The Early Line on the Next Election

There is something strange about the behavior of Biden and the Democrats that can be best explained by a combination of Progressive mania and panic that their power might well slip away from them unless they lock it down by changing the rules in their favor and whipping up paranoia within key minority groups who are showing signs of slipping away. Hence the relentless charges of racism.

Some items:

Democrats Are Anxious About 2022 — and 2024,” Thomas Edsall wrote in the New York Times last month:

In the wake of the 2020 election, Democratic strategists are worried — very worried — about the future of the Hispanic vote. One in 10 Latinos who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 switched to Donald Trump in 2020. . .

The 2020 expansion of Republican voting among Hispanics and Asian-Americans — and to a lesser extent among African-Americans — deeply concerns the politicians and strategists seeking to maintain Democratic control of the House and Senate in 2022, not the mention the White House in 2024.

It was initially thought that Hispanic men were attracted to the “macho” Trump, but as the data has come in, it appears that Trump improved his performance more with Hispanic women than men, which will add to Democratic paranoia. Another Times story:

Conducted by the Democratically aligned research firm Equis Labs, the report found that certain demographics within the Latino electorate had proved increasingly willing to embrace Mr. Trump as the 2020 campaign went on, including conservative Latinas and those with a relatively low level of political engagement.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump outperformed his 2016 showing among Latino voters, earning the support of about one in three nationwide. . .

Driving up turnout among low-propensity voters — something that Senator Bernie Sanders had sought to do during his campaign for the Democratic nomination — did not necessarily translate into gains for Democrats in the general election, the study found. People who were likely to vote generally grew more negative on Mr. Trump’s job performance over the course of 2020, but among those who reported being less likely to participate in the election, his job approval rose.

Translation: The Democratic push to expand voting participation might not be the slam dunk for their side that they think.

Are minorities defecting from Democrats because Democrats aren’t reminding them of racism enough? Let’s go back to Edsall:

The increased level of support for the Republican Party among minority voters has raised the possibility that the cultural agenda pressed by another expanding and influential Democratic constituency — well-educated, young activists with strongly progressive views — is at loggerheads with the socially conservative beliefs of many older minority voters — although liberal economic policies remain popular with both cohorts. This social and cultural mismatch, according to some observers, is driving a number of minority voters into the opposition party. . .

Robby Soave writes in Reason:

While the Democratic Party pulled off a complete (albeit narrow) victory over Donald Trump and the Republican Party in 2020, they lost ground with nonwhite voters—despite significantly raising the salience of racial justice issues during the campaign.

According to progressive pollster David Shor, it’s time to face the facts: The cultural views of very highly-educated, very left-leaning white people are toxic for many nonwhite voters who would otherwise support the Democratic Party.

“I don’t think a lot of people expected Donald Trump’s GOP to have a much more diverse support base than Mitt Romney’s did in 2012,” Shor told New York magazine in a recent interview. “But that’s what happened.”

Shor pointed to two specific associations—socialism and the “defund the police” movement—that appear to have tarnished the Democratic Party in the eyes of minority voters.

Some thoughts going forward: Right now, it seems likely that the economy will enjoy a boom—maybe a considerable boom—over the next year as we come out of the pandemic and the huge sugar high of Biden’s reckless spending rolls out. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that Democrats will benefit in next year’s midterm. Look back at 1966, when  the economy was booming under LBJ, but voters didn’t like the excesses of the Great Society. Republicans had one of their best midterm elections, picking up over 40 House seats.

If Biden governed from the center, and, for example, struck a deal with the 10 Republican Senators who offered a compromise on the third pandemic relief bill, as well as the proposed infrastructure bill, he might blunt some of the likely backlash against his high-octane Progressivism, as well as dividing his Republican opposition.

In this regard a report in Politico‘s “Playbook” earlier this week is notable:

“It’s a f—ing nightmare.”

That was the lament of a staffer working for one of the members of the so-called G-10, the group of 10 Republican senators who insist they’re itching to negotiate deals with the White House. . .

They see a White House “constantly rubbing dirt in the face of Republicans” over the party’s lack of interest in bipartisanship while “passing as many partisan bills as they possibly can through reconciliation before they lose the House in 2022.”

With a 50/50 Senate and nearly even House, this does seem like really bad politics on Biden’s part.

The early line: Republicans are going to sweep both houses of Congress next year.

More fine grained detail on what’s going on with minority voters from Seth Kalkala in the American Spectator here.

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