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Minority voters and the legitimacy presumption for Republican candidates

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I don’t mean to pick on him because he’s generally a good commenter, but something Ben in RVA posted in response to the claim that demographic changes are a huge problem for the GOP nicely illustrates the massively generous grading curve that Republican candidates get whenever less than 97% of a non-white subgroup of voters vote against them:

The Republican panic over “changing demographics” isn’t even necessary. They did great among Hispanic men last election. And, no, it wasn’t “just the Cubans”.

All the prattle about “changing demographics” transforming American society (whether for good or for ill) is going to look mighty dumb in 2060.

Let’s look at how “great” Trump did (I don’t have numbers for Republican candidates overall) with Hispanics in general and Hispanic men in particular in the 2020 election. This is from an analysis done at UCLA earlier this year, that didn’t rely on exit polls:

This report offers a comprehensive look at the Latino vote in the 2020 presidential election by analyzing votes cast in 13 key states that are home to 80% of the nation’s Latinos.  By analyzing ballots cast rather than relying on exit polls, we reduce errors that emerge in exit interviews due to small samples, unrepresentative selection of survey respondents, incomplete understanding of early and absentee voters, and language bias.

Latino voters supported Biden over Trump by a nearly 3 to 1 margin in the counties we analyzed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Latinos chose Biden over Trump with a 2 to 1 margin or larger in the counties we analyzed in Texas, Georgia, and Washington, and in Florida outside of Miami-Dade.

In Arizona, the size of the Latino electorate and their overwhelming support for Joe Biden flipped the state from Republican to Democrat for the first time since 1996.

In Georgia and Wisconsin, where the difference between the winning and the losing candidate was roughly 12,000 and 21,000 votes, Latino voters’ strong support for Biden and growth in votes cast helped tip the state in favor of the Democratic candidate.

In Florida, the Latino vote is diverse and unique from the rest of the nation. Latinos in Miami-Dade supported Trump by a 2 to 1 margin, but Latinos in the rest of the state preferred Biden with a 2 to 1 margin. Overall, a majority of Latinos in Florida voted for Biden, not Trump.We estimate that 16.6 million Latino voters cast a ballot for the 2020 presidential election nationally. This represents a 30.9% increase, nearly double the nationwide 15.9% growth in ballots cast between the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. This was the single largest 4-year increase in Latino vote ever.

Latino voters supported the Democratic candidate, Joseph R. Biden, by very wide margins across the country, and consistent with margins won by Obama in 2008 and 2012.

As far as Hispanic/Latino men go, they voted for Biden over Trump by a 57 to 40 margin, which, being in that group myself, I find less than thrilling, BUT . . . White men voted for Trump over Biden by exactly the same margin. Think about that: what everybody acknowledges counts as overwhelming support for Trump among his strongest large demographic also counts as “great” support for Trump when Hispanic/Latino men vote for Biden by the same nearly 3 to 2 margin by which white men voted for Trump! (And yes, as the UCLA study numbers show, that 57 to 40 margin for Biden is still reduced significantly by the Florida Cuban vote, which remains somewhat sui generis.)

The more general point here, applicable to many racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, is that a level of support that would be considered absolutely catastrophic for a candidate if it were the level of support the candidate was receiving from white voters is considered a really good result for any Republican candidate who receives something other close to unanimous rejection from minority voters.

This is, I believe, yet another example of how white votes simply count more than other votes in the American political consciousness, which is one reason why the Supreme Court is A-OK with laws specifically designed to ensure that they literally count more, when the votes are finally counted.

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