Monday, December 02, 2019

The Democrats may be in trouble

First the inevitable caveat: We are eleven months out from the general election and that is close to eternity in politics. Polls this far out tend to pick the winning party about 50% of the time. So toss a coin, your odds are about the same. And of course, we all know that when you are dealing with the chaos president, anything can happen right up to election day.

With that out of the way, there are two warning signs for Democrats, that all is not well. The first is that the public hearings on impeachment have thus far fallen flat. To the extent that public opinion has moved, it may actually have done so in Trump's favor. I would note that the moves are within the margin of error. But still this cannot be encouraging when considering the prospect of a Senate trial. At the moment it's extremely doubtful that they will get a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate. More worrying is that a large number of moderate Democrats may vote against impeachment. That would be a political disaster for Democrats going into a national election year.

But the news may be even worse.

Two recent polls, one by Emerson College and one from Rasmussen, put black support for Trump above 30 percent. This produced shock waves discernible in every state in the Union and caused some political pundits to issue tsunami warnings. Assuming those polls are even remotely accurate, their significance cannot be overstated.

African Americans have been the Democratic Party's most reliable constituency since the 1960's. And it is one that they have come to rely on more and more as the party has alienated working class whites. Let me spell this out in very blunt language.

I don't care which candidate you are talking about. There is no realistic path for any Democrat to the White House that does not require around 90 percent of a heavy black voter turn out. If Donald Trump carries anything much over 15 percent of the black vote, it's game over.

Predictably, these polls have precipitated a variety of responses within the political left, ranging from denial ("fake news" was heard more than once) to despondency to some sober analysis of what may be going wrong.

On the latter point here are few thoughts. First, blacks are benefiting from the best economy since the 1920's. African American unemployment is at it's lowest level since reliable records have been kept. At slightly over five percent it's still higher than the national average, but by historical standards, it's not just good. It's really really good. Just who should get credit for the economy is a perfectly fair subject for debate. But Trump has been in office for three years and most Americans are giving him that credit, fairly or not.

Another factor may be that Democrats in their mad rush to the extreme left may have inadvertently alienated some of their supporters. The black community is nowhere near as liberal as some of the Democrats running for president. Polls have consistently shown that most blacks are uncomfortable with abortion on demand, and there is serious resistance to the left's victim group du jour. Namely those whom Dave Chappelle refers to as "the alphabet people."

It may surprise some to read this, but African Americans have one of the highest rates of religiosity of any demographic in the United States. (And at 87% self identifying with a religious church or denomination it is by far the highest among groups who traditionally vote Democratic.) I have long wondered how blacks can keep voting for a party that repeatedly and in so many ways disparages people of faith.

In any event, Democrats still have some time. But when a man like Robert Johnson (BET founder and the first black billionaire), a lifelong Democrat, warns they are on the path to defeat because they are abandoning the political center, you know things are not going according to plan.

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