A postmortem from the New York Times on the mayoral election in its eponymous city.
Can progressives win broad numbers of the Black and brown voters they say their policies will benefit most?
What are black and brown voters anyway? African people identify as black. How many people even identify as ‘brown’? Why is the New York Times using this garbage campus identity politics language anyway? Question asked, question answered, I suppose.
Why can’t leftists win over minority voters whom they claim will benefit from turning cities into war zones?
In a contest that centered on crime and public safety, Eric Adams, who emerged as the leading Democrat, focused much of his message on denouncing progressive slogans and policies that he said threatened the lives of “Black and brown babies” and were being pushed by “a lot of young, white, affluent people.” A retired police captain and Brooklyn’s borough president, he rejected calls to defund the Police Department and pledged to expand its reach in the city.
That’s exactly what black voters have been saying they wanted.
Black voters supported the black candidate championing the very policies they said they needed to keep them safe. How do you explain this? It’s a mystery. That and the fact that black voters are not especially attuned to the hard lefties who keep using them as their brand.
In the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race, Senator Bernie Sanders struggled to win over voters of color. Four years later, Black voters helped lift President Biden to victory in the Democratic primary, forming the backbone of the coalition that helped him defeat liberal rivals including Mr. Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
In the general election, Donald J. Trump made gains with nonwhite voters, particularly Latinos, as Democrats saw a drop-off in support that cost the party key congressional seats, according to a postelection autopsy by Democratic interest groups. In the 2020 election, Mr. Trump made larger gains among all Black and Latino voters than he did among white voters without a college degree, according to the Democratic data firm Catalist.
What if leftists are the white supremacists they’ve been looking for?
For years, Democrats have argued that as the country grew more diverse and more urban, their party would be able to marshal a near-permanent majority with a rising coalition of voters of color. By turning out that base, Democrats could win without needing to appeal to affluent suburbanites, who are traditionally more moderate on fiscal issues, or white working-class voters, who tend to hold more conservative views on race and immigration.
Except that minority voters are much less likely to be ideological on the usual political spectrum. And amplifying identity politics actually makes minority voters more likely to vote tribally and less likely to get sucked into the ideological abstractions that white lefties inhabit.
Some scholars and strategists argue that Black and Latino voters are more likely to center their political beliefs on those kinds of experiences in their own lives, taking a pragmatic approach to politics that’s rooted less in ideology and more in a historical distrust of government and the ability of politicians to deliver on sweeping promises.
“These standard ways of thinking about ideology fall apart for Black Americans,” Dr. Jefferson said. “The idea of liberalism and conservatism just falls to the wayside.”
He added, “It’s just not the language Black folks are using to organize their politics.”
I think that’s actually fundamentally correct.
Working-class voters, white or black, have fairly little time and interest in ideology. They have strong tribal sentiments and gut instincts that they go with. Leftists know that and usually use simplistic slogans and basic outrage to move voters. But that doesn’t work as well when they’re championing policies that clearly backfire. Like police defunding.
Manipulating people and actually working for them are also very different things.
The Left is also obsessed with not just manipulating people into supporting its causes, but “educating” them into its dogma. And that’s where things break down, especially with the older female minority voters who are more likely to vote, and have little interest in the lectures that are at the heart of leftist organizing.
Cults want you to believe what they do, rather than to just vote their way. They reshape political language around their dogma. And voters who don’t want to join the cult, go elsewhere.
The Left’s tribalism, which is political, is different than racial tribalism. Despite the political overlap, the result is always an uneasy coalition.
The woke white hipster from an expensive bedroom community is only going to have so much in common with the elderly black lady from the ghetto.
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