COMPASS: The political realignment moves forward

November 7th, 2022

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill.

It’s T-1 day until Election Day.

America has been undergoing a tectonic political realignment for at least the last two decades, one I would argue was reflected in the election of Donald Trump in 2016. One thing his election reflected was how broadly the demographic parameters of each party are changing.

Democrats, by and large, represent a base increasingly made up of white, elitist, upper income voters. Republicans, on the other hand, are now the party of the non-college educated working class – plumbers, farmers, and truck drivers – and, increasingly, represent a multi-ethnic base.

This trend is still at work in this year’s midterm elections. Wall Street Journal notes the following:

The Republican Party is winning support from a larger share of Black voters than in other recent elections and has improved its standing in the past few months among Latino voters, the latest Wall Street Journal poll finds, adding to evidence of the party’s increasing appeal among groups that have overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates.

About 17% of Black voters said they would pick a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat in Journal polls both in late October and in August. That is a substantially larger share than the 8% of Black voters who voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 and the 8% who backed GOP candidates in 2018 House races, as recorded by AP VoteCast, a large survey of voters who participated in those elections.

Among Latino voters, Democrats held a lead of 5 percentage points over Republicans in the choice of a congressional candidate in the Journal’s October survey, a narrower advantage than the Democrats’ 11-point lead in August.

Both findings suggest a deterioration in Democratic support as Latino voters show high degrees of concern about inflation and the direction of the economy. Latino voters in 2020 favored President Biden over Mr. Trump by 28 percentage points and Democratic candidates in 2018 House races by 31 points, VoteCast found.

Tim Alberta reported on the same trend for The Atlantic:

And then the strangest thing happened. People started coming into El Portal to vent their frustrations and unload their grievances—against the Democratic Party.

​​“Our community, we may not be educated at the highest levels, but we have a lot of street smarts. We know when people are bullshitting us,” Earl tells me, motioning to the people sitting around us. “You know what they say to Democrats now? ‘Es pura cábula.’ Bunch of bullshit.”

Over the past few years, Hispanics have begun abandoning the Democratic Party, defying generations of political patterns and causing varying degrees of panic on the left. In the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, they won the Hispanic vote by 40 points nationally. In 2020, Democrats still carried the vote by an estimated 33 points against Trump himself, though the party’s margin against GOP candidates nationwide shrank to 27 points. This summer, numerous polls showed Hispanics splitting in a statistical tie between the two parties. Even if such findings are exaggerated—several recent surveys have shown Democrats reestablishing an advantage among these voters—it’s evident that Republicans are poised next week to win their biggest share of Hispanics in the modern era.

As Ruy Teixeira (now at AEI, formerly at the Center for American Progress) has long argued, “Hispanic voters are normie voters.” They care about kitchen table issues just like the rest of us, and aren’t necessarily sold on racial categorizations of the “Latinx” variety. Shocking!

What should conservatives learn from this trend, and others more broadly? As I told Glenn Back on his radio show last week (and what I’ve argued elsewhere), it’s not my belief that voters are flocking to the GOP because they necessarily believe in what the GOP is selling them. They’re going to the GOP because the left has gone absolutely bonkers, and they want the beatings to stop. Conservatives still have to give them something to stay for.

In other words, it’s one thing to win an election with a broadened coalition. It’s another thing to present a forward looking agenda and an actionable plan to turn those voters into conservative stalwarts.

Inflation and wildly damaging climate policies are putting basic necessities like food, gas, and energy out of reach for middle class families. Public and private institutions are penalizing, censoring, and de-banking people over ideology. Cities and communities are beset by record levels of crime, while the Department of Justice busies themselves arresting pro-life protestors for signing hymns outside of abortion clinics. Public hospitals and public educators are pushing transgender ideology on children. I could go on. Conservatives may be in a position to address some of this after Tuesday. They’d better have a plan.

The Latest From Around The Conservative Movement

One More Thing…

Last week the left-leaning outlet The Intercept released a deeply reported story on how closely the Biden administration has worked with the social media companies to censor content on everything from the withdrawal from Afghanistan to COVID-19. I wrote up some of their findings here.