For more than 60 years the Democratic Party has had a virtual lock on the Black and Hispanic vote. But thanks to President Joe Biden’s complete failure to address the border crisis and crime, people of color could shift their vote in large numbers to the Republican presidential candidate, whoever that may be.
To be sure, Republicans have long hoped to increase Black and Hispanic political allegiance. But recently there has been some movement.
There were predictions that Donald Trump’s tough-on-the-border policies would alienate Hispanic voters. Just the opposite happened. One reason may be that large numbers of Hispanic Americans live along or near the southern border. They bear the brunt of the massive influx of immigrants, who are straining public services, public schools and law enforcement, along with other disruptions.
Blue-city mayors like New York City’s Eric Adams (D) and Chicago’s Brandon Johnson (D) are decrying the challenges created by immigrants, yet southern-border communities have had to deal with those problems for years.
While roughly the same percentage of Black voters supported Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Hispanic support jumped 10 percentage points, from 28 percent to 38 percent. As a result, Trump’s share of urban voters increased 9 percentage points, from 24 percent in 2016 to 33 percent in 2020. Biden’s open-border policies have greatly exacerbated the immigrant influx, which may persuade an even larger percentage of Hispanics to back a Republican candidate in 2024.
And then there’s crime. Recently, Blacks and other people of color who live in large, Democratic-run cities have been denouncing their elected leaders.
Last July, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price went to a standing-room-only townhall meeting of Oakland, Calif., where citizens were angry over rampant crime. Price pushed back, saying. “One of my goals is that I will give young people hope. …Because I was doing some things that I shouldn’t have been doing but, because some people believed in me, they helped me find another way.” Frankly, Price needs to be a social worker, not a DA.
In response, the Oakland branch of the NAACP wrote a scathing letter to the city’s elected leaders saying, “Failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police, our District Attorney’s unwillingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life-threatening serious crimes, and the proliferation of anti-police rhetoric have created a heyday for Oakland criminals.” Sounds like the Oakland NAACP may be ready for some tough-on-crime political candidates.
In Chicago, Black residents are protesting the mayor’s plan to move some 200 immigrants into a public park used by families and children. Lots of community members expressed anger at a recent meeting. Cata Truss complained, “What I want to say is, Mayor Brandon Johnson, we are disappointed in you. This is the community that supported you, how dare you.”
And in New York City, where both crime and an influx of immigrants have exploded, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were shouted down by protesters when the legislators expressed their support for the burgeoning number of immigrants.
Could Blacks and Hispanics be ready for a change? Eric Johnson is. He’s the Black mayor of Dallas. He recently explained in the Wall Street Journal his decision to switch parties from Democrat to Republican. “Mayors and other local elected officials have failed to make public safety a priority or to exercise fiscal restraint. Most of these local leaders are proud Democrats who view cities as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise.” He’s right.
By contrast, Eric Johnson’s agenda has been “saying no to those who wanted to defund the police,” plus “fighting for lower taxes and a friendlier business climate.” And it’s working. “Alone among America’s 10 most populous cities, Dallas has brought violent crime down in every major category, including murder, year-over-year for the past two years.”
Biden’s failure to address illegal immigration and crime at the federal level—along with Democratic mayors, DAs and city councils at the local level—could create a political upheaval. People of color may enter the voting booth in 2024 asking themselves, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan: “Am I better off than I was four years ago?” Democrats won’t like the answer.