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The Democrats’ Woke Bargain: Win White Elites but Lose Latinos and the Working Class

Operación VAMOS contra “Woke”

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For years, one of the most popular narratives explaining American politics was that the Democratic Party was the coalition representing blue-collar workers, coastal liberals, and minorities. Republicans, on the other hand, represented the business elites and more affluent white voters. That paradigm is rapidly becoming obsolete, as the Democrats’ woke bargain has left them popular with white elites but bleeding Latino and working-class support.  

This is not an RNC talking point aimed at boosting fundraising for the midterm elections. Rather, it’s a trend that has been registered by poll after poll and shatters the way Democrats see themselves. An NYT/ Sienna College survey shows that Democrats have far more support among white college-educated than with Hispanic voters, 57% of white college voters support Democrats, while only 41% of Latinos want to see the Democrats in control of Congress.

The non-college-educated white voter, used as a (disputed) totem of the white working class, also rebukes the Democratic Party in droves, as only 23% of them want to see the Democrats in control of Congress this November. Both of these data points are earth-shattering numbers for the beleaguered Democrats.

President Biden is deeply unpopular with Latino voters (EFE)

To put these numbers into context, Obama won more than 60% of the Latino vote and enjoyed just 50% of support among college-educated voters. Further, the former president won the vote of the people without a Bachelor’s degree in his first election, including those with or without a high school degree. That was fourteen years ago. Today, non-college-educated voters are the main political column of the GOP, and Latinos are becoming ever more disenchanted with the Democrats.  

Even among Black Americans, who are still overwhelmingly Democratic, the Democrat’s margins have begun to slip, as only 22% say they prefer to see Congress in the Democrats’ hands. However, it is important to note that only 3% want to see the Republicans win.

Why Latinos rebuke the Democrats’ woke bargain.

Why is this happening? Why are Democrats losing support with two blocs of voters that they have supposedly defended for years? If Democrats are the Party of the working class and minority voters, why are they then bleeding support there?

Although the answer to those questions will surely be the topic of countless academic papers, part of it might lie in the simple fact that the priorities and values of the college elite of the Democratic party are far different from the average Hispanic or white working-class voter.

In remarks to El American, political strategist Giancarlo Sopo colorfully illustrated this point. “Interestingly, Hispanics — culturally, economically, and spiritually — have much more in common with white working-class voters than with progressive Democrats. This 2022 iteration of the Democratic Party — that insists on calling us “Latinx” and thinks we’re unique as tacos — is pretty far removed from our community’s values. Your average Hispanic wants to come home after a long day of work and watch Caso Cerrado or Netflix, not hear a lecture on inclusive language. To paraphrase Encanto: ‘We don’t talk about pronouns, no, no, no, no.”

Ruy Texeira made a similar point in this article, arguing that “It should be thus no surprise that these voters are increasingly losing interest in the Party of abortion, gun control, and January 6th.”

WSJ - Congress - Census - El American
This year’s midterm will show if Republicans are able to consolidate their gains with Hispanic voters (EFE)

The NYT/Sienna survey confirmed what Sopo said. While most white college-educated voters cared mostly about issues like abortion, gun control, or the health of American democracy, Hispanics and non-college-educated whites were more concerned about ramping inflation or the economy. A similar Echelon poll shows that even the values between the college-educated and Latino electorate are the polar opposite of how they view America, racism, policing, etcetera. In general, while progressives hold overwhelmingly fatalist views on America or more “woke” social ideas, Latinos hold more optimistic views towards America and conservative perspectives on many (albeit not all) social issues.

Whether Democrats will pay attention to the data and change their course remains to be seen. After all, it might be true that their current strategy, to energize white college-educated voters to go to the polls by focusing on abortion or gun control, works in the end. However, the price to pay for the Democrats’ woke bargain is to do a 180 on their mythology and leave Latinos and white working-class Americans in their back mirror.

Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.

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