Podcast • Opinion
“Broken Doors,” Episode 1
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The tale of the ‘Trump Triers’

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Each week, the “Can He Do That?” podcast explores critical questions about what today’s news means for our nation and its highest office. See all episodes here.

When Washington Post politics reporter Dan Balz began reporting on Trump voters in the Midwest, he encountered a term coined by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).

More and more, Bustos recounted, she has been hearing from constituents whom she deems "Trump Triers": People who typically vote Democratic but cast a ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

"They were so frustrated in 2016 that they were willing to try Donald Trump," Balz explains. "And she said, I think that the 'Trump Triers' are the ones who will, in a sense, tell the tale for Donald Trump in 2020."

On this week's episode of the "Can He Do That?" podcast, we explore the tale of the Trump Triers, and Balz's extensive reporting from Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, to learn about what drove these unlikely voters to support Trump — and how their views on the president have evolved or solidified in the 18 months since he took office.

In many ways, Balz says, these voters can be considered canaries in the coal mine for the 2018 midterms, and for Trump's expected reelection campaign. Despite his energized base of die-hard fans, the president can't win another election without the support of on-the-fence voters ... but many of these people, Balz says, have growing qualms about the ways Trump has strained against the traditional bounds and expectations of the U.S. presidency.

As Balz writes in his piece, "There is a deeper unease that filters through conversations with some of those who voted for him, a recognition that to gain something, they must give something — that to see policy changes they favor, they must tolerate behavior they sometimes find inexcusable."

Listen to the full episode here.

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Loyalty, unease in Trump’s Midwest: Voters gave Trump a chance. Some remain all in. Others have grown weary of the chaos.