AMAC Exclusive – Barry Casselman
One of the most carefully constructed U.S. political voter coalitions, fashioned over ninety years, is rapidly coming apart.
After a century of being on the wrong side of the nation’s critical civil and voting rights issues, the Democratic Party, under then new President Franklin Roosevelt, did an about-face in 1932-33, and began to appeal deliberately to women, black, Jewish, and other voter groups.
From the founding of the party until that point, Democrats had opposed the interests of blacks and women particularly. It was the then-new Republican Party, beginning in the mid-19th century, which had opposed slavery, advocated for civil rights, and supported giving women the right to vote — as Democrats consistently apologized for slavery, and opposed giving blacks and women the vote. As late as the first term of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, a segregationist and opponent of women’s suffrage, this trend continued. Wilson finally was forced to reluctantly support the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Widespread economic suffering from the Depression of the 1930’s gave Democrats the opportunity to reverse course by employing social welfare programs under Roosevelt’s New Deal. After World War II, these programs were expanded to assist a growing new middle class of workers and recent immigrants, giving the Democratic Party a large voter base of blacks, Hispanics, and women. President Truman’s support of the new state of Israel solidified the already liberal Jewish voters, and later, Democrats began their outreach to Asian-American voters. Polling in this era indicated that blacks and Jews voted often 90% or more for Democratic presidential candidates, and that high percentages of Hispanic voters did, too.
Democrats had also become the party of more members of labor unions in this period, but the 1980 election of Republican Ronald Reagan saw many union and other blue-collar workers leaving the Democrat’s voter base.
Republican Donald Trump also made gains among workers and minority voters, but it was not until Joe Biden became president in 2021 that a truly great emigration from the Democratic Party has taken place.
Hispanic voters are generally religious, family-oriented — and many of them fled Marxist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. Many of them recoiled at the Biden policies toward Cuba, were upset by the flood of illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, and do not share the anti-religious and anti-family notions coming now from many Democratic Party elites.
Most black voters, many of them living in large urban areas, did not agree with the draconian “Defund the Police” measures of the radical Democrats, and are alarmed by the rising incidence of urban crime, of which they are often the victims. They have also seen the damage to black family life caused by decades of Democratic welfare programs which discourage employment, fatherhood, and entrepreneurship. A majority of blacks still automatically vote for Democrats, but the one-sided support is fading with each election.
Mr. Biden’s energy, trade and regulatory policies have collided with the job security and economic interests of a great many workers, both union and non-union. While labor leaders mostly remain pro-Democratic and still fund the party, many rank-and-file workers are now voting Republican, and are likely to contribute notably to the potentially big GOP congressional gains in 2022.
Suburban women, many of whom voted for Donald Trump in 2016, returned in large part to the Democrats in 2018 and 2020. Democratic strategists are hoping that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will keep suburban women in the Democratic fold, but polling suggests that, while Mr. Trump is still not popular with suburban women and many still are ardently pro-choice, most feel strongest about economic and crime issues, and are unhappy with the Democrats’ performance on these issues so far.
The latest group to move away from the Democrats are Asian-Americans, most of whom value entrepreneurship, education, and family cohesion. New studies and polling show that many in this group are turned off by recent trends of more radical ideas coming from Democratic policy makers.
The remaining old Democratic base consists mostly of long-time activists and urban dwellers. As the pandemic fades, most Americans, regardless of party ideology, are preoccupied with restoring their social and economic well-being. President Biden and his advisers seem indifferent to this as they attempt to bring about massive changes to social and economic American institutions. This appears to be an even greater cause for still more deterioration of their party’s traditional base.
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