A new internal report written by three Democratic Party interest groups sought to dissect and explain the party’s supposedly inexplicable losses in 2020. Where Democrats were confident that they would pick up five or six Senate seats, they picked up only three, two of them in the special election in Georgia. In the House, Republicans flipped an even dozen seats, coming within 5 seats of a majority.
Democrats won the presidency, but despite gaining majorities in Congress, they are still worried. Several factions within their coalition didn’t give them the support they were expecting. The minority vote — especially the Latino vote in Florida and Texas — fell far short of the numbers that would have given them victory.
So three interest groups that promote black and Hispanic candidates — Third Way, a centrist think tank; the Collective PAC; and the Latino Victory Fund — spent a couple of million dollars and interviewed candidates, campaign staff, ordinary voters, and party workers to determine what went wrong.
It was a waste. All they had to do was ask any Republican who didn’t live in New York or Los Angeles.
In part, the study found, Democrats fell short of their aspirations because many House and Senate candidates failed to match Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s support with voters of color who loathed Mr. Trump but distrusted the Democratic Party as a whole. Those constituencies included Hispanic voters in Florida and Texas, Vietnamese American and Filipino American voters in California, and Black voters in North Carolina.
Overall, the report warns, Democrats in 2020 lacked a core argument about the economy and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic — one that might have helped candidates repel Republican claims that they wanted to “keep the economy shut down,” or worse. The party “leaned too heavily on ‘anti-Trump’ rhetoric,” the report concludes.
They talked to all those people and spent all that money only to be told what everyone who wasn’t a left-wing partisan already knew? They should have given us the money and let us write the report.
Anti-Trump hysteria? Check. No economic plan except give everybody everything they want? Check.
It was more than that, of course. The partisans in the interest groups recognized the basic problem, but the report is not likely to result in any changes.
“Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has in some ways lost touch with our electorate,” Former Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said. “There is this assumption that of course people of color, or the working class, are going to vote for Democrats. We can never assume anything.”
Well, when the president of the United States and leader of the Democratic Party says differently, you know the Democrats have a huge problem.
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump then you ain’t black,” Mr. Biden said on a black radio show.
Representative Tony Cárdenas of California, who helms the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s political action committee, embraced that critique of Democratic messaging and said the party should discard the assumption “that voters of color are inherently more progressive.”
“That’s been a ridiculous idea and that’s never been true,” Mr. Cárdenas said, lamenting that Republicans had succeeded in “trying to confuse Latino voters with the socialism message, things of that nature, ‘defund the police.’”
But this is what black activists have been telling us for years — blacks want all these goodies because they’re socialists at heart. What was delusional then is delusional now. Blacks vote for Democrats for the same reason that most evangelical Christians vote for Republicans. They aren’t given any reason to support the other party.
It’s doubtful that Democrats will learn anything. Activists are already whining that the report blames them for the disaster. It’s true, but party leadership can’t point the finger at them and upset them even more. They need the activists to have any hope of winning in 2022.
Still, it’s fascinating to see the Democrats echoing Republican criticisms of their own party: too radical, no new ideas, and losing touch with the electorate.