out plan for everything,” she said. “She just seems very prepared.”

Eliza Link, 18, a University of Iowa student, said she was also deciding between Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren.

A young crowd cheered as Mr. Sanders took the stage during a rally on climate change in Las Vegas.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“I think they’re both the cool aunt and uncle of the political race right now,” she said.

With his characteristic verve that can exhaust even young reporters, Mr. Sanders has been in an all-out sprint to earn the vote of the youths, months before any of them can even cast their vote.

His team set up a Bernie Summer School program to train campus leaders in the art of campaigning. He urged his campaign to get him back on college campuses in the first weeks of the new school year. He constantly asks his team to share data on young voters.

To win over the group, however, Mr. Sanders will have to convince people like Tim Watts, 19.

Before Mr. Sanders’s event in Reno, Mr. Watts wore a “MATH” hat, the universal accessory of Yang supporters.

But despite his overt support for Mr. Yang — who in some ways is benefiting from the outsider status among young voters that Mr. Sanders enjoyed in 2016 — Mr. Watts said he had not yet closed the door on Mr. Sanders.

“I’m part of the Yang gang, I guess,” he said. “I will probably feel the bern later.”

Rachel Shorey contributed reporting from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Israeli Election Hinges on a Mosaic of Competing Groups

Israeli politics can be tribal, with loyalties to ethnic groups, religious factions and ideologies as strong a factor in voting as views on particular issues. Here’s a guide in words and pictures.

By

Photographs by

Sept. 17, 2019


JERUSALEM — Tuesday’s do-over election in Israel may not, by itself, decide who will be the next prime minister. That could take weeks of arduous coalition negotiations.

But the vote will almost certainly provide fresh evidence that the United States has nothing on this country when it comes to identity politics.

The April election was the first I’d covered as a foreign correspondent in Israel, and it shocked me that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly expressed desperation in the campaign’s final days and hours. At 11:25 p.m. on the night before votes were cast, he even had his American pollster join him on camera to declare, gravely, “Right now, we’re losing the race.”

In the United States, political candidates are programmed never to let the voters see them sweat, no matter how abysmal the poll numbers. In Israel, Mr. Netanyahu has perfected the art of setting his hair on fire and dialing 911 to get his voters to put out the flames.

There’s a reason this works so well for him. Israeli politics in many ways is tribal, and when a member of your tribe sounds the alarm, your instinct is to run to their aid.

Unlike the biblical tribes of Israel, these groups do not spring so much from bloodlines, but from loyalties to ethnic groups, religious brethren or ideology, and they erupt into plain view during election seasons.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160539459_ac35fea8-8400-44b0-a984-0a5352c20b29-articleLarge Israeli Election Hinges on a Mosaic of Competing Groups Zionism Voting and Voters Race and Ethnicity Palestinians Netanyahu, Benjamin Legislatures and Parliaments Jews and Judaism Israel elections

An Israeli settler schoolgirl in the West Bank town of Hebron.

A rooftop bar in Tel Aviv, a bastion of secular liberalism.

President Reuven Rivlin took a stab at defining Israel’s tribes in a landmark speech in 2015, noting that secular Zionist Jews, once a majority, had dwindled to a large minority, as three other groups had grown: the ultra-Orthodox, the national-religious and Arab citizens.

“Israeli politics to a great extent is built as an intertribal zero-sum game,” he warned, urging all four groups to figure out a way to work in partnership. (They haven’t.)

A new book by Camil Fuchs and Shmuel Rosner, “#IsraeliJudaism,” categorizes the Jewish population along two axes: how strictly they follow religious tradition, or how Jewish they are; and how much they embrace Israel’s nationalist symbols and rites, or how Israeli they are. A majority, they find, strongly identifies with both, but many ultra-Orthodox reject nationalism and many secular Israelis reject Jewish religious practice.

What has made Mr. Netanyahu so formidable a force over the years is his melding of nationalists and the religious into a single, right-wing political bloc.

But Rabbi Donniel Hartman, president of the influential Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, identifies no fewer than 17 tribes in present-day Israel, breaking down the ultra-Orthodox according to their attitudes toward Zionism and modernity, so-called traditional Jews according to how much they adhere to Jewish ritual, and Arabs according to religion and whether they take pride in being citizens of Israel, among other cohorts.

“That’s why coalition government is so important,” Rabbi Hartman said. “Because when you have all of this, each group sees itself as a persecuted minority.”

Israel’s Do-Over Election: Déjà Vu or a Chance for Change?

Sept. 16, 2019

Just as President Trump relies on support from white, working-class Americans, Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party draws much of its political strength from working-class Israelis, many of them Jews living in the so-called development towns on Israel’s periphery, where immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa were resettled beginning in the 1950s. These Mizrahi, or eastern, and Sephardic Jews, who account for around half the Jewish population of Israel, have long harbored resentments toward the European-descended, Ashkenazi liberal elite, who discriminated against them while governing Israel from its founding until the 1970s, when Likud first came to power.

Likud is not the only party that caters to Mizrahim: Shas, the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party, also attracts some of the many Mizrahi Jews who are “traditional” in their religious practice — a broad range of people who may not attend synagogue regularly but are perfectly at home there when they do, Rabbi Hartman said. And Labor’s Moroccan-born leader merged the party with one led by the daughter of a Moroccan-born former Likud leader, but its politics remain anathema to most Mizrahi voters.

Mizrahi, or eastern, Jews at the Tomb of Baba Sali in Netivot, Israel.
A Mizrahi child receives the ritual first haircut at the tomb of Baba Sali.
A weekend market in the largely Mizrahi city of Sderot.

To tourists who enjoy Tel Aviv’s beaches and nightclubs and never venture farther afield, Israel can seem a bastion of ultraliberalism that is difficult to reconcile with the country’s right-wing national politics.

And to Tel Aviv’s largely secular population, the election is a battle to stop Mr. Netanyahu from undermining Israeli democracy for the sake of retaining power and from allowing the ultrareligious, through their influence on government agencies, to try to brainwash their children into becoming observant Jews. Secular Israelis have been sounding the alarm to preserve an open-minded, live-and-let-live Israel before it is too late.

A major problem for secular Israelis, who are no longer the political force they once were, is that their votes are being split among too many parties. For the first time, what remains of the storied Labor Party may not clear the threshold to be seated in Parliament. The fledgling left-wing Democratic Union is in similar shape. Both have been threatened by Blue and White, the centrist party that is vying to topple Mr. Netanyahu but is vacuuming up the votes of many on the left.

To tourists who never venture past  Tel Aviv’s beaches and nightclubs, it can be difficult to reconcile the city’s liberalism with the country’s right-wing national politics. 
Israelis wait to meet political candidates at a bar in Tel Aviv.
People enjoy a sunset on the beach in Tel Aviv.

The most outwardly recognizable tribe because of their traditional black-and-white attire, the ultra-Orthodox, also known as Haredi Jews, vote en masse, generally heeding the instructions of their rabbis — which means that Sephardic ultra-Orthodox back Shas and the Ashkenazi support United Torah Judaism.

Their ability to turn out the vote is the envy of other tribes: Bnei Brak, a Haredi city, reported a stunning 77 percent turnout in the April election. And it is the source of their political power, which among other things has given them exemptions from military service, financial subsidies and rabbinical control of marriage, divorce and religious conversions.

In a small country, having a party that represents the ultra-Orthodox means being able to seek help from someone in power who shares a similar worldview, said Binyamin Rose, a U.T.J. voter who is editor at large of Mishpacha Magazine. “If I need something, who am I going to go to?” he said. “If I go to Likud, they’ll take one look at me and say, ‘Why should we help you?’”

A growing number of ultra-Orthodox are stepping out of their insular, yeshiva-centered communities, serving in the army or taking jobs at technology companies, and engaging with broader society. But the current battle between secular politicians and the religious is driving many back to the fold.

“We’re closing ranks,” Mr. Rose said. “They say, ‘This is who represents me.’

Ultra-Orthodox Jews at a rally for the United Torah Judaism party. 
Ultra-Orthodox Jews rally in Jerusalem for United Torah Judaism, the main party for Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The ulta-Orthodox, or Haredim, tend to vote as blocs, generally heeding the instructions of their rabbis.

Perhaps the most interesting tribal warfare of this campaign has been for the votes of religious Zionists, about 12 percent of the Jewish population. These Sabbath-observant Israelis encompass a broad range of views, but most tilt to the right, and include the ideological foot soldiers of the settlement enterprise.

By promising last week to annex a large portion of the West Bank, Mr. Netanyahu was making a play for these voters, whose natural home is the Yamina, or rightward, party. Yamina argues that it needs a large contingent in Parliament to force Mr. Netanyahu to keep his promises.

But Yamina is also having to protect its own right flank from an even more extreme faction, Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power — an overtly anti-Arab party whose leaders call themselves disciples of Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born militant who was assassinated in 1990 and whose Kach party was outlawed in Israel and declared a terrorist group by the United States.

The leader of Otzma Yehudit, Itamar Ben Gvir, is demanding a cabinet post if the party makes it into Parliament and delivers its support to Mr. Netanyahu.

The Jewish settlement of Efrat, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. National-religious Jews tend to support West Bank settlements.
Jewish settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron at an election rally for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A farm in the Jewish settlement of Itamar, near the West Bank city of Nablus. 

The wild card in this election, Arab citizens of Israel make up about one-sixth of the eligible voting population, and they vote in large numbers in municipal elections. But only 49 percent voted in April, a record low, and turnout is not expected to rise dramatically on Tuesday.

Arabs give plenty of reasons for not participating in the Israeli political system: in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, in reaction to Zionist parties’ refusal to consider including Arab parties in a governing coalition, or out of impatience with Arab lawmakers’ focus on the Palestinians’ problems rather than their own voters’ needs. But Arab and center-left Jewish politicians are at least making an effort to woo them, by promising to address crime, housing shortages and other tangible problems in their communities.

Arab citizens of Israel at a wedding in Baqa al Gharbiye.
A mosque in Jisr al Zarqa, an Israeli Arab town on the Mediterranean coast.
Arab Israelis make up about one sixth of eligible voters. 

