In the middle of their legislative orgy of socialistic giveaways and identity politics, Democrats might want to contemplate that their political priorities do not command the support of a majority of American voters. Moreover, the warnings on this front do not come from the right—they come from leftists themselves.
When an editorial columnist from the bastion of liberalism, The New York Times, writes that “Democrats are worried—very worried—about the future of the Hispanic vote,” you know something’s up. As it turns out, the radicalized “woke” among upper-class whites have done a good job alienating both African Americans and Hispanics from the Democratic coalition.
Minorities Abandoning the Left
Times columnist Tom Edsall cited polling data from Public Opinion Strategies showing that Democratic support among self-described conservative Hispanics shifted by a whopping 50 points over eight years. Democrats won these voters by a 10-point margin in 2012, but lost them by 40 percentage points last year.
Conservative African Americans likewise showed migration away from Democrats. While the African-American vote moved away from Democrats on a smaller scale, the party’s dependence on winning the vast majority of Hispanic and African American votes to achieve electoral success makes any migration away from Democrats by minority populations a cause for alarm.
A separate interview with lefty data analyst David Shor reinforced the views in Edsall’s column. Shor argues that political polarization by educational status has in many ways supplanted polarization by race.
While the Democrat vote increased by seven percentage points among white college graduates in 2020, the party’s support among African Americans dropped by one to two percentage points, among Hispanics dropped by eight to nine points (and as much as 14-15 points in areas like South Florida), and among Asian Americans by roughly five points. Shor notes that “I don’t think a lot of people expected Donald Trump’s GOP to have a much more diverse support base than Mitt Romney’s did in 2012. But that’s what happened” (emphasis original).
Wokes Alienating Minority Groups
In observing that “highly educated people tend to have more ideologically coherent and extreme views than working-class ones,” Shor finds that the migration of “woke” college-educated whites into the Democratic coalition has radicalized the party—thereby repelling non-whites among the working-class:
As Democrats have traded non-college-educated voters for college-educated ones, white liberals’ share of voice and clout in the Democratic Party has gone up. And since white voters are sorting on ideology more than nonwhite voters, we’ve ended up in a situation where white liberals are more left wing than Black and Hispanic Democrats on pretty much every issue: taxes, health care, policing, and even on racial issues or various measures of ‘racial resentment.’ So as white liberals increasingly define the party’s image and messaging, that’s going to turn off nonwhite conservative Democrats and push them against us.
Shor considers these developments a flashing red light for the left: “Most voters are not liberals. If we polarize the electorate on ideology—or if nationally prominent Democrats raise the salience of issues that polarize the electorate on ideology—we’re going to lose a lot of votes.”
Several of the political analysts Edsall quotes in his column agree with Shor’s contention that a radicalized Democratic Party could alienate many more voters than it attracts:
- Democratic consultant Marc Farinella: “As far left activists compete with Democratic Party leaders to define party values and messaging, the centrist voters needed to achieve a durable majority will remain wary about Democratic desires for dominance.”
- Harvard professor Ryan Enos: “The question for parties is whether members of their coalition are a liability because they repel other voters from the coalition. For Democrats, this may increasingly be the case with college-educated whites. They are increasingly concentrated into large cities, which mitigates their electoral impact, and they dominate certain institutions, such as universities and the media. The views emanating from these cities and institutions are out of step with a large portion of the electorate.”
- Republican pollster Whit Ayres: “When white liberal Democrats start talking about defunding the police, the Green New Deal, and promoting policies that can be described as socialistic, they repel a lot of Hispanic voters. In other words, most Hispanics, like most African Americans, are not ideological liberals.”
- Stanford University political scientist Bruce Cain: “Democrats set themselves up for losses if they do not pay attention to the realities of public opinion.”
So much for the oft-repeated leftist mantra about how “demography is destiny,” and the supposedly enduring nature of the Democratic coalition.
Shor’s ‘Solution’ for the Left: Rig the System
Looking ahead to next year’s midterm elections to Congress, in which the president’s party traditionally loses seats, Shor worries that ideological polarization will lead to an electoral bloodbath for the left. In his view, those historic trends, coupled with the structurally conservative nature of Congress—one where Republican voters are distributed more efficiently than Democratic voters, who are largely concentrated in urban areas—mean Democrats have very grim chances in the next several elections.
What does Shor think Democrats should do about this looming catastrophe? Rather than moderating their policies, Shor thinks the left should use the current Congress to tilt the playing field permanently in its direction—by requiring red states to redraw their congressional districts in a more pro-Democrat manner, and admitting new states that will increase Democratic votes in the Senate:
Since the maps in the House of Representatives are so biased against us, if we don’t pass a redistricting reform, our chance of keeping the House is very low. And then the Senate is even more biased against us than the House. So, it’s also very important that we add as many states as we can.
Currently, even if we have an exceptionally good midterm, the most likely outcome is that we lose one or two Senate seats. And then, going into 2024, we have something like seven or eight Democrats who are in states that are more Republican than the country overall.
Basically, we have this small window right now to pass redistricting reform and create states. And if we don’t use this window, we will almost certainly lose control of the federal government and not be in a position to pass laws again potentially for a decade.
Those kinds of potential electoral consequences for the Democratic coalition should prompt the newly radicalized left to rethink their policies, rather than trying to rig the system to offset the effects of their unpopular ideas. Sadly, however, they probably won’t.