Election results in Texas and other states carry an important lesson that will impact U.S. elections for many years to come: the prediction that Democrats will benefit from the growing diversity of our population is flat-out wrong.
The White percentage of the U.S. population has been shrinking for years and will continue to do so, demographers tell us. But this indisputable fact has led some hopeful Democrats to adopt a “demographics as destiny” myth that claims the growing percentage of people of color in our population spells doom for future GOP election hopes.
Under this false narrative, Republicans are the party of White people. As the White share of the population drops, the Republican share of the vote will drop and fewer and fewer Republicans will win elections. But unfortunately for Democrats, this theory has no basis in fact.
The Democrats’ demographic myth brings to mind the much-criticized comment of presidential candidate Joe Biden when he said on a Black-oriented radio program in May: “I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
In other words, Biden was saying that Democrats are the party of Black people and all African Americans must automatically vote Democratic.
Biden later apologized for the insulting remark that some labeled as racist, but it clearly reflected the Democratic view that voters of color must be Democratic voters.
Texas voters proved this assumption to be a false one in the election last week.
Texas saw its White, non-Hispanic population decline as a share of the overall population by 0.4% in the past four years — yet several majority-Hispanic counties shifted to President Trump last week.
With all precincts reporting in Texas, Trump won 52.2% of the state’s vote in the recent election — the same percentage he won in 2016. Moreover, he did so amidst a surge in turnout with almost 2.3 million more people voting than four years ago — a 25% increase.
Pre-election polls had predicted a tighter presidential race in the state, and some said it was too close to call. Texas voters proved the pollsters wrong.
On top of this, voter turnout in the state hasn’t been this high in 28 years, relegating a frequently repeated Democratic talking point — claiming that Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a low-voting state — to the dustbin.
In spite of all the outside money pouring into Texas for the recent election, Republicans lost no statewide races, kept the same number of U.S. House seats, and maintained their majorities in the state Senate and House for the all-important job of redistricting after the 2020 reapportionment.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 27 of Texas’ 254 counties. All but five of them were Hispanic- majority counties on or near the Mexican border.
In 2020, Biden won only 22 counties (though late outstanding mail-in ballots might tip the balance in some). President Trump picked up seven counties and lost two, with all seven apparent pickups being Hispanic-majority counties in or near the Rio Grande Valley. The two Trump losses were Tarrant County (Fort Worth) and Hays County, just south of deep-blue Austin.
In fact, in Texas and around the nation President Trump earned the highest support among non-White voters of any Republican since 1960. This portends an ongoing realignment of American politics.
This realignment, if it deepens and persists, appears to be elevating economic interests at the expense of racial politics, reworking the Republican Party into a party of working Americans — while the Democrats become increasingly identified with the coastal elites and far-left extremist ideology.
The Democratic loss in Texas wasn’t for lack of trying. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg pumped $15 million into Texas in the last week of the campaign. And through his “Beyond Carbon” anti-oil and anti-natural gas committee, he spent another $2.5 million to elect a Democrat to the Texas Railroad Commission, the regulatory body that oversees oil and gas.
In the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, outside groups spent $27 million to support Hegar or oppose Cornyn. Groups friendly to Cornyn spent $12 million. Cornyn’s campaign spent nearly $30 million to Hegar’s $17 million.
The Biden campaign, in what was — in retrospect—a head fake designed to generate media coverage (which it did), announced Oct. 7 that it was reserving $5.9 million in Texas television ads to compete in the “battleground” state. Within two days, most of the reservation was canceled with little notice.
Republicans are disappointed that — barring a series of court victories by President Trump in his election lawsuits — Joe Biden will become president Jan. 20. But for the long-term, Republicans can take heart that they will remain competitive in elections and that growing numbers of voters of color are throwing their support to GOP candidates who support policies that benefit working-class families.