For a while, it seemed as if the premiership might be decided in places like Bat Yam, a seaside town heavily populated by immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Mr. Netanyahu has tried to make inroads with supporters of Avigdor Liberman, the Moldova-born leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, after Mr. Liberman refused to join Mr. Netanayhu’s coalition after the April election. Mr. Liberman’s refusal to compromise with the prime minister’s ultra-Orthodox allies prevented Mr. Netanyahu from forming a government and precipitated the new elections.

Mr. Liberman’s Russian-speaking supporters, who have backed him for more than 20 years, do not appear to be deserting him. But they are aging, and their children are fully Israeli and vote for a variety of parties, prompting Mr. Liberman to reinvent himself as a champion of secular Israelis, whatever their native tongues.

One hot-button issue, among many: the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens, including many former Soviet immigrants and their offspring, who are considered Jewish by the state but not by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate, meaning they cannot get married in Israel.

Israel Ditman, 94, a World War II veteran from Russia who emigrated to Israel in 1995, at his home in Rehovot.
Israelis of Russian origin at a cultural gathering in Tel Aviv. 
A Russian bookshop in Tel Aviv. 

Not every tribe in Israel can muster enough votes to gain representation in Parliament through its own party. The roughly 130,000 Ethiopian-Jewish Israelis have yet to wield much muscle in politics, despite the election of a handful to the Knesset since the waves of immigration in the 1980s and in 1991.

But after a string of fatal police shootings, they are working hard to assert themselves politically, with frequent protests against police brutality aimed at forcing a national reckoning with what black Israelis say is a history of racism.

Ethiopian Israelis protested police violence and discrimination in Netanya.
Ethiopian women at a sewing class in  Sderot. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Israeli Vote Hinges on a Mosaic of Competing Groups

Israeli politics can be tribal, with loyalties to ethnic groups, religious factions and ideologies as strong a factor in voting as views on particular issues. Here’s a guide in words and pictures.

By

Photographs by

Sept. 17, 2019


JERUSALEM — Tuesday’s do-over election in Israel may not, by itself, decide who will be the next prime minister. That could take weeks of arduous coalition negotiations.

But the vote will almost certainly provide fresh evidence that the United States has nothing on this country when it comes to identity politics.

The April election was the first I’d covered as a foreign correspondent in Israel, and it shocked me that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly expressed desperation in the campaign’s final days and hours. At 11:25 p.m. on the night before votes were cast, he even had his American pollster join him on camera to declare, gravely, “Right now, we’re losing the race.”

In the United States, political candidates are programmed never to let the voters see them sweat, no matter how abysmal the poll numbers. In Israel, Mr. Netanyahu has perfected the art of setting his hair on fire and dialing 911 to get his voters to put out the flames.

There’s a reason this works so well for him. Israeli politics in many ways is tribal, and when a member of your tribe sounds the alarm, your instinct is to run to their aid.

Unlike the biblical tribes of Israel, these groups do not spring so much from bloodlines, but from loyalties to ethnic groups, religious brethren or ideology, and they erupt into plain view during election seasons.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160539459_ac35fea8-8400-44b0-a984-0a5352c20b29-articleLarge Israeli Vote Hinges on a Mosaic of Competing Groups Zionism Voting and Voters Race and Ethnicity Palestinians Netanyahu, Benjamin Legislatures and Parliaments Jews and Judaism Israel elections

An Israeli settler schoolgirl in the West Bank town of Hebron.

A rooftop bar in Tel Aviv, a bastion of secular liberalism.

President Reuven Rivlin took a stab at defining Israel’s tribes in a landmark speech in 2015, noting that secular Zionist Jews, once a majority, had dwindled to a large minority, as three other groups had grown: the ultra-Orthodox, the national-religious and Arab citizens.

“Israeli politics to a great extent is built as an intertribal zero-sum game,” he warned, urging all four groups to figure out a way to work in partnership. (They haven’t.)

A new book by Camil Fuchs and Shmuel Rosner, “#IsraeliJudaism,” categorizes the Jewish population along two axes: how strictly they follow religious tradition, or how Jewish they are; and how much they embrace Israel’s nationalist symbols and rites, or how Israeli they are. A majority, they find, strongly identifies with both, but many ultra-Orthodox reject nationalism and many secular Israelis reject Jewish religious practice.

What has made Mr. Netanyahu so formidable a force over the years is his melding of nationalists and the religious into a single, right-wing political bloc.

But Rabbi Donniel Hartman, president of the influential Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, identifies no fewer than 17 tribes in present-day Israel, breaking down the ultra-Orthodox according to their attitudes toward Zionism and modernity, so-called traditional Jews according to how much they adhere to Jewish ritual, and Arabs according to religion and whether they take pride in being citizens of Israel, among other cohorts.

“That’s why coalition government is so important,” Rabbi Hartman said. “Because when you have all of this, each group sees itself as a persecuted minority.”

Israel’s Do-Over Election: Déjà Vu or a Chance for Change?

Sept. 16, 2019

Just as President Trump relies on support from white, working-class Americans, Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party draws much of its political strength from working-class Israelis, many of them Jews living in the so-called development towns on Israel’s periphery, where immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa were resettled beginning in the 1950s. These Mizrahi, or eastern, and Sephardic Jews, who account for around half the Jewish population of Israel, have long harbored resentments toward the European-descended, Ashkenazi liberal elite, who discriminated against them while governing Israel from its founding until the 1970s, when Likud first came to power.

Likud is not the only party that caters to Mizrahim: Shas, the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party, also attracts some of the many Mizrahi Jews who are “traditional” in their religious practice — a broad range of people who may not attend synagogue regularly but are perfectly at home there when they do, Rabbi Hartman said. And Labor’s Moroccan-born leader merged the party with one led by the daughter of a Moroccan-born former Likud leader, but its politics remain anathema to most Mizrahi voters.

Mizrahi, or eastern, Jews at the Tomb of Baba Sali in Netivot, Israel.
A Mizrahi child receives the ritual first haircut at the tomb of Baba Sali.
A weekend market in the largely Mizrahi city of Sderot.

To tourists who enjoy Tel Aviv’s beaches and nightclubs and never venture farther afield, Israel can seem a bastion of ultraliberalism that is difficult to reconcile with the country’s right-wing national politics.

And to Tel Aviv’s largely secular population, the election is a battle to stop Mr. Netanyahu from undermining Israeli democracy for the sake of retaining power and from allowing the ultrareligious, through their influence on government agencies, to try to brainwash their children into becoming observant Jews. Secular Israelis have been sounding the alarm to preserve an open-minded, live-and-let-live Israel before it is too late.

A major problem for secular Israelis, who are no longer the political force they once were, is that their votes are being split among too many parties. For the first time, what remains of the storied Labor Party may not clear the threshold to be seated in Parliament. The fledgling left-wing Democratic Union is in similar shape. Both have been threatened by Blue and White, the centrist party that is vying to topple Mr. Netanyahu but is vacuuming up the votes of many on the left.

To tourists who never venture past  Tel Aviv’s beaches and nightclubs, it can be difficult to reconcile the city’s liberalism with the country’s right-wing national politics. 
Israelis wait to meet political candidates at a bar in Tel Aviv.
People enjoy a sunset on the beach in Tel Aviv.

The most outwardly recognizable tribe because of their traditional black-and-white attire, the ultra-Orthodox, also known as Haredi Jews, vote en masse, generally heeding the instructions of their rabbis — which means that Sephardic ultra-Orthodox back Shas and the Ashkenazi support United Torah Judaism.

Their ability to turn out the vote is the envy of other tribes: Bnei Brak, a Haredi city, reported a stunning 77 percent turnout in the April election. And it is the source of their political power, which among other things has given them exemptions from military service, financial subsidies and rabbinical control of marriage, divorce and religious conversions.

In a small country, having a party that represents the ultra-Orthodox means being able to seek help from someone in power who shares a similar worldview, said Binyamin Rose, a U.T.J. voter who is editor at large of Mishpacha Magazine. “If I need something, who am I going to go to?” he said. “If I go to Likud, they’ll take one look at me and say, ‘Why should we help you?’”

A growing number of ultra-Orthodox are stepping out of their insular, yeshiva-centered communities, serving in the army or taking jobs at technology companies, and engaging with broader society. But the current battle between secular politicians and the religious is driving many back to the fold.

“We’re closing ranks,” Mr. Rose said. “They say, ‘This is who represents me.’

Ultra-Orthodox Jews at a rally for the United Torah Judaism party. 
Ultra-Orthodox Jews rally in Jerusalem for United Torah Judaism, the main party for Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The ulta-Orthodox, or Haredim, tend to vote as blocs, generally heeding the instructions of their rabbis.

Perhaps the most interesting tribal warfare of this campaign has been for the votes of religious Zionists, about 12 percent of the Jewish population. These Sabbath-observant Israelis encompass a broad range of views, but most tilt to the right, and include the ideological foot soldiers of the settlement enterprise.

By promising last week to annex a large portion of the West Bank, Mr. Netanyahu was making a play for these voters, whose natural home is the Yamina, or rightward, party. Yamina argues that it needs a large contingent in Parliament to force Mr. Netanyahu to keep his promises.

But Yamina is also having to protect its own right flank from an even more extreme faction, Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power — an overtly anti-Arab party whose leaders call themselves disciples of Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born militant who was assassinated in 1990 and whose Kach party was outlawed in Israel and declared a terrorist group by the United States.

The leader of Otzma Yehudit, Itamar Ben Gvir, is demanding a cabinet post if the party makes it into Parliament and delivers its support to Mr. Netanyahu.

The Jewish settlement of Efrat, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. National-religious Jews tend to support West Bank settlements.
Jewish settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron at an election rally for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A farm in the Jewish settlement of Itamar, near the West Bank city of Nablus. 

The wild card in this election, Arab citizens of Israel make up about one-sixth of the eligible voting population, and they vote in large numbers in municipal elections. But only 49 percent voted in April, a record low, and turnout is not expected to rise dramatically on Tuesday.

