Honors College

The Rust Belt or the Sun Belt?

Doug Newton Jr., University of Maine


The purpose of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive overview of Donald Trump’s path to victory in the 2016 presidential election and the path forward for the Democratic Party. Particularly, this thesis examines the “Rust Belt” states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as well as the “Sun Belt” states of Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. This thesis examines the past, present, and potential future of each of these states primarily through the lens of racial demographics. Ultimately, this thesis concludes that the mobilization of African American voters in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania is the most reliable path for the Democratic Party in the upcoming presidential election of 2020.