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WSJ: Latino and Black Voters Could Elect Trump Even a modest racial realignment would provide the margin of victory for Republicans in November.

  |   By Polling+ Staff

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Biden has a problem.

Patrick Ruffini, a founding partner of Echelon Insights, a Republican polling firm, and author of “Party of the People: Inside the Multiracial Populist Coalition Remaking the GOP,” headlines this in the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/black-and-hispanic-voters-could-elect-trump-minorities-election-fcabeeb3?mod=opinion_lead_pos5

Latino and Black Voters Could Elect Trump

Even a modest racial realignment would provide the margin of victory for Republicans in November.

Ruffini writes: 

“American politics may be on the verge of a racial realignment. Polls show Donald Trump within striking distance of a majority among Hispanic voters and as much as 20% of the black vote. That would be an unprecedented showing for a Republican in modern times. Among white voters, polls show little change since 2020, meaning that shifts among nonwhite voters could decide the election. If even a modest realignment happens, Mr. Trump will almost certainly win. If it doesn’t, he is the underdog.

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The GOP’s voting base is changing, but the Republican campaign apparatus and donors haven’t fully woken up to it. The time for aggressive investments to register and mobilize new voters was yesterday.

As Republicans have gained working-class voters and lost college-educated ones, the party has ended up on the back foot in special elections. These contests tend to be decided by affluent voters, who vote frequently. But 2024 isn’t a special election, and Republican victory hinges on turning out the kinds of voters who come out only in presidential elections—as it did when these turnout patterns helped Mr. Trump win in 2016 and outperform pre-election polls in 2020.

Mr. Trump’s campaign against voting by mail in 2020 was self-defeating, so it is encouraging to see Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law and the new Republican National Committee co-chairman, express support for legal ballot harvesting. But the GOP needs to go further and begin talking to younger nonwhite voters, men especially, driving home their shift to the right. These votes could also prove decisive in an expanded Senate battleground that includes Michigan and Nevada.

Polling shows that the strongest shifts to Mr. Trump are happening among those on the fringes of politics—people who could easily stay home. Our polling in 2023 for the Texas Latino Conservatives PAC showed Mr. Trump doing 20 percentage points better among nonvoting Latinos than among those who voted in the 2022 midterm election. This is no longer the Republican Party of the country club or the older white voter. Rather than pining for the voters of yesterday, Republicans should be focused on getting their new coalition to the polls.

The wind is at Republicans’ back: Polls show their biggest gains are coming among nonwhite moderate or conservative voters who already agree with them on most issues. While black voters—and Latino voters to a lesser degree—have historically voted as a bloc, more are now voting ideologically, boosting Republicans.

For the foreseeable future, Republicans won’t be able to win the black vote outright, but a realignment along ideological lines would lift the Republican vote to 25% or 30%. That would mean a permanent 3- to 4-percentage-point shift in the national popular vote, likely ending Republicans’ 20-year failure to capture a plurality of the nationwide presidential popular vote.

Some will say we have heard this all before. Republicans recruit minority candidates or talk about minority outreach, only to see black voters continue to vote 90% or more Democratic. But according to scholars Ismail K. White and Chryl N. Laird, the extent of the Democratic advantage among black voters is a historical anomaly. In their 2020 book, “Steadfast Democrats: How Social Forces Shape Black Political Behavior,” they write that black voters are held together less by shared ideological preferences than by social norms that penalize the small number of GOP defectors. As social institutions like the black church weaken, they write, pressure on conservative black voters to stay in the Democratic fold will wane. If enough people flip that the social norm becomes unenforceable, voting patterns could change quickly.

This happened in Starr County, Texas. The 98% Hispanic county went from a reliably Democratic stronghold to a narrow 52% to 47% split for Mr. Biden in 2020. When I visited in 2022, I heard often about the dominance of the county’s Democratic machine, controlling jobs and keeping voters in line. In 2018 only a dozen Starr County voters bucked the machine to pull a Republican primary ballot. But a slight uptick in Republican campaigning in 2020—for a president fighting to get people back to work amid Covid lockdowns—was enough to catalyze a sudden 55-point shift.

Extending the Starr County gains in 2024 requires a mix of campaigning on the issues where Democrats have left nonwhite voters behind, and specific campaigning to the black community touting recent Republican gains. This will send a social signal for more people to flip.

What exactly should Republicans do? Canvassing, text messages, TV ads and mailers on a scale we haven’t seen before. And what should the party say? The cost of living, the migrant crisis on the southern border, parental rights in schools, and the so-called green transition are all issues that divide today’s Democratic Party from these voters. Messages about opportunity and hard work—and Democrats as the party of handouts—will resonate with Hispanics.

For the GOP, a nonwhite realignment matters for elections well beyond 2024. It would break a Democratic coalition that relies on the support of culturally conservative nonwhites. With a large-scale shift in minority communities, Republicans would more often than not be the majority party, even if they don’t recover among well-educated whites. With the data showing this core pillar of the Democratic coalition teetering, the time for a firm push is now.”

The irony here is that Democrats have been openly supportive of the Hispanics pouring over the border. The charge against them is that they are trying to stack the electoral deck on a racial basis. Imagine that all these migrants arrive, are made citizens – and vote Republican.

Not to mention if Trump selects South Carolina Senator Tim Scott as his running mate.