Arabs give plenty of reasons for not participating in the Israeli political system: in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, in reaction to Zionist parties’ refusal to consider including Arab parties in a governing coalition, or out of impatience with Arab lawmakers’ focus on the Palestinians’ problems rather than their own voters’ needs. But Arab and center-left Jewish politicians are at least making an effort to woo them, by promising to address crime, housing shortages and other tangible problems in their communities.

Arab citizens of Israel at a wedding in Baqa al Gharbiye.
A mosque in Jisr al Zarqa, an Israeli Arab town on the Mediterranean coast.
Arab Israelis make up about one sixth of eligible voters. 

For a while, it seemed as if the premiership might be decided in places like Bat Yam, a seaside town heavily populated by immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Mr. Netanyahu has tried to make inroads with supporters of Avigdor Liberman, the Moldova-born leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, after Mr. Liberman refused to join Mr. Netanayhu’s coalition after the April election. Mr. Liberman’s refusal to compromise with the prime minister’s ultra-Orthodox allies prevented Mr. Netanyahu from forming a government and precipitated the new elections.

Mr. Liberman’s Russian-speaking supporters, who have backed him for more than 20 years, do not appear to be deserting him. But they are aging, and their children are fully Israeli and vote for a variety of parties, prompting Mr. Liberman to reinvent himself as a champion of secular Israelis, whatever their native tongues.

One hot-button issue, among many: the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens, including many former Soviet immigrants and their offspring, who are considered Jewish by the state but not by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate, meaning they cannot get married in Israel.

Israel Ditman, 94, a World War II veteran from Russia who emigrated to Israel in 1995, at his home in Rehovot.
Israelis of Russian origin at a cultural gathering in Tel Aviv. 
A Russian bookshop in Tel Aviv. 

Not every tribe in Israel can muster enough votes to gain representation in Parliament through its own party. The roughly 130,000 Ethiopian-Jewish Israelis have yet to wield much muscle in politics, despite the election of a handful to the Knesset since the waves of immigration in the 1980s and in 1991.

But after a string of fatal police shootings, they are working hard to assert themselves politically, with frequent protests against police brutality aimed at forcing a national reckoning with what black Israelis say is a history of racism.

Ethiopian Israelis protested police violence and discrimination in Netanya.
Ethiopian women at a sewing class in  Sderot. 

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Andrew Yang’s Quest to ‘Make America Think Harder’

PLAISTOW, N.H. — Meet Andrew Yang supporters and they often have a confession to make: When they first heard about Mr. Yang, they thought his plan to give every American adult $1,000 a month was a little crazy. But then, they will inevitably tell you, they heard him explain it, and it all started making sense.

“He was a meme — his campaign was a joke,” said Ben Longchamp, 20, a college student from Atkinson, N.H., who first saw Mr. Yang speak in May, at a restaurant in Portsmouth. “I’ve seen 14 candidates at this point, and what I like about him is he has this one policy proposal and he has the data to back it up.”

Shannon Jeanes, 44, a construction worker from Bedford, N.H., said he was drawn to Mr. Yang because he seemed to care about ideas like a $1,000 “universal basic income” more than personal ambition. “He’s not running because he wants to be president,” Mr. Jeanes said. “He’s running because he feels he needs to be.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159072912_e6bef3b7-351e-479e-ba6c-db90adb834a9-articleLarge Andrew Yang’s Quest to ‘Make America Think Harder’ Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Voting and Voters Presidential Election of 2020 New Hampshire Debates (Political) Campaign Finance

Mr. Yang with reporters at the Iowa State Fair. His performance at next week’s debate could be crucial to sustaining his momentum.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

One of the most surprising developments of the 2020 presidential race has been the intensely loyal and passionate following for Mr. Yang, a former entrepreneur and tech executive making a bid for the Democratic nomination. Armed with numbers, history lessons and the occasional self-deprecating joke, he has been preaching a grim gospel about how automation will lead to mass unemployment and how corporate profits are warping the economy. Enough Americans have started to take him seriously that Mr. Yang has emerged as the surprise qualifier for a slimmed-down third Democratic debate, which will be held on Thursday in Houston.

Mr. Yang, 44, remains one of the least known candidates in a group that includes senators, mayors, a governor and a former vice president. He is far from the only one with policy chops. And he is, as ever, a long shot for the nomination, as evidenced by the fact that he is still polling in the low single digits.

But voters who attended his campaign events during a swing through New Hampshire last month rarely described him as a futurist fringe-candidate pitching a pie-in-the-sky plan. Instead, many said they had come to regard him as a smart, substantive and affable political outsider offering a thoughtful solution to an existential problem that other candidates have largely ignored.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 00yang-asians1-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Andrew Yang’s Quest to ‘Make America Think Harder’ Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Voting and Voters Presidential Election of 2020 New Hampshire Debates (Political) Campaign Finance

Andrew Yang, a businessman from New York, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. His focus on preventing mass unemployment caused by the automation of jobs has made him popular online, but will it be enough to propel him to the White House?CreditCreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

More broadly, Mr. Yang’s supporters said they found his almost apolitical approach refreshing. Rather than participate in daily brinkmanship over immigration and gun control or level attacks on President Trump, Mr. Yang has used his platform to gently lecture the country about the “fourth industrial revolution” — which he fears will put truck drivers, call-center workers and retail clerks out of work — and to offer universal basic income as a way to soothe the pain he says such a revolution will assuredly cause.

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Mr. Yang has attracted an ideologically eclectic coalition that includes progressives, libertarians, disaffected voters and Trump supporters who have swapped their red MAGA hats for blue ones that say MATH — “Make America Think Harder.” Those who have come into his camp say his presence on YouTube, on podcasts and in the nationally televised debates helped them begin to see the logic behind giving people free money.

His performance in Houston could be crucial to sustaining his campaign’s newfound momentum. In the days immediately after the July debates, Mr. Yang’s campaign raked in about $1 million — more than a third of what his team had raised during the entirety of the second quarter. About 90 percent of the people who gave were new donors.

Mr. Yang greeting students at the University of New Hampshire in Durham last month.CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

The campaign is now on track to raise more than $5.5 million in the third quarter of the year, according to Yang advisers — more than the total amount Mr. Yang had raised during the previous 20 months that he spent as a candidate. While his operation does not rival the size or scale of his more established rivals’ campaigns, his team has ballooned to over 50 staff members from around 10 initially, as new offices have opened in Nashua and Portsmouth, N.H., and Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa. At the New York headquarters, the campaign has leased additional office space and is building an in-house digital team.

Data compiled by RealClearPolitics shows that Mr. Yang is drawing about 2.6 percent support in national polls on average, good enough for sixth place, behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and just ahead of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

More and more, Mr. Yang and his advisers have allowed themselves to flirt openly with the idea that they have achieved something that long eluded them: mainstream recognition.

“I’ve been coming to New Hampshire every month for the last year-plus,” Mr. Yang, standing atop a soapbox, told a room packed with supporters at the christening of the Nashua office. “When I first showed up, honestly no one knew who I was. The growth from then to now — it’s staggering.”

Indeed, as recently as May, Mr. Yang strutted into a park in Lebanon, N.H., to find only a few dozen voters waiting to meet him. Back then, those who showed up conveyed more curiosity than commitment.

Three months later, the situation had changed. Mr. Yang would ask his audience questions — Which state has passed universal basic income? — and a chorus of supporters would yell back the answer on cue: “Alaska!”

Mr. Yang’s supporters said they found his almost apolitical approach refreshing.CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

At his events in New Hampshire, those fans tended to skew largely white, slightly male and very young. Many of them were in college or had just graduated; a noticeable share described themselves as liking both Mr. Yang and Mr. Trump.

Still others leaned libertarian and praised Mr. Yang for his plan to give people money and then get out of the way. Some professed to be former supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying that they saw in Mr. Yang a newer, fresher champion of progressive causes who was advancing ideas that might prove to be ahead of their time.

Mr. Yang’s big-city rallies can draw thousands and tend to attract more diverse crowds, including an unusually high share of Asian-Americans.

On the trail, Mr. Yang, like many of his rivals, likes to paint his campaign as one powered primarily by grass-roots enthusiasm and modest donations. An analysis by The New York Times bore that out, finding that about 70 percent of donations he received in the second quarter of the year came from people giving $200 or less.

A separate analysis of Mr. Yang’s approximately 133,000 total donors through June 30 showed that the average contribution to his campaign was about $27. Because approximately 20 percent of his donors gave multiple times, the average amount received from each person was about $40.

The donor data also reinforced a demographic trend apparent at Mr. Yang’s campaign events: Less than 30 percent of his donors were women, according to estimates by OpenSecrets.com and The Times.

The crowds at Mr. Yang’s New Hampshire meet-and-greets also noticeably lacked older voters. Some who did attend said they wanted to hear Mr. Yang out, even though they professed to preferring someone who had logged more experience working in Washington.

Ann Engelkemeir, 67, of Epsom, N.H., said she was leaning toward voting for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. But she and others said they found Mr. Yang personable and acknowledged that a core part of his appeal was that he was not a career politician.

“Some of the candidates, when they’re asked a question, they give the response they’ve practiced that is closest to the question,” Ms. Engelkemeir said at one event. “I do think he answers questions much more directly than I’ve heard.”

“I’ve been coming to New Hampshire every month for the last year-plus,” Mr. Yang said. “When I first showed up, honestly no one knew who I was.”  CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

During that event, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, Mr. Yang found himself in front of an audience full of voters who, like Ms. Engelkemeir, were largely unfamiliar with him.

He ticked off a comedic and at times ungenerous retelling of his back story: unhappy corporate lawyer; founder of a business that experienced a “mini rise and maximum fall”; and eventually the leader of a test-preparation company that was bought by Kaplan in 2009.

Mr. Yang told The Washington Post Magazine this year that he “became a millionaire” after he sold the company, but stipulated that “my net worth is probably much lower than speculation would lead one to believe.” In financial disclosure forms filed this summer, Mr. Yang reported assets worth as much as $2.4 million, putting him on par with many other candidates in the race.

