Remember the “conventional” part.
Elections don’t just come down to swaying the electorate, but increasingly to turning out your base. The Dems are parasitically dependent on black voter turnout. Especially with Latino and Asian voters becoming more erratic. While some Republicans are touting gains among black men, the thing to remember is that they vote in small numbers and the actual Democrat base is the ‘church lady’ electorate. Older black women.
A threat to the Dem black electorate is politically fatal. Or at least it ought to be. And things look grim.
Mr. Biden’s weakness among nonwhite voters is broad, spanning virtually every demographic category and racial group, including a 72-11 lead among Black voters and a 47-35 lead among Hispanic registrants. The sample of Asian voters is not large enough to report, though nonwhite voters who aren’t Black or Hispanic — whether Asian, Native American, multiracial or something else — back Mr. Biden by just 40-39. In all three cases, Mr. Biden’s tallies are well beneath his standing in the last election.
Those are still majorities, but they’re increasingly feeble ones.
Dems don’t win by scoring less than three-quarters of the black vote and the Hispanic vote isn’t supposed to be this close. Biden is within a margin of error of losing the general mass non-white voters.
These are bad numbers, but the numbers were also bad in 2022. What the Dems did was focus heavily on turning out the new emerging base, upscale young white voters with college degrees. Republicans have made crucial inroads among working-class minority voters, but Democrats have more than compensated for it by gobbling up suburban and upscale urban white voters. That Kung Fu move worked pretty well in 2022.
And the Democrats have learned even more heavily on abortion, global warming and LGBTQ issues.
The problem is that this just worsens the drift. The more you court a different set of voters, the worse the bleeding among your existing base gets. Both Republicans and Democrats are experiencing this. A lot of suburban more liberal Republicans have left because they don’t like the party’s new tone, but likewise minority voters are leaving because they think the Democrats have become a woke hipster party.
The Times/Siena data suggests the emergence of a fairly clear education gap among nonwhite voters, as Mr. Biden loses ground among less affluent nonwhite voters and those without a degree. Overall, he retains a 61-23 lead among nonwhite college graduates, compared with a mere 49-31 lead among those without a four-year degree.
And the white working-class vote obviously got on a boat and sailed away.
The white college electorate is a pretty good bet because they have high voter turnout and money. But those elements are more effective in midterm elections. Republicans used to do better in midterms than Democrats because they leveraged that base. Now Dems may end up outperforming in the midterms, but what happens when the White House is on the ballot?
Biden may be facing an unwinnable election by conventional means. But elections are becoming unconventional. 2020 was a hell of an unconventional election. 2024 is already being shaped by indictments and trials of a possible opposition party nominee. And you can bet that’s not the only unconventional trick here. The Dems may be running out of Moneyball games they can play with the electorate, but there are still a whole lot of possibilities that can be used to reshape the battlespace itself from election rules to trials.
To that 14th amendment coup they keep dangling in front of us.
The more the election becomes conventionally unwinnable, the more it will be waged unconventionally.