Biden and the Risk of No Longer Being a Majority among Minorities

Inflation, unkept promises and foreign policy are putting support for the president among Blacks and Latinos at risk: despite the specter of Trump
MARCO MICHIELI
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According to a poll conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University on a sample of one thousand respondents, former President Trump would have an advantage over President Biden among Latino and young voters. The poll showed that Biden would get 34 percent support among the Latino voters interviewed compared to 39 percent for Trump, a sharp decline from 2020, when 65 percent voted for the Democrat.

The president is also losing support among Black American voters interviewed: only 63 percent would be willing to vote for Biden, compared to 87 percent in 2020. Support from younger voters has also eroded. In 2020, Biden led Trump by 24 points among those under 35, but today the Republican leads among that group of voters with 37 percent compared to Biden’s 33 percent.

While the poll has been criticized for its small sample size, it highlights a trend that other pollsters have highlighted: the coalition that helped Biden win in 2020 is not a given, and this fact risks jeopardizing the Democrat’s chances of winning.

Already a few weeks ago, polling guru Nate Cohn wrote in the New York Times that Biden was turning into Trump as far as his base is concerned: it is the older, white voters who seem more solid in their support for the president. According to the poll that accompanied Cohn’s comments, today Biden would be defeated by Trump in all six undecided states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – all won by the Democrats last time. The poll found that, support for Biden among non-white voters in these states fell 33 points compared to 2020, and that the more diverse a state is in the composition of its population, the worse Biden’s performance. Furthermore, former President Trump’s support among Black voters in these states has risen to 22 points, a result defined by the Times as something never seen “in presidential politics for a Republican in modern times”. Biden’s advantage among Hispanics in these states would also be limited and far from the 30 points or more that usually divide the Democratic and Republican consensus in this group of voters.

This trend is also confirmed by other polling. According to a CBS News/YouGov poll, Latino voters are much more likely to say their finances would improve under Trump than under Biden; and most Black voters don’t expect their finances to change if Biden wins again.

The reasons for this loss of consensus could be attributed to the difficulty of holding together a composite coalition and the failure to realize multiple promises – federal legislation on voting rights, police reform, clear paths to citizenship for immigrants – none of which was accomplished, not even when Democrats controlled Congress.

Latino voters are more attentive to the economy than immigration

According to Axios, Democrats are slowly losing ground to Latinos in rural areas because they have shaped their agenda around college-educated white and Latino voters. According to various reports on the news site, for example, Latino ranchers and farmers in northern New Mexico view Democrats’ positions on endangered species protection as a blow to ranchers’ grazing rights, a position that would push many of them today to vote for the Republicans, who are less aggressive regarding forestry regulations.

Furthermore, the oil and gas industry remains vital to the economic well-being of this constituency, and the transition to renewable energy, one of Biden’s goals, risks harming Latino workers, who in some states represent the backbone of the workforce in that sector.

More generally, Latino voters would be very skeptical about assistance programs and more conservative from a social point of view, and therefore far from the progressive young wing of the Democrats. According to Democratic and Republican analysts interviewed by Axios, while Democrats talk about climate change they fail to consider that many Latinos work in lucrative jobs in the oil fields of New Mexico and West Texas; while they talk about diversity, they oust moderate Latinos; while they talk about immigration, they do not consider that this electoral group places economic problems at the top of their concerns, while immigration is in fifth or sixth position.

This analysis is also shared by the Los Angeles Times. According to the California newspaper, the Latino electorate is moving away from the narrative of the immigrant in difficulty favored by Democrats and is moving towards a “worker” identity that reflects its non-Latino counterparts.

That change has also had repercussions on the Spanish-language media giant, Univision. The network, which the Democratic Party has historically relied on to convey its message and contribute to voter turnout among Latinos, is adapting its content, as happened recently when it decided to air a long, controversial and friendly interview with former President Trump. It was a choice dictated by the need to recover viewers, now that the slowdown in immigration rates and the explosion in the number of mainly English-speaking Latin Americans born in the United States threaten their hegemony in this electoral bloc.