Amid the recession, Mr. Yang moved on to develop Venture for America, a nonprofit entrepreneurship organization for college graduates that created jobs in underserved cities.

When Mr. Trump was elected president in 2016, Mr. Yang says he started digging into data to try to understand why, and he found that millions of manufacturing jobs had been wiped out in swing states because of automation. It dawned on him that his good-faith effort to create jobs was wildly insufficient. A more sweeping solution was necessary: $1,000 a month for every American.

“Universal basic income is an amazingly hard policy to demonize,” said Matt Clark, 36, a college adviser from Massachusetts who supports the idea and believes Republicans will get behind it. “It’s super simple and it directly addresses so many Americans.”

Mr. Yang’s fixation on enriching the masses, along with his history as an entrepreneur, has made his personal wealth a popular Google search. As Mr. Yang’s campaign has gained relevance, his sources of income have come under increasing scrutiny.

At Mr. Yang’s events in New Hampshire, supporters said they regarded him as a smart, substantive and affable political outsider offering a thoughtful solution to an existential problem.CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

Mr. Yang’s financial disclosure forms show that he received a total of $94,000 for 10 speeches he gave between April 2018 and February 2019; five of the paid speeches were to JPMorgan Chase at a rate of $10,000 each. They also show that Mr. Yang draws tens of thousands of dollars in income from interest and capital gains on his investments as well as rent for a home he owns in New Paltz, N.Y.

A spokesman for Mr. Yang said the candidate would release his tax returns in the coming days. He declined to disclose Mr. Yang’s net worth or comment on his paid speeches.

Although Mr. Yang has been reluctant to discuss his wealth, he has been candid about other aspects of his personal life. Some voters said they were particularly struck by the humanity they saw come through when Mr. Yang spoke about his son who has autism and his wife’s dedication as a stay-at-home mother while he has been out on the trail.

(Mr. Yang also drew attention when he recently broke down in tears at a forum on gun violence in Iowa after a mother shared that her child had been killed by a stray bullet.)

Matthew Martin, 35, a gardener from Salem, Mass., is among those who said he was touched by Mr. Yang’s empathy. Both of Mr. Martin’s parents were factory workers who lost their jobs several times, so when he first heard Mr. Yang give his pitch on a podcast, he felt drawn to his message.

Now, more than a year after Mr. Martin first learned about Mr. Yang, he was standing inside his new office in Nashua. As Mr. Yang signed MATH hats and took selfies a few steps away, Mr. Martin mused about how the campaign had grown and why he had traveled to be a part of it.

“It’s very hard at first to get people on board with Andrew Yang,” he said. “But after they listen, it can be transformative.”

Rachel Shorey and Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.

More on Andrew Yang’s Campaign

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Jill Biden, Stressing Trump Matchup, Makes a Blunt Case for Her Husband

Westlake Legal Group 19biden-facebookJumbo Jill Biden, Stressing Trump Matchup, Makes a Blunt Case for Her Husband Voting and Voters United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Jill Tracy Jacobs

Jill Biden laid out the political calculus of her husband’s presidential campaign in extraordinarily blunt terms on Monday, directly acknowledging that some voters may prefer other candidates but urging them to support Joseph R. Biden Jr. anyway, in an effort to defeat President Trump.

As Mr. Biden, the early poll leader, works — and sometimes struggles — to excite a Democratic base that has moved left since he last ran for office, Dr. Biden, campaigning in New Hampshire, called on Democrats to prioritize perceived electability over enthusiasm for individual contenders or their policies.

“You may like another candidate better, but you have to look at who is going to win,” she said, addressing a gathering of educators. “And if education is your main issue, Joe is that person.”

“Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care than Joe is, but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election,” Dr. Biden said. “And maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘O.K., I sort of personally like so-and-so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”

Her remarks were first reported by NBC News.

A Biden aide noted that Dr. Biden had also said that many people in the room were not sold on her husband — a suggestion that she was simply trying to persuade.

“I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that, but I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race,” she said, pointing to polls showing Mr. Biden with consistent leads.

Mr. Biden has indeed led both national and state polls throughout the summer, though he has seen his leads in Iowa and New Hampshire slide in some surveys, and his overall favorability rating has dipped as a presidential candidate. He will return to Iowa on Tuesday for another campaign swing.

His campaign is slated to start airing its first television ad on Tuesday, part of what his team said was a “high six-figure” ad buy aimed at several Iowa media markets over the next few weeks. The one-minute spot, called “Bones,” hits some of the same electability themes that Dr. Biden had raised.

“We know in our bones this election is different,” the ad says. “The stakes are higher. The threat more serious. We have to beat Donald Trump, and all the polls agree, Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job.”

Many political strategists caution that it is far too early for general election matchup polling to be predictive of the outcome in November 2020. Still, Mr. Biden’s allies have pointed to several surveys that do show him ahead of his rivals in matchups against Mr. Trump nationally or in key states including Ohio.

He and his allies often argue that of all of the Democratic candidates running, his more centrist approach, potential appeal to independents and longstanding ties to labor would help him win back states Mr. Trump won in the industrial Midwest.

Dr. Biden’s unvarnished emphasis on pragmatism reflected that bet, even as many other candidates believe that the way to defeat Mr. Trump is by energizing young voters, particularly younger voters of color, through boldly progressive policy proposals.

“Electability is not only the most important issue, it’s virtually the only issue,” Dick Harpootlian, a South Carolina state senator and longtime friend of Mr. Biden’s, said about Dr. Biden’s remarks.

Asked whether he perceived the comments as an acknowledgment of enthusiasm challenges for Mr. Biden, Mr. Harpootlian replied: “This is not an admission of anything. It’s an admission that he is the strongest person to beat Donald Trump. That’s all it is.”

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Many Democrats Love Elizabeth Warren. They Also Worry About Her.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Senator Elizabeth Warren has built the most formidable campaign organization of any Democratic presidential candidate in the first nominating states, raised an impressive $25 million without holding high-dollar fund-raisers, and has risen steadily in Iowa and New Hampshire polls.

Few candidates inspire as much enthusiasm as she does among party voters, too, from the thousands who turned out for her speech at the Iowa State Fair last weekend to the supporters in this western Iowa city who repeat her catchphrases, wear her buttons and describe themselves as dazzled by her intellect and liberal ideas.

Yet few candidates also inspire as much worry among these voters as Ms. Warren does.

Even as she demonstrates why she is a leading candidate for the party’s nomination, Ms. Warren is facing persistent questions and doubts about whether she would be able to defeat President Trump in the general election. The concerns, including from her admirers, reflect the head-versus-heart debate shaping a Democratic contest increasingly being fought over the meaning of electability and how to take on Mr. Trump

Interviews with more than three dozen Democratic voters and activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina this summer, at events for Ms. Warren as well as other 2020 hopefuls, yield a similar array of concerns about her candidacy.

These Democrats worry that her uncompromising liberalism would alienate moderates in battleground states who are otherwise willing to oppose the president. Many fear Ms. Warren’s past claims of Native American ancestry would allow Mr. Trump to drown out her policy message with his attacks and slurs against her. They cite her professorial style and Harvard background to argue that she might struggle to connect with voters from more modest circumstances than hers, even though she grew up in a financially strained home in Oklahoma.

And there are Democrats who, chastened by Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016, believe that a woman cannot win in 2020.

“I think she’s terrific but my questions about her are, can she get elected with the negativity, with all the stuff that’s thrown at her?” asked Rick Morris, a New Hampshire carpenter who attended a house party for Ms. Warren there last month. “Usually in the primary I vote for whoever I like the most, but this one I will put in electability.”

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The concerns about Ms. Warren partly reflect ingrained assumptions that women or candidates of color would have a harder time winning the presidency than white men. This view has been repeatedly expressed on the campaign trail by some Democrats who believe Mr. Trump’s unlikely victory, after two terms of the nation’s first black president, amounted to a warning sign about the American electorate’s openness to change.

Many moderate Democrats see the field’s current front-runner, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the 76-year-old former vice president, as a safer option than Ms. Warren and other candidates. But Mr. Biden’s lead in the polls is partly based on strong name recognition, and his recent gaffes and middling debate performances have raised questions about whether he has the agility to defeat Mr. Trump.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159132102_5c8b86d3-9523-474b-a0e9-ae4091256579-articleLarge Many Democrats Love Elizabeth Warren. They Also Worry About Her. Warren, Elizabeth Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Ms. Warren’s remarks at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday drew thousands of people, many of whom mobbed her for selfies and autographs afterward.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Many voters interviewed are now wrestling with whether to elevate a candidate who captures their imaginations, and progressive ambitions, or to rally more cautiously behind a Democrat who they perceive as having a better chance of building a broad coalition of Democrats, independents and disaffected Republicans to fulfill their most urgent goal: ejecting Mr. Trump from the White House.

The Massachusetts senator’s top campaign aides are acutely aware of their challenge on questions about Ms. Warren’s viability. They are taking a series of steps to allay the concerns, perhaps most notably arming her in the last debate with the talking point that conventional wisdom also suggested that both Mr. Trump and former President Barack Obama were risky nominees because they broke from the traditional commander-in-chief mold. After the debate, Warren aides blasted clips of that remark from her social media accounts.

But even after Ms. Warren turned in two well-received debate performances, a Quinnipiac survey showed she had not made gains on the question of who has the best chance to beat Mr. Trump: Just nine percent said she did, while 49 percent pointed to Mr. Biden.

In an interview before a town hall meeting in western Iowa last week, Ms. Warren, acknowledging the questions about her candidacy, said there was only one overarching way to quiet the skeptics.

“Nothing will overcome people’s worries more than success,” she said.

But Ms. Warren also demonstrated that she was still uncertain about how to address Mr. Trump’s taunts about the Native American heritage she once claimed. Her attempt to prove that ancestry with a DNA test last year drew fierce criticism from the right and left as well as some Native American groups; she stood by the DNA test for months, then apologized for it and the claims.

Having been told by advisers to generally avoid engaging on the issue, Ms. Warren struggled in the interview to articulate an answer about whether she would respond to Mr. Trump head-on when he uses his frequent slur for her, “Pocahontas,” or pivot to a more policy-centered rebuttal.

