The Republican response to Demography as Destiny has proven effective in 2020. The GOP has turned a healthy percentage of Latino, Asian, and Black voters against the Democrats, enough to stay in the political game and to gain state legislatures and US House seats, and to defense Senate seats they need to stay in power, and unless Democrats can counter those messages, the next fascist that comes along in 2024 will destroy the country.
California's failed Proposition on restoring affirmative action to education, a vote that went down in flames by 14 points, is the perfect example of how Democrats are completely failing on messaging and engagement with multiple non-white communities.
Again. And GOP misinformation is filling in the gaps.
“We should not think of demography as destiny,” said Professor Omar Wasow, who studies politics and voting patterns at Princeton University. “These groups are far more heterogeneous than a monolith and campaigns often end up building their own idiosyncratic coalition.”
Asian-American Californians opposed the affirmative action measure in large numbers. A striking number of East and South Asian students have gained admission to elite state universities, and their families spoke to reporters of their fear that their children would suffer if merit in college selection was given less weight. That battle carried echoes of another that raged the past few years in New York City, where a white liberal mayor’s efforts to increase the number of Black and Latino students in selective high schools angered working- and middle-class South and East Asian families whose children have gained admission to the schools in large numbers.
“There’s more texture to California blue politics than you might think,” said Lanhee Chen, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University and policy director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run. “Identity politics only go so far. There is a sense on affirmative action that people resent being categorized by progressives.”
Latinos, too, appear sharply divided. Prominent Latino nonprofit and civil rights organizations endorsed the affirmative action proposition even as all 14 of California’s majority-Latino counties voted it down.
Latinos make up more than half of San Bernardino County’s population, although significantly fewer turn out to vote. More residents there voted on the affirmative action proposition than for president, rejecting it by a margin of 28 percentage points. In rural Imperial County, in the southeastern corner of the state, 85 percent of the population is Latino. The voters there who gave Joseph R. Biden Jr. a nearly 27-point margin of victory went against the affirmative action measure by 16 percentage points.
The results suggest that Democrats may need to adjust their strategy as the complexities of class, generation and experience, and the competing desires of these demographic groups become clear. Since the dawn of the 21st century, it has become commonplace for party leaders to talk of a rising demographic tide that is destined to lift the Democrats to dominance. That liberal coalition is seen as resting on a bedrock of upper-middle-class white voters, alongside working- and middle-class Black, Latino and Asian voters.
In broad strokes, that narrative held. Black voters, along with a shift in the white suburban vote, played a pivotal role in delivering Georgia to the Democratic column (although so closely that a statewide audit is taking place). So, too, Black voters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly for Democrats — as did well-to-do majority-white suburbs — and gave Pennsylvania and therefore the national election to President-elect Biden.
In Arizona, Latino voters piled up large margins for Mr. Biden and tipped the state narrowly into the Democratic column for the first time since 1996. Representative Ruben Gallego, the Democratic congressman from Phoenix who is a former Marine and a Harvard graduate, noted that several decades of aggressive tactics by Republican governors and white sheriffs had stirred activism among the young Latinos who dominate politics there.
“The Republicans caught Latino lightning in the bottle in Florida and South Texas, but not here,” Mr. Gallego said. “We are very politicized. It’s just important that white liberals don’t impose their thoughts and policies on us.”
The problem is there's a big difference between what various Asian, Latino, and Black communities actually want, and what white liberals assume they do, and Democrats did a fantastically bad job of actually asking these communities in 2020, just assuming "Well, you'll help us stop Trump, right?"
We did. But negative partisanship only goes so far when you have existential issues of race and wealth inequality on top of everything else. For a lot of us, that can take priority. It's easy to be mad at Rio Grande Valley Latino voters for instance that voted for Republicans, but all Trump's attention to the region over his goofy wall project actually did improve the economy significantly there, when Democrats just kinda assumed things.
Republicans are spotting wedge issues: religion, affirmative action, socialism, economic issues, and using them on the Obama Coalition to great effect. And Democrats aren't doing a great job of countering those wedge issues.
Talk to us, guys. Control of the Senate is down to two races in Georgia. Biden actually won the Electoral College by 50,000 votes in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, without those it's a 269-269 tie that would have gone to Trump. The massive voter suppression and messaging machine the GOP wields still works. It's stuff in the margins, and the GOP is optimizing their attacks every time.
Stop taking non-white voters for granted.