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For years, Democrats have preached the gospel of changing demographics.
As the country diversified, they argued, the electorate would inevitably tilt in their favor and give their party an unbeatable advantage.
Well, the country is more racially diverse than ever. But exit polls suggest Joe Biden lost ground among Latin American, black, and Asian-American voters in 2020 compared to Hillary Clinton’s performance in 2016.
It turns out that demography is not a political fate. But degrees could well be.
The clearest way to understand the results of the 2020 election – and, perhaps, the changing state of our politics – is through the voting gap in education. Voters with college degrees flocked to Mr Biden, emerging as the crucial voting bloc in the suburbs. Those who did not have continued their flight from the Democratic Party.
“The overall problem is that the Democratic Party increasingly reflects the cultural values and political preferences of educated whites,” said David Shor, a data scientist who advises Democratic campaigns and organizations. “Culturally, working class non-whites have more in common with working class whites.”
The changes were marginal: Voters of color still overwhelmingly supported Mr Biden, sticking with the Democratic candidate as they had for decades. But these small fluctuations suggest the possibility of a broader realignment of US policy. Political parties, after all, are dynamic. Coalitions can and do.
Think about how Democrats have won over the past four years. In 2018, they toppled wealthy, diverse suburbs and increased their margins in cities to take control of the House of Representatives. Mr Biden followed the same path to the presidency: A New York Times analysis found he had improved Ms Clinton’s performance in suburban counties by about five percentage points on average.
What else do these areas have in common? They are more likely to be dominated by highly qualified voters.
One way to look at this county-by-county trend is to look at the number of voters who have white or blue collar jobs. (I know, your boyfriend was never a college graduate and is now making a killing as a real estate broker. It‘s not a perfect measure but a pretty good indicator of education, given the economic data available.)
The results were striking. Of the 265 counties most dominated by blue-collar workers – fields where at least 40% of employed adults have jobs in construction, the service sector or other non-professional fields – Mr Biden won only 15, according to data from researchers at the Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan policy research group.
On average, the counties’ workforce won by Mr Biden was around 23% blue-collar workers. In counties won by President Trump, blue-collar workers made up an average of 31% of the workforce.
This is not a new trend. For decades, Democrats traded support from union members for broader support from professional classes. And the GOP, once the party of college-educated white voters, has increasingly found support from white working-class voters.
Many Democratic primary voters saw Mr. Biden as being in a unique position to cut the Republican advantage with the working class. For decades, he built his political brand as a rambling kid from Scranton, Pa. Who became just another guy on the train to work. The rallying cry for his campaign over the past few weeks was, “This election is Scranton vs. Park Avenue.”
But Mr Biden did worse than Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012 and 2008 in counties dominated by blue collar workers.
This result should frighten Democratic strategists about the future of their party, Mr Shor said, because of structural dynamics like the electoral college which gives rural areas political influence far beyond the size of their population. .
If Democrats can’t win blue collar workers in less populated areas – or at least cut some of their losses – gaining control of the Senate or the White House will become very difficult. And with Republicans maintaining their grip on state legislatures, Democrats may find themselves cut off from some of those friendlier suburban seats when districts are redesigned after the census.
“It is very difficult for us to imagine that we will take the Senate by the end of the decade,” Mr. Shor said. “And it would be very difficult to win the presidency. Our institutions are very biased specifically against this coalition that we are in the process of setting up.
Georgia is on my mind this week. (Yes, I know, low shot.)
With control of the Senate based on two second-round elections, the political world injects money and resources into the state. But as we reported this week, things are getting a little… complicated.
Unsurprisingly, the cause of the political chaos is President Trump. As he continues to make unsubstantiated claims about the presidential election results in Georgia – a state he lost – Republicans fear his attacks will reduce their turnout in the Jan.5 runoff.
Some Trump allies in the state have urged Tories to boycott the election or write on behalf of Mr. Trump – an option not even on the run-off. Although Mr. Trump and his campaign have tried to distance themselves from this effort, they have continued their drumbeat of attacks on Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, and other GOP election officials. Some Republican strategists feared the rhetoric might further alienate suburban voters, who helped Trump deal with his loss in Georgia, but may be more receptive to Republican run-off candidates, sitting Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue .
Mr. Trump is expected to campaign with them in Valdosta, Georgia on Saturday. Republicans are unsure if his remarks could do more harm than help, especially if he remains unable to put aside some of his personal pique about his own loss.
… This is the new starting point for negotiations for another pandemic relief bill.
As coronavirus cases increase and the economy shows signs of weakening, Democrats made a big concession – they had demanded at least $ 2 trillion – to push Republicans and the Trump administration to pass legislation compromise.
In addition to ending a several-month congressional standoff, passing stimulus legislation could help the new Biden administration take office on slightly stronger economic foundations.
I didn’t think anything could top Rudy Giuliani’s dripping face.
I was wrong.
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