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May 27, 2024

What’s Wrong With People of Color?

This year they could prove too politically independent-minded.

The progressive journalist Thomas Frank wrote a much-discussed book in 2004 titled, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

Right now, some other like-minded journalist might be thinking of writing a book called “What’s the Matter with People of Color?”

For Democrats, the presidential polling among Latinos and African-Americans ranges from concerning to extremely disturbing, as President Joe Biden sheds support to Donald Trump. The Republican was so bold as to hold a campaign rally that drew thousands in the South Bronx, a heavily Hispanic and Black area where Republicans may be rumored to exist but are rarely actually seen.

A New York Times poll in March had Trump beating Biden among Hispanic voters 46-40, while a Wall Street Journal poll last month found that 30% of African-American males say they are definitely or probably going to vote for Trump. Other surveys show less stark results, but something is going on, especially with Hispanic voters.

If nothing else, we are seeing the foolhardiness of Democrats believing that all minorities — with a dizzying array of national backgrounds and socioeconomic and demographic characteristics — could be lumped together as “people of color” and corralled into the Democratic coalition with woke political appeals.

That might work on college campuses; it doesn’t work in the rest of the country.

The problem for Biden is that Hispanics are too much like the rest of America. In Cygnal polling, 69% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, and 72% of Hispanics think the same. Hispanics care about the economy as much as — in fact, more than — anyone else. Whereas 30% of the country says inflation and the economy is the top issue, 42% of Hispanics say it is.

All of this means that only 37% of Hispanics view Biden favorably, essentially the same percentage as among whites.

Changing Hispanic attitudes toward immigration is a big part of the picture. A CBS poll in Arizona found that 52% of all voters think recent immigrants have made life worse. What outrageous xenophobia, you say? Well, 40% of Hispanic voters think they’ve made life worse, too (a slim plurality, 42%, say they’ve made it better).

While the Left thought that Hispanics would enjoying getting called “Latinx” and seamlessly fit into its victim-industrial-complex, Trump “the blue collar billionaire” probably has more in common with the average Latino working-class male than any member of the (exclusively Democratic) Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The division of the electorate among class lines, long evident among whites, now appears to be showing up among Hispanics. Ruy Teixeira of the American Enterprise Institute cites a YouGov poll that found Biden leading by 1 point among working-class Hispanics and 39 points among college-educated Hispanics. Working-class Hispanics tend to be more moderate or conservative than their college-educated counterparts, and are more pessimistic about the economy and concerned about inflation.

As Teixeira notes, about 78% of Hispanic voters are working class, and even higher percentages in Arizona and Nevada, states where Trump is leading.

There appears to be a trend among Hispanic voters. Hillary Clinton won them by nearly 40 points in 2016, while Biden carried them by 23 points in 2020 and could go lower this year. The move among Black voters is more provisional and less pronounced, but still real and obviously worrying to Democrats given their investment in advertising directed at these voters and Biden’s recent fevered commencement address at Morehouse College.

It’s best to think of the Latino and Black voters telling pollsters that they support Trump as very much potential voters — Trump will have to continue to make his case, and the Republican National Committee find ways to reach them and turn them out. But, as the Republican political analyst Patrick Ruffini points out, if culturally conservative non-whites break away from the Democratic coalition it would be a boon for the GOP.

What’s wrong with people of color? This year they could prove too politically independent-minded.

© 2024 by King Features Syndicate

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