“My job is not to be drawn off into that,” she said.

And she had little to say about why, after pledging to a Native American group last year that she would always highlight their issues when her heritage is raised, she has quietly backed away from the commitment by typically remaining silent when Mr. Trump makes his attacks.

“I still, I am working on being a good partner,” Ms. Warren said, haltingly. “And the best way to be a good partner is to walk the walk.”

She was more sure-footed on an issue that has prompted alarm among elected Democratic officials and operatives: her refusal to hold fund-raisers or seek four-figure checks from the party’s wealthy donors.

While she has made this commitment central to her primary campaign, implicitly scorning her rivals who are raising money in the traditional fashion, Ms. Warren said she would not shun big money if she becomes her party’s nominee.

Even as Ms. Warren demonstrates why she is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, she is facing persistent questions, even from admirers, about whether she would be able to defeat President Trump in the general election.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“I don’t believe in unilateral disarmament,” she said, making clear that her policy only applies in the primary and not in the general election, when Mr. Trump is expected to lean on a range of well-heeled individuals and interests.

But as Ms. Warren increasingly becomes a top contender for the nomination, Democrats are thinking harder about what that would mean for their prospects.

In Iowa, a former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Sue Dvorsky, endorsed Senator Kamala Harris last weekend after confiding to friends that she felt Ms. Warren’s liberalism would be a liability in a general election, according to a Democratic official who spoke to Ms. Dvorsky.

It’s a sentiment that many voters expressed at Warren events.

Some of these Democrats prefer Mr. Biden, viewing him as an acceptable option to a cross-section of voters, but others are eager to find a middle ground between the consensus-oriented former vice president and progressive firebrands like Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.

“If it were completely up to me, I’d vote for her,” said Jessie Sagona, who also came to see Ms. Warren last month in New Hampshire. “But I kind of feel like, do we need somebody in the middle like Kamala or Pete,” referring to Ms. Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Ms. Sagona said she had not fully made up her mind but was weighing the importance of “thinking strategically.”

Jan Phelps, who came to see Senator Cory Booker at a house party of his own in New Hampshire last month, articulated a similar calculation.

“I love her enthusiasm. She’s smart, she’s very smart. I think she would make an amazing president,” said Ms. Phelps, before quickly adding: “I’m worried about whether she can win. I worry that she’s being pulled even further to the left and that concerns me. Because we need to win, we just need to win.”

[Keep up with the 2020 field with our candidate tracker.]

Ms. Warren is moving aggressively to address such concerns. Her aides are distributing “Win With Warren” signs at events to implicitly address the electability question. Her campaign also used a town hall meeting she held in Oakland to interview attendees, in the fashion of an on-the-scene local TV news reporter, about whether they thought she could win. (The verdict in the video: a resounding yes.)

And in addition to her debate remark on skepticism about Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama’s candidacies — which reflects a theory of her top adviser, Dan Geldon, that most modern presidents were seen as vulnerable nominees — Ms. Warren is also making comparisons between this race and her 2012 defeat of then-Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

“People told me you can’t win,” she recalled to attendees at her town hall in Council Bluffs. “And you can’t win because Massachusetts is not going to elect a woman to the Senate or the governor’s office.”

Ms. Warren has risen steadily in Iowa and New Hampshire polls.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Yet a few minutes before the Warren event here got underway, one of her admirers made this very point about Ms. Warren’s White House hopes. Gail Houghton, a retiree, said flatly that she did not think Ms. Warren could win the presidency because of her gender.

“They’re just not ready yet,” Ms. Houghton said of the American electorate, adding that Mr. Trump’s divisive conduct has normalized prejudices. “It’s getting worse because we’re getting permission to behave this way from the top.”

But, Ms. Houghton was quick to add, she believed Ms. Warren would “make a wonderful vice president.”

Democratic activists in other states say much the same. Approaching a reporter in June at Representative James Clyburn’s annual fish fry in South Carolina, Ed Nelson waxed nostalgic about the Obama years before proffering his preferred pairing.

“I hope it’s a Biden-Warren ticket,” Mr. Nelson said. “That’s what I want, that’s what I want.”

Ms. Warren’s supporters bridle at what they believe is the condescending nature of projecting her as a running mate, as do supporters of Ms. Harris, who is also often mentioned as a possible No. 2.

Several Democrats voluntarily mentioned both women as candidates they are eyeing in the primaries — and assessed them through the prism of electability. Some said they viewed Ms. Harris as a stronger choice, for reasons that they explain by pointing to 2016.

“I think one thing that happened with Hillary last time, people were like ‘ehhhh,’ they didn’t like the personality,” said Jackie Williams who attended an event for Ms. Harris last month near New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. Ms. Williams said Ms. Harris had the edge with her, pointing to her easy “interaction with the crowd.”

At a Democratic picnic outside Des Moines a few weeks earlier, Marnie Lloyd said of Ms. Harris, “I don’t think we’ll hear the ‘she’s not likable’ we heard with Hillary.” Ms. Lloyd said she was less confident about Ms. Warren avoiding such a critique.

Judging personality and likability is subjective, of course, and those characteristics tend to be part of a double standard faced by female candidates. Many Democrats like Ms. Warren — some wait for an hour to take pictures with her — and she continues to gain supporters. But even among some of her enthusiasts, the questions about her vulnerabilities linger.

In Council Bluffs, waiting to see Ms. Warren take the stage, Herb Christensen was succinct about why he liked her — and why he worried about her as the nominee.

“My god, she’s smart,” he said. “Pocahontas, that’s the only thing.”

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Many Democrats Love Elizabeth Warren. They Also Worry About Her.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Senator Elizabeth Warren has built the most formidable campaign organization of any Democratic presidential candidate in the first nominating states, raised an impressive $25 million without holding high-dollar fund-raisers, and has risen steadily in Iowa and New Hampshire polls.

Few candidates inspire as much enthusiasm as she does among party voters, too, from the thousands who turned out for her speech at the Iowa State Fair last weekend to the supporters in this western Iowa city who repeat her catchphrases, wear her buttons and describe themselves as dazzled by her intellect and liberal ideas.

Yet few candidates also inspire as much worry among these voters as Ms. Warren does.

Even as she demonstrates why she is a leading candidate for the party’s nomination, Ms. Warren is facing persistent questions and doubts about whether she would be able to defeat President Trump in the general election. The concerns, including from her admirers, reflect the head-versus-heart debate shaping a Democratic contest increasingly being fought over the meaning of electability and how to take on Mr. Trump

Interviews with more than three dozen Democratic voters and activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina this summer, at events for Ms. Warren as well as other 2020 hopefuls, yield a similar array of concerns about her candidacy.

These Democrats worry that her uncompromising liberalism would alienate moderates in battleground states who are otherwise willing to oppose the president. Many fear Ms. Warren’s past claims of Native American ancestry would allow Mr. Trump to drown out her policy message with his attacks and slurs against her. They cite her professorial style and Harvard background to argue that she might struggle to connect with voters from more modest circumstances than hers, even though she grew up in a financially strained home in Oklahoma.

And there are Democrats who, chastened by Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016, believe that a woman cannot win in 2020.

“I think she’s terrific but my questions about her are, can she get elected with the negativity, with all the stuff that’s thrown at her?” asked Rick Morris, a New Hampshire carpenter who attended a house party for Ms. Warren there last month. “Usually in the primary I vote for whoever I like the most, but this one I will put in electability.”

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

The concerns about Ms. Warren partly reflect ingrained assumptions that women or candidates of color would have a harder time winning the presidency than white men. This view has been repeatedly expressed on the campaign trail by some Democrats who believe Mr. Trump’s unlikely victory, after two terms of the nation’s first black president, amounted to a warning sign about the American electorate’s openness to change.

Many moderate Democrats see the field’s current front-runner, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the 76-year-old former vice president, as a safer option than Ms. Warren and other candidates. But Mr. Biden’s lead in the polls is partly based on strong name recognition, and his recent gaffes and middling debate performances have raised questions about whether he has the agility to defeat Mr. Trump.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159132102_5c8b86d3-9523-474b-a0e9-ae4091256579-articleLarge Many Democrats Love Elizabeth Warren. They Also Worry About Her. Warren, Elizabeth Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Ms. Warren’s remarks at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday drew thousands of people, many of whom mobbed her for selfies and autographs afterward.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Many voters interviewed are now wrestling with whether to elevate a candidate who captures their imaginations, and progressive ambitions, or to rally more cautiously behind a Democrat who they perceive as having a better chance of building a broad coalition of Democrats, independents and disaffected Republicans to fulfill their most urgent goal: ejecting Mr. Trump from the White House.

The Massachusetts senator’s top campaign aides are acutely aware of their challenge on questions about Ms. Warren’s viability. They are taking a series of steps to allay the concerns, perhaps most notably arming her in the last debate with the talking point that conventional wisdom also suggested that both Mr. Trump and former President Barack Obama were risky nominees because they broke from the traditional commander-in-chief mold. After the debate, Warren aides blasted clips of that remark from her social media accounts.

But even after Ms. Warren turned in two well-received debate performances, a Quinnipiac survey showed she had not made gains on the question of who has the best chance to beat Mr. Trump: Just nine percent said she did, while 49 percent pointed to Mr. Biden.

In an interview before a town hall meeting in western Iowa last week, Ms. Warren, acknowledging the questions about her candidacy, said there was only one overarching way to quiet the skeptics.

“Nothing will overcome people’s worries more than success,” she said.

But Ms. Warren also demonstrated that she was still uncertain about how to address Mr. Trump’s taunts about the Native American heritage she once claimed. Her attempt to prove that ancestry with a DNA test last year drew fierce criticism from the right and left as well as some Native American groups; she stood by the DNA test for months, then apologized for it and the claims.

Having been told by advisers to generally avoid engaging on the issue, Ms. Warren struggled in the interview to articulate an answer about whether she would respond to Mr. Trump head-on when he uses his frequent slur for her, “Pocahontas,” or pivot to a more policy-centered rebuttal.

