Thursday, March 14, 2024

Confirmed: Minority Voters Shifting to GOP in Large Numbers


AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Financial Times columnist and chief data reporter John Burn-Murdoch has been crunching the numbers on the 2024 vote and has reached some startling conclusions.

We've known for years that the black and Hispanic vote has been trending more Republican. But as the Democrats' share of the white vote shrinks and the GOP minority support increases, Democrats find themselves in dire straits.

Burn-Murdoch also points out that "identity politics" is losing its electoral potency, further eroding and narrowing the Democrats' path to victory.

Financial Times:

Last week, a New York Times poll showed President Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by just 56 points to 44 among non-white Americans, a group he won by almost 50 points when the two men last fought it out for the White House in 2020. As things stand, the Democrats are going backwards faster with voters of colour than any other demographic.

The election of 1960 saw the last racial realignment in America. Black people had been loyal Republican voters since Reconstruction. This is not surprising considering that the Democrats were the party of the Klu Klux Klan. 

But when Martin Luther King was jailed in late October 1960 for supporting some young civil rights advocates in Georgia, John F. Kennedy saw political opportunity where Nixon feared consequences. JFK called King's wife Coretta to express his support and tell her she was thinking of her and her family.

That simple act galvanized the black community, and for the first time, a Democrat won a majority of the black vote.

Today, the racial realignment has destroyed the Democrats' dream of a permanent Democratic majority in Washington. 

Why is this happening? Minorities have not suddenly fallen in love with Republicans. But, as with all things in American politics, time is the great equalizer.

Part of this is due to fading memories and weakening ties. Black Americans who lived through the civil rights era still support the party at very high levels, but younger generations are wavering. There’s also the weakening correlation between income and voter choice in US politics. The image of the GOP as the party of wealthy country club elites is dimming, opening the door to working- and middle-class voters of all ethnicities.

More ominous for the Democrats is a less widely understood dynamic: many of America’s non-white voters have long held much more conservative views than their voting patterns would suggest. The migration we’re seeing today is not so much natural Democrats becoming disillusioned but natural Republicans realizing they’ve been voting for the wrong party.

 In a way, black and Hispanic voting trends match those of immigrants who, by the third generation, have lost all fealty to the political party of their parents. For minorities, the touchstones of their struggling past are either a distant memory or never lived by younger generations. They have, to varying degrees, embraced the American dream.

With more affluence comes a recognition to elect people who will protect what they've achieved. There is also a strong element of religious faith that undergirds many minority communities and Democrats aren't even bothering to give lip service to people of faith anymore.

In hindsight, the realignment appeared inevitable. Where it goes from here is anyone's guess.