According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Latinos ages 5 and older spoke English proficiently in 2022, up from 65 percent in 2010. Immigrants also now make up a declining share of the Latino population in 2021, 32 percent compared to 37 percent in 2010. Over the same period, Latino births in the United States outpaced immigration from Latin America. The U.S.-born Latino population grew by 10.7 million, while the immigrant population grew by just 1.1 million, a ratio of more than 10 to 1.

Although Trump appeared to be the anti-Latino candidate in 2016, in 2020 he increased his share of the vote among this constituency to an astonishing 38 percent. And Republicans are working aggressively to increase that share for 2024.

Disappointment among Black voters, including broken promises and concerns about the Israel-Palestine conflict

The support of Black voters helped President Joe Biden secure the Democratic nomination and the presidency in 2020. But today this support appears to be in difficulty as various polls testify. For example, an Ipsos/Washington Post poll found that only 34 percent of Black voters say Biden’s policies have helped them, while 14 percent say they have hurt the Black community and nearly half (49 percent) say these policies have made no difference.

As with Latinos, much of the problem is economic, particularly rising inflation, with soaring gas, food and housing prices. But the disappointment goes beyond concerns about rising costs.

Black Americans turned out in large numbers in 2018 and 2020. However, in the 2022 midterm elections, there was a noticeable decline in Black voter turnout. According to Van Jones, a longtime CNN commentator, the lack of enthusiasm for the sitting president stems from the widespread feeling that the Democrats have made too many promises but that few have been fulfilled: from the protection of voting rights to important police reform to potential reparations for slavery. None of these issues have been successfully addressed. Indeed, the various reforms that have been attempted failed in Congress, a situation that could take a turn for the worse, according to Jones. Indeed,

While support for Ukraine is not an advantage among these voters, another foreign policy issue also appears to put Biden in trouble with this constituency: the conflict in the Middle East. While there is no data on the specific positions of Black voters on the conflict, polls show that Black voters are less likely to endorse Biden’s public support for the Israeli government in its military action in Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas attack on 7 October.

A growing number of Black Americans see the Palestinian struggle in the West Bank and Gaza as part of their own fight for racial equality and civil rights. In 2014, protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which erupted after the police killing of black teenager Michael Brown, giving rise to the nascent Black Lives Matter movement, received support from Palestinians in the occupied West Bank who tweeted advice on how to manage the effects of tear gas. In 2020, the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer resonated in the West Bank, where Palestinians drew comparisons to their experiences of brutality under the occupation, and a huge mural of Floyd appeared on the Israel’s imposing separation barrier.

But this closeness to the Palestinian cause does not only concern the Black Lives Matter movement. The group Black Christian Faith Leaders for Ceasefire took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, calling on President Joe Biden for “an immediate bilateral ceasefire in the Middle East for the sake of our common humanity and our collective security.” More than nine hundred Black American Christian leaders, representing churches across the country, supported the letter. Prior to the announcement’s release, the letter’s signatories met with White House officials and the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss their concerns regarding the war between Israel and Gaza, particularly the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

According to The Guardian, this is a difficult situation for Biden. Losing the support of black churches could prove to be a problem. Historically, Black churches have been instrumental in electing Democratic candidates. For example, the Black Church PAC, which co-signed the letter with Leaders for Ceasefire, has been instrumental in mobilizing Black and religious voters, hosting virtual events, text-a-thons, voter registration drives, and digital organizing workshops, and organized a bus tour where it hosted pop-up events to further engage voters. The group reached more than 30,000 people, made nearly 45,000 phone calls, and trained more than 2,500 clergy leaders in election protection.

This obviously doesn’t mean that this group of voters will vote for former President Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee next year (the latest NBC News poll finds 69 percent of Black voters supporting Biden and 20 percent Trump). The problem is that of mobilization and voter turnout. Black voters, like Latinos, may not turn out in the same numbers as in previous years, or they may vote for third-party candidates, with devastating effects for Biden in the crucial states – Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada – a combination of which Biden needs to win to remain in the White House.

Translation by Paul Rosenberg

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Biden and the Risk of No Longer Being a Majority among Minorities ultima modifica: 2024-01-09T21:00:23+01:00 da MARCO MICHIELI
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