“My job is not to be drawn off into that,” she said.

And she had little to say about why, after pledging to a Native American group last year that she would always highlight their issues when her heritage is raised, she has quietly backed away from the commitment by typically remaining silent when Mr. Trump makes his attacks.

“I still, I am working on being a good partner,” Ms. Warren said, haltingly. “And the best way to be a good partner is to walk the walk.”

She was more sure-footed on an issue that has prompted alarm among elected Democratic officials and operatives: her refusal to hold fund-raisers or seek four-figure checks from the party’s wealthy donors.

While she has made this commitment central to her primary campaign, implicitly scorning her rivals who are raising money in the traditional fashion, Ms. Warren said she would not shun big money if she becomes her party’s nominee.

Even as Ms. Warren demonstrates why she is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, she is facing persistent questions, even from admirers, about whether she would be able to defeat President Trump in the general election.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“I don’t believe in unilateral disarmament,” she said, making clear that her policy only applies in the primary and not in the general election, when Mr. Trump is expected to lean on a range of well-heeled individuals and interests.

But as Ms. Warren increasingly becomes a top contender for the nomination, Democrats are thinking harder about what that would mean for their prospects.

In Iowa, a former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Sue Dvorsky, endorsed Senator Kamala Harris last weekend after confiding to friends that she felt Ms. Warren’s liberalism would be a liability in a general election, according to a Democratic official who spoke to Ms. Dvorsky.

It’s a sentiment that many voters expressed at Warren events.

Some of these Democrats prefer Mr. Biden, viewing him as an acceptable option to a cross-section of voters, but others are eager to find a middle ground between the consensus-oriented former vice president and progressive firebrands like Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.

“If it were completely up to me, I’d vote for her,” said Jessie Sagona, who also came to see Ms. Warren last month in New Hampshire. “But I kind of feel like, do we need somebody in the middle like Kamala or Pete,” referring to Ms. Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Ms. Sagona said she had not fully made up her mind but was weighing the importance of “thinking strategically.”

Jan Phelps, who came to see Senator Cory Booker at a house party of his own in New Hampshire last month, articulated a similar calculation.

“I love her enthusiasm. She’s smart, she’s very smart. I think she would make an amazing president,” said Ms. Phelps, before quickly adding: “I’m worried about whether she can win. I worry that she’s being pulled even further to the left and that concerns me. Because we need to win, we just need to win.”

[Keep up with the 2020 field with our candidate tracker.]

Ms. Warren is moving aggressively to address such concerns. Her aides are distributing “Win With Warren” signs at events to implicitly address the electability question. Her campaign also used a town hall meeting she held in Oakland to interview attendees, in the fashion of an on-the-scene local TV news reporter, about whether they thought she could win. (The verdict in the video: a resounding yes.)

And in addition to her debate remark on skepticism about Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama’s candidacies — which reflects a theory of her top adviser, Dan Geldon, that most modern presidents were seen as vulnerable nominees — Ms. Warren is also making comparisons between this race and her 2012 defeat of then-Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

“People told me you can’t win,” she recalled to attendees at her town hall in Council Bluffs. “And you can’t win because Massachusetts is not going to elect a woman to the Senate or the governor’s office.”

Ms. Warren has risen steadily in Iowa and New Hampshire polls.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Yet a few minutes before the Warren event here got underway, one of her admirers made this very point about Ms. Warren’s White House hopes. Gail Houghton, a retiree, said flatly that she did not think Ms. Warren could win the presidency because of her gender.

“They’re just not ready yet,” Ms. Houghton said of the American electorate, adding that Mr. Trump’s divisive conduct has normalized prejudices. “It’s getting worse because we’re getting permission to behave this way from the top.”

But, Ms. Houghton was quick to add, she believed Ms. Warren would “make a wonderful vice president.”

Democratic activists in other states say much the same. Approaching a reporter in June at Representative James Clyburn’s annual fish fry in South Carolina, Ed Nelson waxed nostalgic about the Obama years before proffering his preferred pairing.

“I hope it’s a Biden-Warren ticket,” Mr. Nelson said. “That’s what I want, that’s what I want.”

Ms. Warren’s supporters bridle at what they believe is the condescending nature of projecting her as a running mate, as do supporters of Ms. Harris, who is also often mentioned as a possible No. 2.

Several Democrats voluntarily mentioned both women as candidates they are eyeing in the primaries — and assessed them through the prism of electability. Some said they viewed Ms. Harris as a stronger choice, for reasons that they explain by pointing to 2016.

“I think one thing that happened with Hillary last time, people were like ‘ehhhh,’ they didn’t like the personality,” said Jackie Williams who attended an event for Ms. Harris last month near New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. Ms. Williams said Ms. Harris had the edge with her, pointing to her easy “interaction with the crowd.”

At a Democratic picnic outside Des Moines a few weeks earlier, Marnie Lloyd said of Ms. Harris, “I don’t think we’ll hear the ‘she’s not likable’ we heard with Hillary.” Ms. Lloyd said she was less confident about Ms. Warren avoiding such a critique.

Judging personality and likability is subjective, of course, and those characteristics tend to be part of a double standard faced by female candidates. Many Democrats like Ms. Warren — some wait for an hour to take pictures with her — and she continues to gain supporters. But even among some of her enthusiasts, the questions about her vulnerabilities linger.

In Council Bluffs, waiting to see Ms. Warren take the stage, Herb Christensen was succinct about why he liked her — and why he worried about her as the nominee.

“My god, she’s smart,” he said. “Pocahontas, that’s the only thing.”

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On Guns, Public Opinion and Public Policy Often Diverge

Westlake Legal Group 10up-guns1-facebookJumbo On Guns, Public Opinion and Public Policy Often Diverge Voting and Voters United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Polls and Public Opinion mass shootings gun control firearms El Paso, Tex, Shooting (2019)

Polls show that public support for tighter guns laws is rising.

Alone, that doesn’t mean Congress is going to expand gun control anytime soon.

Public opinion and public policy on guns have seemed to be at odds for decades. Measures like universal background checks often attract the support of more than 90 percent of the American public, but overwhelming support has not translated into overwhelming victories for gun control measures when they’ve been put to public votes.

And in general, Republicans, many in safe rural districts or states, are relatively insulated from national political opinion on gun control, and on other issues that tend to break along urban-rural lines.

But in the aftermath of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump has expressed support for gun control measures that he previously rejected. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has signaled openness to a vote on gun legislation, including possibly a background check bill.

Advocates for restrictive gun laws have seized on strong public support as an explanation for this change of heart.

The mass shootings are probably a factor in the shift in the polls. Polling from Civiqs, an online public opinion firm, shows that support for new gun control laws tends to increase immediately after a high-profile shooting. The shift tends to subside in the weeks that follow, but generally leaves support for gun control laws higher than where it started.

More traditional polls have also shown increasing support for gun restrictions. Surveys from Gallup, Pew, Quinnipiac, ABC and NBC all show a modest recent rise in the share of Americans who say they believe controlling gun violence is more important than protecting gun rights or who say they favor more strict gun laws.

These more broadly worded polling questions show a public that is much more closely divided than on questions about specific policies, such as expanding background checks or limiting gun sales to people suspected of being terrorists. Pollsters say the broader questions tend to be better predictors of true public sentiment.

The president himself could be another factor. Historically, public opinion on guns — and other issues — tends to shift against the preferences of the party in power. Public support for gun control laws slipped when Barack Obama became president and has tended to increase since his exit from office.

But even in the Trump years, public support for new gun laws has generally remained beneath the levels of the George W. Bush years or the 1990s, when Congress passed an assault weapons ban. Polls over the coming weeks may show support for new gun laws reaching even higher levels, as they did after the high school shootings last year in Parkland, Fla.; for now, public opinion looks more the way it did during the Obama years, when gun legislation stalled.

Mr. Trump’s support for gun laws, should it endure, may be a larger factor than the small shifts in public support.

Polls repeatedly show overwhelming support for background checks on gun purchases. They are favored by Democrats and Republicans, and among Americans who own guns and those who don’t. But ballot measures proposing expanded background checks did not result in resounding victories in 2016 in two states that tend to vote Democratic, Maine and Nevada. The measure passed by less than a point in Nevada and failed in Maine, even among the voters who chose Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump on the same ballot. A “no” against background checks received more votes than Donald J. Trump did in both states.

The wide gap between national polls and the results of state ballot measures illustrates the challenge of measuring public opinion on specific issues. And the ability of gun activists to whittle down support for gun control in a heated political debate raises doubts about whether the polls reflect strongly held public demands for action, as activists suggest, or weakly held views that Republicans and their allies could change.

Democrats have faced the danger that gun owners were likelier to cast ballots based on the issue than the potentially larger group of Americans who support gun control but perhaps not as passionately. It has been a costly trade for Democrats in the relatively white rural areas where the party has traditionally counted on the support of working-class gun owners.

As recently as last year’s midterm elections, many Democratic candidates who tried — and often succeeded — to win white working-class Democratic areas, like Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, played down the need for an assault weapons ban after Parkland. These Democratic concerns are far more pronounced than they were a decade ago.

House Democrats all but unanimously supported background checks earlier this year. And the 2018 midterms swept away many of the few remaining House Republicans who represent the metropolitan areas where opposition to gun control would most clearly work to the advantage of Democrats.

There are factors beyond the top line of public opinion polls that could give gun control advocates hope that this time might be different.

The most recent attacks pose new political risks to Republicans. The president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has been decried as a contributing factor to the violence, which may give Republicans new reason to take action. And gun control activists argue that some of the most recent shootings could have been prevented by so-called red flag laws, which allow courts to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are found to be at risk of committing violence.

Mr. McConnell has signaled support for a vote on a federal red flag law, and several Republican senators have said they would vote for one.

The sheer number of mass shootings may have also changed some voters’ views on the issue, according to research by GQR, a Democratic polling firm. It found that more than a quarter of voters had shifted their views about guns in recent years, many citing the recent violence.

