Could the highly sought-after vaping constituency be the group that hands the 2020 election to the Democratic candidate? Probably not, but according to Axios, some conservative analysts sending their data to the White House think that Trump’s recent ban on e-cigarette flavors could hurt him in battleground states, where the number of vapers outnumbers the president’s margin of victory in 2016.
The (flawed) logic is that adults who really like mango Juul pods will be so frustrated by Trump’s proposed flavor ban that they will vote for the Democratic candidate. “While parents may be concerned about e-cigarettes, the people who genuinely care about vaping as a voting issue so far outweighs the number of people Trump needs to win in 2020 that they are royally screwing themselves by doing this,” Paul Blair, of Americans for Tax Reform, told Axios. Another industry lobbyist claimed that the parents who support the flavor ban “don’t have the same voter intensity on this as adult vapers do.”
A test case for the esteemed vape vote lies in Florida. Trump won the state by 113,000 votes in 2016, but if just one in eight of the 873,000 state’s e-cigarette users of voting age switches parties, Trump could lose 29 electoral votes. Other possible vape states that the analysts fear could turn blue are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, and Wisconsin — or about a quarter of the electoral college.
The logic isn’t perfect, however. As Axios notes, the analysis relies on four assumptions about vaping voters: that they are Trump voters in the first place; that they would stop vaping if it doesn’t taste like mint or cucumber anymore; that they are single-issue voters; and that the eventual Democratic nominee would have to be in the pocket of Big Vape to swing these votes.
Considering the industry’s disdain for Trump’s proposed flavor ban, it’s possible that their data dump on the White House could be an attempt to convince the president to end his war on crème pods once and for all. Shortly after Trump announced the proposal, industry groups and conservatives lambasted him for it, claiming that it would hurt small business owners. Campaign manager Brad Parscale, who is running a $125 million operation, went so far as to respond on Twitter to a college student who called the action “not on brand with MAGA. The Democrats are the party of banning, not is [sic].”