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Tipsheet

Democrats Could Alienate the One Voter Group They Cannot Afford to Lose

AP Photo/John Bazemore

There is an array of voter groups that you shouldn’t infuriate. This guiding principle applies to both parties. Making middle-class women angry is not a recipe for success, nor is being opposed to anything they support, which has made the gun control fight interesting. For the past decade, it’s been women and nonwhites leading the charge regarding shooting sports participation and obtaining their concealed carry permits. Then, there are partisan groups that neither party can lose. For Republicans, losing gun owners is usually an abysmal move, and blacks cannot lose black voters. Well, as we’re about to enter the final stages of the 2022 midterms, the latter group is making their dissatisfaction heard, but will it be a death knell more for Democrats?

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It will be a Republican-leaning electorate this midterm season, so I’m not sure Democrats will take these criticisms seriously, though they do so at their peril. It might be too late to accommodate the grievances filed by black voter activist groups. The Democrats have a lot hanging around their necks. High gas prices, an economic recession, and inflation are some of the major ones, along with the elephant in the room, which is that Joe Biden is an appalling leader of their party. This year is a wash, but Democratic operatives might be more receptive to tweaking the message for a presidential year. The main criticism from black voter groups is that Democrats aren’t playing to their issues and needs. Democrats are banking on white suburban women angry at the Dobbs ruling to bail them out (via The Hill):

As the U.S. grapples with the possibility of a recession and social upheaval following controversial Supreme Court rulings, growing Black voter dissatisfaction could have an outsized impact on the party in an election year where the scales already feel tipped toward the GOP.

“When we look at the challenges that this country is facing, from health care, to housing, to safety, these things are disproportionately impacting communities of color and Black communities specifically,” said Alicia Garza, principal of the Black to the Future Action Fund, an organization dedicated to building “black political power in cities and states,” according to the website.

But instead of addressing these issues on the ground in Black communities, Garza argued, Democrats have been focused on regaining white suburban voters, particularly white women. 

This is increasingly problematic when Black families are still reeling from the disproportionate economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, she added. 

A recent poll from the Black to the Future Action Fund showed economic recovery among Black Americans’ top concerns, as Black renters and mortgage holders found themselves behind on payments and concerns of food and housing security soared.

[...]

The numbers could serve as a warning to Democrats, who were bolstered in 2020 by Black voters, a demographic that has remained overwhelmingly loyal to the party. Adding to their concerns is a renewed effort by Republicans to court Black — as well as Hispanic and Asian — voters ahead of the midterms.

Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, argued that Democrats need to speak to those issues that are of top concern to Black communities long before an election — something they haven’t been doing.

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And this also won’t save them. Working class voters are flocking to the GOP; guess what—they also live in the suburbs. They outnumber the college-educated portions of the electorate in these areas, which is why liberals like Ruy Teixeira have criticized Democrats for misreading the suburban vote. Teixeira called the Democrats’ play in the suburbs “mathematically challenged.” There are just not enough voters of the liberal stripe to save Democrats. No doubt Kansas’ abortion vote is giving the Left a false sense of confidence. You have to chuckle at these types who think that abortion will top the economy in a cycle like this; not only that, but think Kansas’ failed pro-life amendment means a red wave isn’t coming. Kansas already bans public funding of abortion, has parental consent laws, and a 22-week ban in place. So, is it a victory for the Left? All these restrictions are viewed as anathema to progressives. Also, do we need a friendly reminder that this proposed voter initiative to change the Kansas state constitution was confusing, and the amendment's wording was not precisely clear-cut? Most voters, pro-lifers included, seemed content with the restrictions on abortion. 

Again, the misreading of election results will be more common as the Democratic Party’s operative class gets overtaken by a college-educated elite who have visions of an American electorate that simply does not exist. 

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We will have another fight among Democrats between doubling down on voter outreach to nonwhite voters in urban settings or trying to reclaim working class and suburban whites. This is an old debate, but a new front in this discussion is rising, which is that nonwhite working-class voters are beginning to drift into the GOP camp. It’s happening. And the Democrats’ current policy obsessions are not for these people. It’s almost as if Democrats thought they could, by default, bank on black voters to line up and vote for them in years past. More black voters are starting to think they’re getting a bad bargain with Democrats, who are now run by a woke, progressive, college-educated, and overwhelmingly white elite.  

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