There wasn’t a clear winner in the 2020 presidential race until Tuesday night. Nor is it likely to show up later in the week when the votes in slow-counting swing states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan are fully tabulated. It is clear, however, that the race for Joe Biden will not be a breakout as some had predicted. Biden has already lost Florida, the crucial swing state. He has also underperformed in Georgia and North Carolina. It looks like Biden will win, the trail runs through Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, with possible help from Arizona 2nd and Nebraska.
The race is much closer, in large part, because Biden does worse than Hillary Clinton with people of color, especially Latinos. Declare Trump’s Florida victory New York Times Poll analyst Nate Cohn Remarks that “Trump is doing much, much better in Hispanic and Cuban areas than in 2016. He is doing better in most black areas too. Biden * is * doing better in older and relatively white areas. … But not much – and that doesn’t cut it in different FL. ”
There was a consistent voting pattern for most of 2020, with Biden doing better than Hillary Clinton with white voters, while underperforming her with people of color. Clinton himself was worse than Barack Obama with people of color. So the current election follows a pattern that goes back almost a decade and in which Democrats lose their lead over people of color. Even if Biden wins, that pattern should give the party a break, especially since it does it against a notorious fanatic like Donald Trump.
If Trump does better with people of color, he has increased the Republican Party’s lead among white voters without a college degree for the same reason: class. Trump speaks the language of the bread-and-butter economy and promises jobs. Democrats, with the exception of the progressive wing of the party, have given up class language and instead focused on national unity. The problem with Trump is that Biden tells it that he is a divisive figure. Biden is bluntly critical of Trump’s bigotry. But Biden, like Clinton, is keen to persecute former Republicans, many of whom are suburban whites. By tailoring their message to these voters, Biden and Clinton have mitigated the economic populism that Democrats need to attract working-class voters.
As HuffPost Writer Zach Carter observed“The big change is that Democrats are losing ground among black and Latino voters. If so, then the Democrats must seek the soul and then step back. ”
The travesty of this election is that Biden’s problems with Latino voters were known. Biden did worse than Bernie Sanders among them. The Biden campaign could have turned to Sanders for advice on solving this problem. Instead, it did nothing.
As Politico reported in May:
Joe Biden won the primary despite and not because of his efforts to become Latinos. Two months later, Hispanic leaders are waiting for his campaign to fulfill their promises to do more.
In interviews, more than 20 Latino politicians, lawmakers and activists said they don’t see a game plan from Biden in the fall to effectively march Hispanic voters. They said there is little evidence that the campaign is providing the resources or hiring the personnel to do the job – even more important during a pandemic when it is nigh on impossible to reach and mobilize Latino voters through in-person solicitation .
Even if Biden wins, there has to be a soul search for both Democrats and Progressives. As Yale law professor, Samuel Moyn asks“How can the progressive outlook not require a major overhaul when it succeeds thanks to affluent suburbs with some signs of weakening minority support?”