Anna Greenberg, a managing partner there, said she had also seen a shift in recent focus groups she had conducted. The type of gun owner who had traditionally been skeptical of gun laws because they might not be effective has been more open to policies with the potential for modest effects. “N.R.A. and gun-owning folks will talk about: ‘We have to do something. This isn’t O.K.,’” she said. “And that’s a real shift.”

The longtime assumption that pro-gun voters are more politically active, and likelier to vote on the issue, than anti-gun voters may not be quite as true as it used to be.

In the midterm elections, 8 percent of voters said that “gun policy” was the most important issue, and they voted for Democrats, 81 percent to 17 percent, according to the AP/Votecast survey.

Pro-gun groups were outspent in the midterms, a potential marker in the decline of the groups’ influence. The N.R.A.’s role in blocking gun legislation is often overstated, but it is a factor, and both its public support and financial stability have been declining.

As with many issues, attitudes about guns have become more polarized in recent years. In 2000, a Pew Research Center study found that 40 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats said that gun rights were more important than controlling gun ownership. In 2018, the Republican number had risen to 76 percent, while the number among Democrats stayed steady.

“It’s become much more partisan,” said Carroll Doherty, Pew’s director of political research. “It’s not an isolated case, but it’s one of the most stark examples.”

The partisan nature of the issue could make Mr. Trump’s support more pivotal. If he supports legislation, it could make it easier for Republican lawmakers to support new controls on guns.

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Why a Race-Baiting Trump Is Courting Black Voters

DETROIT — Mark Greer is a black Detroiter so outraged by President Trump’s regular stream of invective toward people of color that he does his best to avoid exposure to him.

So when he clicked on a YouTube link last month to watch an episode of “The Breakfast Club,” a morning radio show popular with African-Americans, he was angered by an ad that greeted him: a message from Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.

“It just infuriated me because I felt like they were being slick, trying to slip it in there,” said Mr. Greer, 28, who works for a philanthropic organization. “I know better, but other people who are watching this might go, ‘Hmmm.’”

President Trump’s entire approach to people of color — his attacks on political leaders, his campaign’s social media strategy targeting the black electorate, his ability to fuel black opposition but also demoralize some black voters — is one of the most extraordinary political dynamics of the Trump era. No modern president has ever vilified black Americans or sought to divide people along racial lines like Mr. Trump, while also claiming to be a champion of their economic interests.

The online ad that Mr. Greer saw illustrates the audacious nature of Mr. Trump’s strategy. Even as the president sows racial disharmony, telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back,” and saying “no human being” would want to live in the “rat and rodent infested” city of Baltimore, his re-election campaign is spending money on social media to put Mr. Trump before the eyes of black voters.

The objectives are twofold: First, to try to win over a handful of black voters. The campaign intends to highlight low rates of African-American unemployment and the criminal justice overhaul the president signed, a measure that is already a subject of his campaign’s Facebook advertising.

But the more clandestine hope, and one privately acknowledged by Trump allies, is that the president can make black voters think twice about turning out for Democrats or expending energy on trying to change a system some African-Americans believe is unalterably stacked against them.

For many voters of color in this crucial swing state, Mr. Trump’s racial invective is deeply hurtful on a personal level, but something they have come to expect from a president who has consistently denigrated them.

“I think he can win again,” said Malak Aldasouqi, a 21-year-old Detroit Public Schools intern, who is Muslim and said she often feels disheartened by the president’s attacks on people of color. “It’s a little bit of a no-faith situation because there’s been a lot of times where I’ve felt betrayed by the American people.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158684874_03116aae-c480-4943-b02e-2d5bd1ea3e03-articleLarge Why a Race-Baiting Trump Is Courting Black Voters Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Political Advertising Midterm Elections (2018) Facebook Inc Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Booker, Cory A Blacks

Malak Aldasouqi of East Lansing, Mich.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

[Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping American politics with our newsletter.]

Still, Democrats also sense that the president’s race-baiting presents a unique opportunity. After a disastrous dip in black turnout in 2016 in battleground states like Michigan, Democrats are now working to harness the disdain for Mr. Trump to motivate a group that may prove to be most pivotal in the 2020 election: the low-propensity voters of color who decide late whether or not to cast ballots in the election.

Turnout figures show many stayed home in 2016, an election that marked the first decline in black participation rates in two decades. Increasing black turnout by just a few percentage points in urban areas of states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could thwart Mr. Trump’s re-election.

And there are already signs that Mr. Trump’s conduct, which has been reminiscent of a 2016 campaign filled with racist tropes, is likely to ensure that outcome.

Longtime black Democratic leaders say the only time they can recall black voters being so engaged in presidential politics was when they had the chance to elect, and then to re-elect, Barack Obama.

“My dental hygienist talked with me about the election for 40 minutes the other day,” Shirley Franklin, a former Atlanta mayor, recalled with wonder, adding: “Some have preferences but a lot don’t. They just say, ‘I want to vote for whoever is going to beat Trump.’ That’s the predominant feeling.”

Early polling also points to a highly engaged black electorate.

A June poll from CNN found that 74 percent of Democratic voters were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year, a higher figure than even in the years before Mr. Obama’s two elections. The figure was the same for white and nonwhite Democrats.

Theodore R. Johnson, a scholar at the Brennan Center who has written extensively on black voters, said he was skeptical that African-American turnout would reach Obama-era levels, but noted that “if it just goes up from ’16, Trump is in trouble.” A record 66.6 percent of eligible black voters cast ballots in 2012, but that number fell to 59.6 percent four years later.

Mr. Johnson said the evidence from the Trump era indicates that African-Americans are highly motivated. He pointed to their turnout in the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama and in last year’s midterm elections, in which the black vote jumped 11 percentage points above 2014 levels, the year of the previous midterm.

“He’s very, very disrespectful,” said Teresa Singleton, 55, a Detroit firefighter. “It’s very disrespectful. And I’m just shocked that the No. 1 man in the United States goes through these Twitter attack rages like that. It encourages me to get out and help advocate for someone different in the next election. I feel like it’s my responsibility.”

Teresa Singleton, a Detroit firefighter.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

The Trump campaign said it was eager to deliver its message to black voters.

“President Trump has an excellent record benefitting black Americans, which we will enthusiastically communicate,” said Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman. “Black unemployment has hit an all-time low, paychecks are rising, and the President is providing second chances to people through criminal justice reform.”

The campaign is spending far more on digital advertising to try to influence voters than his Democratic challengers. Since the beginning of 2019, Mr. Trump has spent $14.1 million on Facebook and Google campaigns, according to Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital firm. The highest-spending 2020 Democratic candidate is Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has spent $3.2 million.

[Read about how President Trump has often used race for his own personal gain]

Some of that messaging is aimed at black voters using ZIP codes, though no public data tracks the precise amount. The Trump campaign has posted multiple ads on Facebook highlighting the criminal justice legislation, including spots that feature video of the president flashing a thumbs-up in the White House alongside African-Americans after signing the measure.

“Americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption,” reads the message on the screen at the end of one of the ads.

Mr. Trump doesn’t have to convert black voters with that message; just inhibiting enough of them from participating on Election Day would be a victory for his purposes. And leading black officials are already voicing concern that, in addition to Mr. Trump’s own advertising, the combination of strict voter identification laws and even more aggressive foreign interference on social media could suppress black turnout.

The risks for the president are that suburban voters who fled the Republican Party in the midterm elections will come out in force for the 2020 Democratic nominee, and that black and Hispanic voters in cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Phoenix will turn out in far larger numbers than they did in 2016.

Still, Democrats say Mr. Trump’s message is a difficult one to counteract. Opinions about the president and his racially divisive attacks are already baked into the views of many people of color.

Quentin James, who leads a group dedicated to electing black Democrats, said it is precisely because so many African-Americans are inured to Mr. Trump that the party must devote substantial money to energizing one of their most irregular, but vital, constituencies: younger black men.

Democrats say research indicates it is not helpful to invoke Mr. Trump directly to fuel such motivational efforts.

The president’s standing in polls of black voters has not changed since his 2017 defense of neo-Nazis marching on Charlottesville, Va., according to Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a super PAC focused on motivating black voters.

“I do think that using Trump imagery is triggering for black people,” Ms. Shropshire said. “We don’t use it in our advertising.”

Democratic presidential candidates have not settled on how to deal with the man they all hope to replace. While five of the party’s 20 candidates called Mr. Trump a racist during this week’s debates in Detroit, the party’s private polling shows that affixing that label to him is not the most effective way to peel support away from the president.

A poll conducted in June for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a political arm of the progressive think tank, offered voters six derogatory descriptions of Mr. Trump: ineffective, false promises, for the rich, divisive, corrupt and racist. Among voters surveyed, the ineffective label moved the most voters toward a generic Democratic candidate; the racist label moved the fewest.

Among black voters, the poll found that calling Mr. Trump a racist did not move support to Democrats. Calling him ineffective did.

“This isn’t about just speaking to the obvious, that our president is a racist, it has to be about how are you connected to the struggle of our communities,” Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of the five candidates who called Mr. Trump racist during the debates, said in an interview on Friday. “I’ve heard that line from candidates before, but not followed by the kind of from-the-heart talk that I think is really important if there is going to be trust that the next leader really feels us, understands communities of color.”

But Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes of Wisconsin, a state that saw one of the largest drops in African-American turnout between 2012 and 2016, warned his party that the eventual standard-bearer must speak unambiguously about the president’s conduct if he or she wants to energize black voters.

“We still have to have a candidate who won’t be afraid to stand up to him and call him out,” said Mr. Barnes, who is black. He added that the presence of an African-American candidate on the ticket “certainly would be helpful.”

[The latest data and analysis to keep track of who’s leading the race to be the Democratic nominee.]

In Detroit, black voters and officials articulated a desire for Democratic candidates to move beyond the president’s race-baiting and discuss issues pertinent to people’s daily lives.

Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a Michigan state representative, said of Mr. Trump: “If we start kind of ignoring a lot of the ignorance that he shows, he won’t have as much of a fan base, a following, a platform.”CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

“It’s time for us to kind of pull the plug and shift our message and shift our conversation,” Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a Michigan state representative, said on Tuesday at a gathering she hosted to watch the first night of the debates. “If we start kind of ignoring a lot of the ignorance that he shows, he won’t have as much of a fan base, a following, a platform.”

