Democrats’ declines with Blacks and Hispanics could erode liberal beliefs

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Democrats’ declines with Blacks and Hispanics could erode liberal beliefs

Democrats’ diminishing support with Black and Hispanic voters could also threaten its white liberals’ beliefs. The Democratic coalition rests on large support within these constituencies combined with support among white voters. Democrats’ white voters are increasingly liberal.  

Losses in Black and Hispanic communities present an obvious loss; however, the even greater threat could come from white liberals seeing their beliefs undermined by these departures. 

A recent Gallup poll showed a serious drop in Democratic support among Black and Hispanic voters. Just 66 percent of Blacks and 47 percent of Hispanics now identify as Democratic or lean Democratic. While Democrats’ margins over Republicans remain high within these communities (+47 percentage points among Blacks and +13 percentage points among Hispanics), Democrats have depended on overwhelming support here: In 2020, Biden won 87 percent of the Black vote and 65 percent of the Hispanic vote.

America’s two-party system makes defections particularly serious. A former supporter who sits on the sidelines subtracts a vote from his former party. A former supporter who switches to the other major party creates a double loss: the vote subtracted from the former party and the vote added to the other major party — a zero-sum effect. 

In America’s closely divided electorate, either the one- or the two-vote loss for Democrats could be pivotal. While in 2020’s overall popular vote, Biden beat Trump by 7,060,347 votes nationwide, after subtracting out his margin of victory in California and New York, Biden actually lost to Trump by 36,363. The six states on which the electoral vote outcome depended were decided collectively by just a few tens of thousands of votes. 

However, as big as losses from Black and Hispanic voters would be for Democrats, bigger still would be a potential threat to their white supporters.  Gallup found Democrats with only 38 percent support among white voters, which would be a drop from the 41 percent of the white vote Biden won in 2020. Still, because the white vote is so large (67 percent of 2020 voters), defections here could be even more damaging for Democrats. 

Where could this white voter loss arise from, besides the three-percentage point difference that Gallup found versus the 2020 exit poll results? Gallup also found that white Democrats are increasingly liberal — much more so than their Black and Hispanic counterparts. Gallup reports, “More than 6 in 10 White Democrats identified as liberal in 2022, representing a 37 percent point increase since 1994. That contrasts with closer to 4 in 10 Black and Hispanic Democrats identifying as liberal last year, up less than 20 points from 1994.”

One of the central pillars of liberal thought has been a focus on racial oppression, as embodied in such initiatives as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and critical race theory efforts in education. How will liberals’ embrace of these initiatives persist if they see diminishing support of Blacks and Hispanics for these initiatives and the party that pursues them? 

The juxtaposition is particularly stark in the case of white liberals. It is one thing to be a “limousine liberal;” it is another to step out of the limousine and find there are fewer there to greet you — or worse yet, that they are now Republican supporters. 

If there is a greater diversity of thought and political allegiance among those with whom you want to identify, can you continue to identify with them without changing too? Of course, there has always been no little “preaching down” element in liberals’ tenets that tell Blacks and Hispanics what is best for them. Yet, this reality can be obscured for the “preachers” if the crowds to whom they are preaching remain large and overwhelmingly resemble your preferred mental image.  But if the crowds noticeably dwindle and no longer resemble, the inescapable conclusion — even for liberals — is that you are preaching to and for yourselves. 

Already we see so-called “progressive” (in reality, extremely regressive) policies’ effects on liberal-dominated locations — studies showing increases in crime from calls to defund the police and sanctuary cities, the Biden administration’s “open” border policy, learning loss from school lockdowns during COVID and liberal opposition to school choice, and cost increases and reliability decreases from radical environmental agendas. It makes sense that these misguided liberal policies are alienating increasing numbers in the minority communities hardest hit by them. 

Yet the political changes within these communities could be but a part of Democrats’ potential damage if minority political changes provoke a collateral questioning — as they should — of liberal sermonizing. 

J.T. Young was a professional staffer in the House and Senate from 1987-2000, served in the Department of Treasury and Office of Management and Budget from 2001-2004, and was director of government relations for a Fortune 20 company from 2004-2023.