Talking Points

Is the dream of an 'emerging Democratic majority' dead?

A new Wall Street Journal poll shows Hispanic voters evenly split between the two parties on the generic congressional ballot for next year's midterm elections. Perhaps even more shockingly, President Biden would only beat former President Donald Trump by a single point among these voters if the 2024 presidential election was held today.

It's just one poll, but it is part of a broader trend showing Hispanics beginning to vote more like non-Hispanic whites, and non-white conservatives voting more like white conservatives generally. As is the case among white voters, men tend to be more Republican, women more Democratic; other surveys have similarly found that religion and age also matter in terms of party affiliation.

This dashes much of the conventional wisdom of the Trump era. Many analysts hoped or feared his hardline immigration position, often articulated in a maximally incendiary fashion, would have a similar effect on Hispanic voters that the nomination of Barry Goldwater — one of only six Republican senators to vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — did with Black voters. As late as 1960, GOP presidential candidates still received a third of the Black vote; after Goldwater, they never again made it out of the teens, even in elections where they won 49-state landslides.

Instead, the opposite outcome is occurring: Republicans are holding steady and actually appear to be making inroads with non-white voters, even as white liberals experience their "Great Awokening" on race. There's some evidence that the two phenomena are connected. Even pre-Trump, there was considerable optimism among liberals that a Rainbow Coalition of racial minorities would bring about the emerging Democratic majority. Now, maybe not.

The latest polling has implications for some bits of conservative conventional wisdom, too. The notion that Hispanics are politically different from previous immigrant groups and that demographic change necessarily dooms the GOP (the darkest form of which is "replacement theory") are challenged, even if a multiracial working-class party's immigration policy is likely to look very different from the Chamber of Commerce's.

Republicans do best when immigrants assimilate, make economic progress, vote their values, and reject repressive political systems from whence they came, resisting their importation. As it happens, these things are best for America, too.