Still, Charles Ellington, a 55-year-old marketing representative who came to see Mr. Booker at a rally on Thursday, said he would keep his focus on the president. He acknowledged that Mr. Trump is “irritating” — and has been “ever since he was sworn in” — but said that’s all the more reason to show up next year.

“Man, you gotta get out and vote!” said Mr. Ellington. “We can’t sit this one out.”

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Trump Fuels Racial Disharmony, but Courts Black Voters on Facebook

DETROIT — Mark Greer is a black Detroiter so outraged by President Trump’s regular stream of invective toward people of color that he does his best to avoid exposure to him.

So when he clicked on a YouTube link last month to watch an episode of “The Breakfast Club,” a morning radio show popular with African-Americans, he was angered by an ad that greeted him: a message from Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.

“It just infuriated me because I felt like they were being slick, trying to slip it in there,” said Mr. Greer, 28, who works for a philanthropic organization. “I know better, but other people who are watching this might go, ‘Hmmm.’”

President Trump’s entire approach to people of color — his attacks on political leaders, his campaign’s social media strategy targeting the black electorate, his ability to fuel black opposition but also demoralize some black voters — is one of the most extraordinary political dynamics of the Trump era. No modern president has ever vilified black Americans or sought to divide people along racial lines like Mr. Trump, while also claiming to be a champion of their economic interests.

The online ad that Mr. Greer saw illustrates the audacious nature of Mr. Trump’s strategy. Even as the president sows racial disharmony, telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back,” and saying “no human being” would want to live in the “rat and rodent infested” city of Baltimore, his re-election campaign is spending money on social media to put Mr. Trump before the eyes of black voters.

The objectives are twofold: First, to try to win over a handful of black voters. The campaign intends to highlight low rates of African-American unemployment and the criminal justice overhaul the president signed, a measure that is already a subject of his campaign’s Facebook advertising.

But the more clandestine hope, and one privately acknowledged by Trump allies, is that the president can make black voters think twice about turning out for Democrats or expending energy on trying to change a system some African-Americans believe is unalterably stacked against them.

For many voters of color in this crucial swing state, Mr. Trump’s racial invective is deeply hurtful on a personal level, but something they have come to expect from a president who has consistently denigrated them.

“I think he can win again,” said Malak Aldasouqi, a 21-year-old Detroit Public Schools intern, who is Muslim and said she often feels disheartened by the president’s attacks on people of color. “It’s a little bit of a no-faith situation because there’s been a lot of times where I’ve felt betrayed by the American people.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158684874_03116aae-c480-4943-b02e-2d5bd1ea3e03-articleLarge Trump Fuels Racial Disharmony, but Courts Black Voters on Facebook Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Political Advertising Midterm Elections (2018) Facebook Inc Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Booker, Cory A Blacks

Malak Aldasouqi of East Lansing, Mich.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

[Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping American politics with our newsletter.]

Still, Democrats also sense that the president’s race-baiting presents a unique opportunity. After a disastrous dip in black turnout in 2016 in battleground states like Michigan, Democrats are now working to harness the disdain for Mr. Trump to motivate a group that may prove to be most pivotal in the 2020 election: the low-propensity voters of color who decide late whether or not to cast ballots in the election.

Turnout figures show many stayed home in 2016, an election that marked the first decline in black participation rates in two decades. Increasing black turnout by just a few percentage points in urban areas of states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could thwart Mr. Trump’s re-election.

And there are already signs that Mr. Trump’s conduct, which has been reminiscent of a 2016 campaign filled with racist tropes, is likely to ensure that outcome.

Longtime black Democratic leaders say the only time they can recall black voters being so engaged in presidential politics was when they had the chance to elect, and then to re-elect, Barack Obama.

“My dental hygienist talked with me about the election for 40 minutes the other day,” Shirley Franklin, a former Atlanta mayor, recalled with wonder, adding: “Some have preferences but a lot don’t. They just say, ‘I want to vote for whoever is going to beat Trump.’ That’s the predominant feeling.”

Early polling also points to a highly engaged black electorate.

A June poll from CNN found that 74 percent of Democratic voters were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year, a higher figure than even in the years before Mr. Obama’s two elections. The figure was the same for white and nonwhite Democrats.

Theodore R. Johnson, a scholar at the Brennan Center who has written extensively on black voters, said he was skeptical that African-American turnout would reach Obama-era levels, but noted that “if it just goes up from ’16, Trump is in trouble.” A record 66.6 percent of eligible black voters cast ballots in 2012, but that number fell to 59.6 percent four years later.

Mr. Johnson said the evidence from the Trump era indicates that African-Americans are highly motivated. He pointed to their turnout in the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama and in last year’s midterm elections, in which the black vote jumped 11 percentage points above 2014 levels, the year of the previous midterm.

“He’s very, very disrespectful,” said Teresa Singleton, 55, a Detroit firefighter. “It’s very disrespectful. And I’m just shocked that the No. 1 man in the United States goes through these Twitter attack rages like that. It encourages me to get out and help advocate for someone different in the next election. I feel like it’s my responsibility.”

Teresa Singleton, a Detroit firefighter.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

The Trump campaign said it was eager to deliver its message to black voters.

“President Trump has an excellent record benefitting black Americans, which we will enthusiastically communicate,” said Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman. “Black unemployment has hit an all-time low, paychecks are rising, and the President is providing second chances to people through criminal justice reform.”

The campaign is spending far more on digital advertising to try to influence voters than his Democratic challengers. Since the beginning of 2019, Mr. Trump has spent $14.1 million on Facebook and Google campaigns, according to Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital firm. The highest-spending 2020 Democratic candidate is Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has spent $3.2 million.

[Read about how President Trump has often used race for his own personal gain]

Some of that messaging is aimed at black voters using ZIP codes, though no public data tracks the precise amount. The Trump campaign has posted multiple ads on Facebook highlighting the criminal justice legislation, including spots that feature video of the president flashing a thumbs-up in the White House alongside African-Americans after signing the measure.

“Americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption,” reads the message on the screen at the end of one of the ads.

Mr. Trump doesn’t have to convert black voters with that message; just inhibiting enough of them from participating on Election Day would be a victory for his purposes. And leading black officials are already voicing concern that, in addition to Mr. Trump’s own advertising, the combination of strict voter identification laws and even more aggressive foreign interference on social media could suppress black turnout.

The risks for the president are that suburban voters who fled the Republican Party in the midterm elections will come out in force for the 2020 Democratic nominee, and that black and Hispanic voters in cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Phoenix will turn out in far larger numbers than they did in 2016.

Still, Democrats say Mr. Trump’s message is a difficult one to counteract. Opinions about the president and his racially divisive attacks are already baked into the views of many people of color.

Quentin James, who leads a group dedicated to electing black Democrats, said it is precisely because so many African-Americans are inured to Mr. Trump that the party must devote substantial money to energizing one of their most irregular, but vital, constituencies: younger black men.

Democrats say research indicates it is not helpful to invoke Mr. Trump directly to fuel such motivational efforts.

The president’s standing in polls of black voters has not changed since his 2017 defense of neo-Nazis marching on Charlottesville, Va., according to Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a super PAC focused on motivating black voters.

“I do think that using Trump imagery is triggering for black people,” Ms. Shropshire said. “We don’t use it in our advertising.”

Democratic presidential candidates have not settled on how to deal with the man they all hope to replace. While five of the party’s 20 candidates called Mr. Trump a racist during this week’s debates in Detroit, the party’s private polling shows that affixing that label to him is not the most effective way to peel support away from the president.

A poll conducted in June for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a political arm of the progressive think tank, offered voters six derogatory descriptions of Mr. Trump: ineffective, false promises, for the rich, divisive, corrupt and racist. Among voters surveyed, the ineffective label moved the most voters toward a generic Democratic candidate; the racist label moved the fewest.

Among black voters, the poll found that calling Mr. Trump a racist did not move support to Democrats. Calling him ineffective did.

“This isn’t about just speaking to the obvious, that our president is a racist, it has to be about how are you connected to the struggle of our communities,” Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of the five candidates who called Mr. Trump racist during the debates, said in an interview on Friday. “I’ve heard that line from candidates before, but not followed by the kind of from-the-heart talk that I think is really important if there is going to be trust that the next leader really feels us, understands communities of color.”

But Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes of Wisconsin, a state that saw one of the largest drops in African-American turnout between 2012 and 2016, warned his party that the eventual standard-bearer must speak unambiguously about the president’s conduct if he or she wants to energize black voters.

“We still have to have a candidate who won’t be afraid to stand up to him and call him out,” said Mr. Barnes, who is black. He added that the presence of an African-American candidate on the ticket “certainly would be helpful.”

[The latest data and analysis to keep track of who’s leading the race to be the Democratic nominee.]

In Detroit, black voters and officials articulated a desire for Democratic candidates to move beyond the president’s race-baiting and discuss issues pertinent to people’s daily lives.

“It’s time for us to kind of pull the plug and shift our message and shift our conversation,” Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a Michigan state representative, said on Tuesday at a gathering she hosted to watch the first night of the debates. “If we start kind of ignoring a lot of the ignorance that he shows, he won’t have as much of a fan base, a following, a platform.”

Older voters, who lived through the Jim Crow era, said the president’s conduct was a constant reminder of what life was like for them decades ago.

“I’d like to get close to him, do something to his ass,” said Moses Baldwin, an 89-year-old retired Detroit police officer at Ms. Gay-Dagnogo’s debate watch party. “That’s the way I really feel.”

Moses Baldwin, a retired police officer, in Detroit.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

Charles Ellington, a 55-year-old marketing representative who came to see Mr. Booker at a rally on Thursday, has focused his anger at the president in a different way. Mr. Ellington acknowledged that Mr. Trump is “irritating” — and has been “ever since he was sworn in” — but said that’s all the more reason to show up next year.

“Man, you gotta get out and vote!” said Mr. Ellington. “We can’t sit this one out.”

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