There was a libertarian contingent of the GOP that was obsessed with trying to use the 1994 Crime Bill against the Democrats. It’s hard to think of worse timing for accusing the Democrats of being too tough on crime than in the middle of a massive crime wave caused by Democrat pro-crime policies.
It was a bad idea from the start.
Voters who want soft on crime are already voting for the Democrats. Minority voters who want tough on crime policies however go Republican.
The following analysis comes from David Shor, an Obama adviser, and a top lefty campaign guy. Not exactly a trustworthy source, but he’s not explaining this to conservatives, but to people from his own political movement
Part of what Shor is saying isn’t news. President Trump made major gains among Hispanics, but the white college-educated vote is trending Democrat.
At the subgroup level, Democrats gained somewhere between half a percent to one percent among non-college whites and roughly 7 percent among white college graduates (which is kind of crazy). Our support among African Americans declined by something like one to 2 percent. And then Hispanic support dropped by 8 to 9 percent.
We’re waiting on data from California before we say anything. But there’s evidence that there was something like a 5 percent decline in Asian American support for Democrats, likely with a lot of variance among subgroups.
Republicans bet hard on gains among black voters. And they did score record numbers, but with a fairly limited impact. The bigger goal of decreasing black turnout never happened.
But Hispanic support and possibly Asian support was the big draw. And what motivated it?
One important thing to know about the decline in Hispanic support for Democrats is that it was pretty broad. This isn’t just about Cubans in South Florida. It happened in New York and California and Arizona and Texas. Really, we saw large drops all over the country. But it was notably larger in some places than others. In the precinct-level data, one of the things that jumps out is that places where a lot of voters have Venezuelan or Colombian ancestry saw much larger swings to the GOP than basically anywhere else in the country. The Colombian and Venezuelan shifts were huge.
That covers some of the socialism territory. But one of the big issues goes beyond the left-right paradigm. A lot of minorities identify as conservative, but vote Democrat.
As for the story with Hispanics overall, one thing that really comes out very clearly in survey data that we’ve done is that it really comes down to ideology. So when you look at self-reported ideology — just asking people, “Do you identify as liberal, moderate, or conservative” — you find that there aren’t very big racial divides. Roughly the same proportion of African American, Hispanic, and white voters identify as conservative. But white voters are polarized on ideology, while nonwhite voters haven’t been. Something like 80 percent of white conservatives vote for Republicans. But historically, Democrats have won nonwhite conservatives, often by very large margins. What happened in 2020 is that nonwhite conservatives voted for Republicans at higher rates; they started voting more like white conservatives.
And so this leads to a question of why. Why did nonwhite voters start sorting more by ideology?
Shor has his own theory. And there might be something to it, though I think it’s only a partial explanation.
But my organization, and our partner organizations, have done extensive post-election surveys of 2020 voters. And we looked specifically at those voters who switched from supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 to Donald Trump in 2020 to see whether anything distinguishes this subgroup in terms of their policy opinions. What we found is that Clinton voters with conservative views on crime, policing, and public safety were far more likely to switch to Trump than voters with less conservative views on those issues. And having conservative views on those issues was more predictive of switching from Clinton to Trump than having conservative views on any other issue-set was.
This lines up pretty well with trends we saw during the campaign. In the summer, following the emergence of “defund the police” as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined. So I think you can tell this microstory: We raised the salience of an ideologically charged issue that millions of nonwhite voters disagreed with us on. And then, as a result, these conservative Hispanic voters who’d been voting for us despite their ideological inclinations started voting more like conservative whites.
I think there’s definitely something to that. But it’s also incomplete.
The culture war was also a major factor. So was the fact that President Trump kept running as the candidate of change. Biden performed badly with Hispanic voters from the start. Bernie actually performed better. A lot of Hispanic voters wanted someone who was anti-establishment. Meanwhile, a lot of white college voters, especially those in government and in certain dependent industries, wanted someone to restore the establishment.
Highly educated people tend to have more ideologically coherent and extreme views than working-class ones. We see this in issue polling and ideological self-identification. College-educated voters are way less likely to identify as moderate. So 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.
And that’s where the real crash comes together.
Lefty white elites are radicalizing the Democrats. And they’re relying on identity politics to build minority support for their agenda. That’s where the whole critical race theory mess comes from.
But they’re also alienating a lot of minorities.
Police defunding was a major fracture point where lefties completely misunderstood what minority voters actually wanted. There are more issues like that, including voter ID and immigration.
, the fundamental problem is that Democrats have been relying on the support of roughly 90 percent of Black voters and 70 percent of Hispanic voters. So if Democrats elevate issues or theories that a large minority of nonwhite voters reject, it’s going to be hard to keep those margins.
Again, key point.
Democrat radicalism has boosted support among white college-educated voters while draining support among minority voters. Economic populism, aka socialism might be a partial way forward, but, paradoxically, lefties are too addicted to identity politics to stop shooting themselves in the foot with things like police defunding or open borders.
In test after test that we’ve done with Hispanic voters, talking about immigration commonly sparks backlash: Asking voters whether they lean toward Biden and Trump, and then emphasizing the Democratic position on immigration, often caused Biden’s share of support among Latino respondents to decline.
Are they going to stop? No.
Campaign finance reform handed over the wheel to Soros, and the lefty donor class who are almost all white and want ideological wins. 2020 convinced them, if anything, that throwing enough money will let them do anything.
The question is will Republicans be smart enough to exploit this growing gap.