Concerns are rising among Democratic operatives that two of the party’s most reliable voting blocs, African Americans and Hispanic Americans, will not turn out in November’s midterms as reliably as they have in past years.
According to Axios, the primary cause of this fear is the fact that President Donald Trump notably improved his margins with black and Latino voters in 2020. In that election, Biden won 87 percent of black voters to Trump’s 12 percent, while Biden took 65 percent of Latinos to Trump’s 32 percent. In both cases, Trump increased his share of the minority vote by 4 points compared to his 2016 result.
Now, multiple trends, polls, and the outcomes of several special elections over the course of the year indicate that the shift of minority voters away from the Democrats is most likely continuing, if not accelerating, in 2022. In September, minority-owned public opinion research group HIT Strategies released its own “Blacktrack” survey regarding the political leanings of black Americans: It found that 78 percent of black voters plan to vote for the generic Democratic ballot, with 10 percent supporting Republicans. This 68-point margin marks a 7-point decrease from Biden’s 75 percent lead over Trump among this group in 2020.
And a poll released in October by NBC shows that just 54 percent of Latinos want Democrats to retain their majorities in Congress, with 33 percent supporting a Republican takeover. That makes a 21-point lead for Democrats, which is down 12 points from Biden’s 33 percent lead over Trump in the same demographic two years earlier.
Several Democratic operatives reacted to the news by pointing out that Democrats had become complacent in assuming minorities would always support them.
“Don’t just presume that voters of color are a turnout universe,” said Bill Burton, a former Obama Administration official. “We have to treat them as a persuasion universe. There’s a lot of work to be done with voters of color, especially with men because they weren’t as moved by the Dobbs decision.”
“You have Black men and Brown men who are open to shopping at this point,” said Cyrus Garrett, the former African American political director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). “We are open to being transactional.”
These two voting blocs are seen as crucial to several key swing states in November, including the tightest races for the U.S. Senate. Black voters could make a difference in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, while Latino voters make up significant portions of the electorate in Arizona and Nevada.