The Democrat Latino problem has emerged as an unexpected trade-off Democrats will have to make by nominating Joe Biden. In the last two Democratic primaries, Biden has emerged the frontrunner, leaving a trail of angry Bernie supporters threatening to ‘DemExit’ and leave the party. While Democrats were willing to lose a portion of Bernie’s die-hard supporters to consolidate behind Biden, they may be losing more than they realized. Bernie held a commanding lead over Biden with three constituencies Democrats arguably can’t afford to lose all at once: young Black and white voters, and Latinos of all ages.
In this week’s primaries, Biden built on his lead with Black voters, winning 66% of Black voters in Michigan, 87% in Mississippi, and 72% in Missouri. Washington state also voted Tuesday but the share of Black, Latino, and young voters was too small to represent a meaningful sample. However, Sanders continued to dominate with younger voters in Michigan and Missouri.
- In Michigan, Sanders won 76% of under thirties, to Biden’s 19%. He also won 53% of Latinos to Biden’s 39%.
- In Missouri, Sanders won 70% of under thirties to Biden’s 25%. The sample of Latinos was too small to draw a significant correlation.
These consolidations were largely a continuation of last week’s election results. Biden won African American voters in last week’s round of primaries, averaging 58% of the Black vote across 12 states including California, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia. Biden also easily won women and voters over 45. But Bernie maintained a solid grip on younger voters and Hispanics. Bernie cleared last week’s primaries with an average of 60% of the 18 to 29-year-old age group to Biden’s meager 17%. The 30 to 44-year-old segment liked Biden only marginally better, giving him 23% of their vote to Bernie’s 41%. Biden’s worst performances among young people were in Vermont, California, and Maine.
- In Vermont, Biden won just 6% of under thirties, to Bernie’s 68%.
- In California, Biden won just 7% of under thirties, to Bernie’s 61%.
- Biden did almost as poorly in Maine, securing just 9% of under thirties, to Bernie’s 67%.
More ominous for Democrats is that Biden’s weak numbers among young people included young people color. In Texas, despite easy victories with older Black voters, Biden struggled to secure even a third of Black under thirties while Bernie won 45%. Biden also did dismally with young Hispanic voters, winning just 10% of under thirties to Bernie’s 66%, as shown below.
In fact, Latinos of all age groups presented an unexpected challenge to Biden in the swathe of primaries last week. In five key states with large Hispanic populations including California and Texas, Biden struggled with Hispanics. He averaged just 25% of Hispanic voters for the five states to Bernie’s 44%, with an absolutely devastating blow in California where he won just 22% of Hispanics to Sanders’ 49%.
Biden’s average share of under thirties so far is just 17% to Sanders’ 60%. Even among Black voters, arguably his most loyal following, he only sits at an average of 58% to Sanders’ 17%. Older Black and white voters appear to have made a calculated choice to consolidate behind Biden under the premise that he can unseat President Trump. The problem with this strategy is Democrats risk isolating voters in a vast age range – age 18 to 44 – including young people of color, and Hispanic voters. Even if the play miraculously works out this election and they manage to push Biden into the White House, they will wreak havoc on relationships they’ve tried to cultivate with younger voters and Hispanics.
Meanwhile, younger voters are leaning away from the Democrat Establishment. The primaries have made one issue crystal clear: the Democrat plan to bank on young voters and Latinos as the GOP becomes the party of irrelevant old white people is backfiring spectacularly. The term ‘demographic destiny’ describes an entirely different outcome for the United States than Democrats predicted, and a Biden vs. Trump face-off is only the beginning.