The Left Doesn’t Own Minority Voters
Demographic transitions present political opportunities, but do not protect politicians from their own folly. The shift in most Western countries to a more racially and ethnically diverse demographic has been widely seen by left-wingers as an opportunity to cement their ascendancy.
Yet after early successes with this strategy, the parties of the left have witnessed the departure of some minority voters – Hindus in Britain, Asians in Australia, and Asians and Hispanics in the United States. In some cases, minorities are opting out of the intersectional bandwagon, which includes certain cultural attitudes, imposed progressivism in schools, and an increasing tolerance of crime.
Sadly, racialism and constant campaigns to address ‘systemic racism’ have driven a certain element of working-class whites not only in Trumpian America, but also in France, Britain, Germany and even Scandinavia, towards nativist, even openly racist, politics. As Michael Lind among others suggest, the fashionable focus on ‘white privilege’ and assigning original sin based on someone sharing DNA with settlers and slave owners also doesn’t work with the majority of Americans, who come from families who came to America after the Civil War. Meanwhile, crowing about ‘the end of white America’ might be popular in ethnic-studies departments, but it does not translate into a better life for most minorities.
Racial minorities’ shift to the centre and the right represents a healthy step, as it undermines the racialist, us-versus-them rhetoric shared both by the nationalist right and the intersectional left. Once politicians begin addressing people as people, with their own interests, and not as artefacts of their own heritage, we can look to employ diversity not as a weapon, but as an asset.
When you ask them, most people of color do not generally share the politics of the faculty-lounge racialists. Nor do most Americans. The overall PC agenda, built around identity politics, is rejected by 52 per cent of Americans, according to a recent NPR poll. Opposition to PC is even greater among Latinos. The vast majority of all races, noted a 2018 survey, reject the woke anti-racist meme, even as it is widely adopted by the billionaire class and corporate HR departments.
Critically, the vast majority of Americans – including millennials and minorities – do not favor defunding the police, even as these policies are pushed in their name. Most American voters – by wide margins – also reject the notion of teaching concepts derived from critical race theory in schools, even though this effort is supported by most Democrats, powerful teachers’ unions and the White House.
Given these dichotomies, minority pushback was inevitable. Last month New Yorkers, and particularly the African-American community, voted in a former cop, Eric Adams, as mayor. Minority voters also backed more conservative candidates in Buffalo and Seattle. Many Asian voters in New York did not find Adams conservative enough, and instead switched to the Republican, Curtis Sliwa. They also shifted towards Trump in 2020.
These are not isolated incidents. Minorities tilted more strongly to the GOP in the remarkable win in Virginia in November, which delivered a West Indian as lieutenant governor and a Cuban-American as attorney general. The most critical shift to the right is taking place among Latinos, the US’s largest minority, with support for Democratic house candidates down from over 60 per cent to 37 per cent in just a year. The shift is profound in the predominantly Latino, historically Democratic stronghold of South Texas. In part, this is a reaction to Joe Biden’s seeming abandonment of border defences, resulting in a five-fold increase in a year in ‘encounters’ between migrants and law enforcement.
At the heart of this shift lies a cultural chasm of historic proportions. The growing disconnect between minorities and progressives reflects how tone deaf progressives are to the diverse views and interests of racial minorities. This is particularly evident on social issues.
Read the rest of this piece at Spiked.
Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.
Homepage photo: Tony Webster, via Flickr, CC 2.0 License.