As American voters start to pay greater attention to what is expected to be a very close presidential election in 2024, both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party need to read a recent posting by Ruy Teixeira on The Liberal Patriot. The headline is of his post is:
It’s Official! The Democrats Have a Nonwhite Voter Problem
What makes this post especially noteworthy is that Teixeira is the coauthor of “The Emerging Democratic Majority” a book that suggested that demography was destiny for the Democratic Party. It suggested that by extrapolating demographic trends, the total number of nonwhite voters in America would eventually make up nearly a quarter of the electorate. It further suggested if these voters voted solidly Democratic, they would provide a formidable advantage for Democratic candidates, especially, but not limited to Democratic presidential candidates. As a result, it predicted the Democratic Party could dominate American politics for the foreseeable future.
The key words are: if these voters voted solidly Democratic.
Recently polling of nonwhite voters suggests they are not likely to vote solidly Democratic in the 2024 presidential election and perhaps beyond.
A recent survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life reports the following: 57% of nonwhite voters say President Biden has accomplished little or nothing during his time in office. Close to 50% consider the Democratic Party too extreme, think it bases decisions more on politics than common sense and supports policies that interfere too much in people’s lives. Over two-fifths do not see the Democrats as sharing their values. And over a third think Democrats look down on people like them, do not value hard work and aren’t patriotic.
In The Liberal Patriot’s recent survey of American voters conducted by YouGov, most nonwhite voters believe the Democratic Party has moved too far left on both economic and cultural/social issues. On economic issues, 57% of these voters say Democrats have moved too far left. On cultural and social issues, 56% say the same.
All these numbers lead one to ask what is next?
It all depends on if or how the Republican Party and the Democratic Party adjust their election strategies going forward.
Democrats could win back support from disgruntled nonwhite and select disgruntled white voters with two strategies. The first is addressing a growing perception by nonwhite voters that their longtime and solid support of Democratic candidates has been and is taken for granted. The second is embracing more moderate positions and actions on a wide range of economic and social issues.
Republicans could recruit and retain support from disgruntled nonwhite voters with two strategies. The first strategy is addressing a perception that the GOP is an exclusive club that does not understand or care about nonwhite voters. The second is working more effectively on engaging, energizing, and mobilizing nonwhite voters whose views are in sync with Republican positions and actions on public policy issues to vote Republican.
For both parties, pursuing these strategies have significant risks. Democrats risk alienating younger progressives who by nature are resistant to compromise and who are a steadily growing number of voters within the Democratic Party.
Republicans risk alienating older conservatives who by nature are resistant to change like expanded voter outreach and get out the vote efforts with nonwhite voters.
Between now and November 2024 it will be interesting to see if or how each party (assuming no third parties are viable) may maximize their opportunities and minimize their risks to accomplish the two goals of every political party – win elections and then govern in such a way to avoid the consequences of “buyer’s remorse” in subsequent elections.
David Reel is a public affairs/public relations consultant who serves as a trusted advisor on strategy, advocacy, and media matters who resides in Easton.