Do Democrats Really Need White Voters?
But, they do need maximum turnout from a solid alliance of Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous and other non-White voters ... plus, maintaining the White voters they already get
In the aftermath of Ohio’s May 3rd primary two months ago, once anti-Trump now suddenly Trump-sponsored J.D. Vance’s convincing win in the Republican U.S. Senate primary there invited a tidal wave of primarily White Democrats and commentators who, on clock, opined incessantly about the need for Democrats to win over “working class” voters. Translated: White voters. They would, of course, have been better served by figuring out how they could get their money back by returning all those copies of Hillbilly Elegy they got hustled into buying. Yet, at the time, column sections in “mainstream” papers were flush with interpretations about “working class” and rural voters from Dan Balz in the Washington Post to Chloe Maxim and Canyon Woodard in the New York Times.
However, wooing White voters shouldn’t really be the Democratic Party’s top priority, despite a growing chorus of voices attempting to convince us that it is. Indeed, that conversation only serves as a distraction from the work Democrats must do, in earnest, during 2022: rallying and maximizing voter turnout from all eligible Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and other mostly non-White voters in every state, particularly where there are high residential concentrations of those voters.
Democrats have already hit their ceiling with White voters and should stop while they’re ahead.
Many a strategist will argue this kind of reasoning is counter-intuitive and self-defeating. But, is it really? The numbers speak for themselves.
The Shrinking Electorate
First: we should keep in mind that White voters as a share of the electorate have been fast shrinking since 1980. That’s only natural since the White non-Hispanic population is steadily receding in size, bringing us closer - and faster - to a much more diverse and non-White population …
And a much less White population by 2045, as projected by Census Bureau estimates …
This explains the frantic, and very violent push by Republicans - the official party of the majority White populace - to suppress Black and other non-White votes. An abundance of racial anxiety over the impending demographic shift is prompting Republicans to openly channel a resurgence of white nationalism that, if not blocked, will result in a newly designed modern American apartheid system.
As the White population rapidly shrinks, so does the size of its electorate. As the latest Census Bureau voter profile from 2020 shows, it’s shrunk steadily nearly 17 percentage points since 1980 ….
Hence, Democratic Party leadership really needs to start asking itself: Why should we invest so much time, energy and money into a shrinking electorate? That’s not really a viable long term strategy. It’s the same as placing bets on that nostalgic horse that everyone knows is aging and slowing down with each passing race.
With the White electorate rapidly shrinking, of course it’s not a great long term strategy to keep banking on White “working class” voters or any segment of that population to save your party and to blaze the way for better American politics. But, neither is it a viable short term strategy as 2022 approaches and 2024 will be just over the horizon. On average, since the historic election of Barack Obama as president in 2008, a quick analysis of presidential and Congressional midterm polls since then by theBEnote shows White voters supporting Democrats only 41 percent of the time on average. The following shows White voter turnout for Democrats in their corresponding election year since 2008 …
2000 - 42 percent White voter turnout for Democrats
2002 - 40 percent
2004 - 41 percent
2006 - 48 percent
2008 - 43 percent
2010 - 38 percent
2012 - 39 percent
2014 - 38 percent
2016 - 37 percent
2018 - 44 percent
2020 - 41 percent
So, over the past two decades of elections, just an average 41 percent of White voters in any cycle have voted consistently for Democrats. For 20 years, it never hit 50 percent. This has happened even as Democratic Party leadership has stressed over their pursuit of White voters in every recent election cycle. That emphasis has not paid much in extra dividends; it is gradually devolving into a chase for a mythical electoral unicorn. For the most part, the White electorate is not planning to shift their votes to Democrats or the political left in any significant way, anytime soon. So, why keep dreaming for something that won’t materialize? And why compete for an electorate that’s mostly become antagonistic as its demographic posture changes dramatically?
The BIPOC+ Alliance
Democrats should be focused, instead, on capturing as many Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and other non-White voters as possible, since non-White population groups are not just 1) the dominant future of American demography, but 2) they are an expanding share of the present American electorate. For lack of a better term, we’ll call this the “BIPOC Electorate.” This electorate is, at this moment in U.S. history, is best served by the Democratic Party agenda and the platforms of its very diverse array of candidates, elected officials and aligned interest groups. Clearly, this electorate is not best served - at all - by the Republican Party which is presently engaged in stochastic racist terrorism by operating as the political arm of a very dangerous white nationalist movement in America that is openly and very unapologetically anti-”people of color.”
In addition, as we witnessed most recently in 2020, a combined front of BIPOC voters - with Black voters leading the charge - supported by the consistent 41 percent of White voters who are not “white militant” and are even nominally friendly to BIPOC causes enough to vote for Democrats, should be sufficient for Democrats to win every election cycle. Let’s briefly take a look at 2020 exit polling numbers to understand the basic numerical superiority of what we’ll now call the “BIPOC+ Coalition Electorate” (BCE) or, simply, a Democratic Party-voting and anti-white nationalist coalition of BIPOC voters plus allied White voters.
In 2020, nearly 155 million people voted in the presidential election cycle. That was 61.3 percent of the registered electorate ….
This is how they voted by race, the most influential determinant of voter attitudes, in that election …
Drawing from the more recent Census Bureau data, here is a list of the primary racial demographic groups and their corresponding share of the electorate based on number of people …
White - 110 million (71 percent)
Black - 18 million (11.7 percent)
Latino - 16 million (10.6 percent)
Asian - 7 million (4.3 percent)
Other - 4 million (2.4 percent)
Out of the 110 million White voters who turned out in the 2020 election, an estimated 65 million went for Trump and an estimated 45 million went for President Biden. Of the 45 million BIPOC voters who turned out in 2020, slightly over 33.4 million BIPOC voters altogether voted for Biden along with 45.1 million White voters for a total of over 78.5 million voters for Biden altogether. That was compared to over 11.2 million BIPOC voters for Trump.
With just the 64 million White voters for Trump, it was a 14.5 million voter difference between between just those White Trump supporters and the combined BIPOC+White voters. Adding the 11.2 million BIPOC voters for Trump closed the gap dramatically, yet Biden BIPOC+White supporters still won by over 3 percentage points (78.5 million vs. 75.18 million). Even in this case, Trump and Republicans are relying heavily on a a White electorate that’s shrinking every cycle. And ultimately, 41 percent of Whites will still vote Democrat.