This op-ed was posted with a seriously truncated conclusion and no links, so I'm including the full version here.
Through a phenomenon called “linked fate,” small or marginalized groups tend to vote more as a unit rather than as individuals, assuming that without doing so they may not have a loud enough voice in the political system. However, exhaustion form a series of broken promises is breaking up these long-held strongholds.
The Black vote for Democrats dropped from 90% to 86% in 2022. While this seems like a small shift, it’s shocking for a population whose vote has often been taken for granted by the party of the donkey. The Latino vote for Democrats dropped from 69% to 60%, a much more precipitous shift in a far less unified population. Most familiar is the distinction between conservative Cubans who fled the Castro regime versus more liberal Mexicans, many of whom have undocumented family members. But last year, Mexicans in Miami flipped famously Democratic Dade County for Republican Governor Ron deSantis. What’s going on here, and is it a harbinger of things to come? To quote Glenn Loury, social science is harder than physics, but knowing something about the specifics of Black and Latino culture can show us why tensions with an increasingly left-wing Democratic Party are rising.
First, it shouldn’t be assumed that Black and Latino voters are unconcerned with border security. Legal immigrants can be surprisingly frustrated with leniency for those who didn’t have to endure the same exhausting process they did. And to the extent that these minority groups are overrepresented among the working class, new immigrants are often painted as challengers for jobs or wages. This is largely untrue, unless we’re referring to the tiny percentage of the population without a high school diploma. Most people aren’t aware of how much immigration boosts the American economy. But even if they do favor more open borders, It’s fairly obvious that we could secure the border while making the immigration process easier and come to a reasonable compromise. Therefore, many conclude that the immigration issue is such a great political football, nobody in Congress really wants to solve it, including the Democrats.
Second, Black church tradition and the Catholicism of many Latinos, government growth is more positive than in the white church. But minority Christians are still conservative on matters o
f sexuality and gender. While acceptance for gay marriage shot up after Obergefell with an it-doesn’t-really-affect-me shrug, the cultural push for adolescent transgenderism, polyamory, and the normalization of kink is simply a bridge too far for these religious folks. With Democratic mainstays like the teachers unions representing some of the biggest supporters of such movements, many minority parents are furious.
This only adds more fuel to the fire for Black and Latino complaints about inadequate schools and unacceptable crime rates in their neighborhoods. Minority parents tend to support school choice despite stern Democratic opposition. While Black Americans polled in 2020 agreed that they’d like to be treated better by the police, 80% said they wanted either the same or more police in their neighborhoods. Education and crime are not abstract talking points, but practical, day-to-day matters that deeply affect us. I met a Black lobbyist who had returned from stumping for left-leaning policies in D.C. Upon returning to his Chicago neighborhood, however, he thought, “What difference did our policies make? Is anything any better?”
While the Democrats used to be associated with the worker, they are now associated with college educated elites, and studies show that the further left one goes, the richer and whiter one gets. Minority Democratic voters are the most centrist of their party. While Republicans were once the party of establishment business-types, they now seem to care about the ignored and disdained American worker – of whatever color. Black incomes went up so much between 2017 and 2019 that the Black poverty rate dropped below 20% (to 18%) for the first time in American history. Furthermore, Black and Latino Americans have always been a
mongst our most entrepreneurial citizens, and feel keenly the layers of regulation that favor entrenched fat-cats while blocking small start-ups, COVID restrictions included.
There’s only one way the Republicans can screw this up, and they very well may. Republicans have become notorious for their willingness to flagellate struggling communities for their failures. The tone of condemnation doesn’t encourage or attract. A new wave of Black and Latino Republicans a la Tim Scott must do justice to the historical struggle of minority communities while favoring conservative policies. Candace Owens-esque negativity is a losing proposition.
Rachel Ferguson is the Director of the Free Enterprise Center at Concordia University Chicago, Assistant Dean of the College of Business, and Professor of Business
Ethics. She is an affiliate scholar of the Acton Institute and co-author of Black Liberation Through the Marketplace: Hope, Heartbreak, and the Promise of America. Her commentary has been featured at National Review, the Christian Post, the Acton Power Blog, Discourse Magazine, Law and Liberty, EconLib, and the Online Library of Liberty.