I hate to play Cassandra, the prophetess of doom, because I do like to look at life from a half-full glass perspective. I think that’s infinitely the healthier way to go. I also take comfort from such aphorisms such as “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” That is inspirational and comforting, to know that divine intelligence is on our side. We, the moral and the decent, may lose some battles but we will win the war. All that said, yesterday was a primary in many states, and we took a hell of a hit. Therefore, my mood right now is vacillating between somber and morose with dips down to despondent.
Tuesday’s results were bad, and the worst is yet to come. Here is where we are:
- Rep. Tom Rice was one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeached Donald Trump. Unlike others, Rice never wavered. Last night, the five-term incumbent was sounded beaten by his Trump-backed opponent. (Nancy Mace, whose grovel-tour took her to Trump Tower, survived.)
- An election-denier — who told NBC News he would not have certified the 2020 results— won the GOP primary for secretary of state in Nevada. (Trump-backed candidates also won primaries for senate and governor in a state that is now trending red.) As Politico’s Playbook notes this morning: “2020 election deniers are winning everywhere …It’s becoming more common than not for Republicans who support false election fraud theories to win GOP primaries. In many places, it is now the establishment GOP position.”
- Republicans flipped a once-solidly Democratic congressional seat in an overwhelmingly Hispanic district in Texas. The demographic shift is real.
- The cherry on top of this steaming pile of awful: A new USA Today Network/Suffolk University poll has right-wing conspiracist Doug Mastriano, within the margin of error in the race for governor.
- And I’m not going to even get into what’s happening with inflation, interest rates, or the stock market.
Happy f**king Wednesday.
There’s more to this, but this is the best thumbnail sketch you’re going to find today. it is a grave warning that Tom Rice went down in flames. He did the right thing, he voted the right way, and for that he’s a social pariah. This happened in Ohio, when Anthony Gonzalez found himself facing the same kind of backlash, for the same reason, because he was one of the ten. He chose to not seek reelection due to the threats against him and his family. He found the entire ordeal distasteful. Before all that happened I recall thinking that Gonzalez was the face of a new, sane Republican party, because he made sense when he spoke. I thought of the juncture between rational Republican and centrist Democrat, which is where most the real business of government gets done. Well, forget that idea. Next.
The fact that Rice lost and the Trump-endorsed candidate won is a real red flag against any kind of a new, sane Republican party. It is, rather than a flag, a red pointer arrow, and the sign it points to says, “Welcome to MAGA World, This Way Fascism.”
Another extremely sobering fact which was highlighted by last night’s primary is the fact that more and more Hispanics are voting Republican. This is more than a red pointer arrow, this is a goddamn rocket flare.
And this has been going on for some time. I remember Latinos For Trump putting on a demonstration in blazing blue California. I called an Hispanic friend and asked her what was going on. She said she had no idea but that people at the office had voted for Trump. I said, “Don’t they know that’s like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders?” No, apparently they do not.
This is a major, major issue that the Democrats need to get under control and I mean jimmy pronto. There is some crazed fallacy that the Hispanics identify as POCs. They do NOT! I can emphatically tell you, again, from living my entire life in both California and Colorado, which have a substantial Hispanic population, they do not identify with being POCs. I don’t want to say, “they consider themselves white people,” because that has a ghastly, inflammatory sound to it, but given a choice, if the Hispanics were polled, “Are you white or POC?” I believe they would choose white. This is the best I can articulate this. This is an abstract concept, but it can remain abstract no more because of what we are seeing in the primaries and the polls.
I do not know what the attraction to Donald Trump could be, unless it is the attraction of the outlier who made good. That is my best analysis and I’m shooting from the hip on this one. It could be that they like the image of Trump shaking things up and creating opportunity for himself in politics. Maybe that’s it. But they’re not looking at the fact that Trump shaking things up is shaking us towards autocracy and away from democracy. And it’s not going to be a better world for them. Trump hates Hispanics. They may consider themselves white but he does not. He sees them as “the other” and if that is not screamingly evident then I don’t know what else to say.
For more elaboration, read this terrific essay by Ruy Texeiera. I read this in December, when he published it. It sobered me then, but now it terrifies me.
Turning to the nature and size of recent Hispanic shifts against the Democrats—it’s not as bad as you think, it’s worse. Here are ten points drawn from available data about the views and voting behavior of this population. Read ‘em and weep.
1. In the most recent Wall Street Journal poll, Hispanic voters were split evenly between Democrats and Republicans in the 2022 generic Congressional ballot. And in a 2024 hypothetical rematch between Trump and Biden, these voters favored Biden by only a single point. This is among a voter group that favored Biden over Trump in 2020 by 26 points according to Catalist (two party vote).
2. In the same poll, Biden’s net approval rating among Hispanics was -12 (42 percent approval/54 percent disapproval), the latest in a string of poor approval ratings among Hispanics. Hispanics in the poll favor Republicans in Congress over Democrats on containing inflation and securing the border. They are strongly negative on the economy, with just 25 percent believing it is headed in the right direction, compared to 63 percent who believe it is headed in the wrong direction.
3. A recent 538 analysis of aggregated poll data shows that, while Biden has lost support among all racial groups in the last 9 months, the decline has been sharpest among Hispanics.
4. In Texas, perhaps the Democrats’ most prized target for their theory of the case, Biden’s ratings among Hispanics have been dreadful. A September Dallas Morning News poll had Biden’s approval rating among Texas Hispanics at an anemic 35 percent vs. 54 percent disapproval–19 points underwater. His approval rating on handling immigration at the border was even worse–29 points underwater. The latter rating is similar to Biden’s rating on the same issue among Texas Hispanics in the more recent Texas Tribune poll. […]
9. You can even see the pro-Trump Hispanic shift in New York City. An excellent analysis by Matthew Thomas shows:
Precincts where at least 50% of residents are Hispanic swung toward Trump by 18 points, with a quarter of voters now backing him for reelection. The shift was even more pronounced in precincts where at least 75% of residents are Hispanic, which had a swing of 25 points toward Trump. Out of all the ethnic enclaves in Queens, Hispanic areas showed the largest movement away from Democrats in 2020, a result consistent with national patterns.
10. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Democrats have seriously erred by lumping Hispanics in with “people of color” and assuming they embraced the activism around racial issues that dominated so much of the political scene in 2020, particularly in the summer. This was a flawed assumption. The reality of the Hispanic population is that they are, broadly speaking, an overwhelmingly working class, economically progressive, socially moderate constituency that cares above all, about jobs, the economy and health care.
The concept of Donald Trump as friend of the working man was insane. The only thing more insane is Donald Trump friend of the Hispanics. But that is apparently how they are seeing it.
The Democrats need to regroup and retool our thinking. We are in a world of hurt right now. And I frankly fear for November, on the facts of what went down in last night’s primary. I was optimistic about the results of other primaries. The crazy elements did better than I hoped, obviously, but not unexpectedly so. Last night was different. Now I think that the best case scenario that we can hope for is losing the House with a slim enough margin to where McCarthy and the Republican caucus won’t lose their damn minds and start impeaching and investigating everybody on day one, but maybe feel a little constrained.
That’s not much of a best case scenario. That’s hardly the stuff of which bucket lists are made. But I think we better put it on our bucket list because realistically, this might be as good as it’s going to get, all things considered.