Lately I’ve been talking a lot about the fundamental makeup of the American electorate–the macro of American politics.
From 1865-1992, the default setting of this country was Republican. Only in extraordinary circumstances would a Democrat be able to win the White House–i.e. Jimmy Carter winning the presidency in 1976 in the wake of Watergate, JFK winning in 1960 largely due to vote fraud in Texas and Illinois, Woodrow Wilson winning in 1912 due to the fact that there were two Republican candidates (Teddy Roosevelt and William H. Taft) that split the vote and enabled Wilson to win with 41% of the popular vote. Even FDR winning in 1932 was largely due to the Great Depression that began in 1929.
But since 1992, Democrats have dominated American politics, winning 7 of 8 popular votes and 5 of 8 Presidential elections.
There are many possible reasons for this shift, but in my view it’s been a combination of liberal control of the media, Hollywood, academia and culture in general turning people into “Default Democrats” (i.e. mass brainwashing), as well as generally weak Republican candidates (H. W. Bush, Dole, W. Bush, McCain, Romney) compared to strong Democratic candidates (Clinton, Obama).
Another major aspect of it has been changing demographics: America until the 1960s/1970s was 85-90% white, but after the 1965 immigration bill America began allowing mass immigration from all around the world and has now become a “diverse” nation (about 60% white nowadays).
This is a process that played out in California: for many years, California was a reliably Republican state that produced two Republican Presidents in the 20th century: Nixon and Reagan, but changing demographics resulted in California becoming one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country–it hasn’t voted Republican since 1988 and routinely goes over 60% Democrat in Presidential elections.
Democrats expected the whole nation to go the way of California: more diverse, more liberal.
And they had good reason to believe it, too: they have been reliably winning at least 2/3 of Hispanic and Asian voters for decades now. Democrats expected that to be permanent.
But recent polling shows the Democrats hemorrhaging support among basically all voters, and it appears that Hispanic voters are now trending Republican. Trump made major gains with Hispanic voters in 2020, but now it seems as if Hispanic voters are now abandoning the Democratic in droves.
When combined with new polling that shows a massive shift in political party registration from Democrat to Republican, we could be in the midst of a massive, generational political realignment.
On average, Americans’ political party preferences in 2021 looked similar to prior years, with slightly more U.S. adults identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic (46%) than identified as Republicans or leaned Republican (43%).
However, the general stability for the full-year average obscures a dramatic shift over the course of 2021, from a nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a rare five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.
You can see that early in 2021, Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents were 49% of the electorate, with Republicans and Republican-leaning independents just 40%.
But now the country is 47% Republican to 42% Democrat, a massive shift of 14 points in just a year.
To understand how big of a deal this is, consider that Republicans have not had a lead in national party registration since 1995:
Gallup asks all Americans it interviews whether they identify politically as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent. Independents are then asked whether they lean more toward the Republican or Democratic Party. The combined percentage of party identifiers and leaners gives a measure of the relative strength of the two parties politically.
Both the nine-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter and the five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter are among the largest Gallup has measured for each party in any quarter since it began regularly measuring party identification and leaning in 1991.
The Democratic lead in the first quarter was the largest for the party since the fourth quarter of 2012, when Democrats also had a nine-point advantage. Democrats held larger, double-digit advantages in isolated quarters between 1992 and 1999 and nearly continuously between mid-2006 and early 2009.
The GOP has held as much as a five-point advantage in a total of only four quarters since 1991. The Republicans last held a five-point advantage in party identification and leaning in early 1995, after winning control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1950s. Republicans had a larger advantage only in the first quarter of 1991, after the U.S. victory in the Persian Gulf War led by then-President George H.W. Bush.
As you can see from the chart, there has never been a single year on record where Republicans outnumbered Democrats. They did it for a few quarters during the early 1990s, and they’re outnumbering Democrats today, but they’ve never been able to outnumber Democrats for a full year, at least in the Gallup polling.
The Democrats had a massive lead at the beginning of the year, but now the Republicans have their biggest lead on record.
This tells me two things–one is something people aren’t going to want to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway: Trump alienates a lot of voters who would otherwise be open to voting Republican.
However, after seeing a full year of Biden and full Democratic control of the government, voters also know that the Democrats are simply horrible: out-of-touch with the country and completely unfit to govern.
Now, it’s possible that seeing the true face of the Democratic Party over this past year has made voters change their minds on Trump and realize that maybe he wasn’t as bad as they thought he was back in 2020. That could very well be the case.
But the way I see it is that this is a golden opportunity for Republicans to grab hold of the American electorate and build a lasting and dominant coalition that will reshape American politics going forward. Republicans should become a nationalist multiracial party of middle and working class Americans who have been harmed by globalization, want less crime, no more wokeness, and an end to Covid-19 tyranny. In other words, an anti-Karen Party. An anti-white liberal party.
But it can’t be led by Trump. He’s too toxic to too many people.
I know there are tens of millions of Republicans out there who feel like they would literally die for Donald Trump. They fucking worship the guy like a god. I get it, people love him.
But not everyone else feels the same way, and I think his appeal to the country is limited. I don’t think he’s the guy to build up a broad and lasting coalition. I don’t think he’s the guy who will close the deal with all these people abandoning the Democratic Party.
These people hate the Democrats. They are finished with Democrats. They have seen the Democrats for what they are and want nothing to do with them–as long as the Republican alternative is at least palatable.
This is why Republicans need to go young and let the new generation take over. No more old boomers.
And it can’t be Trump. Trump is too defined. He’s too polarizing and too toxic. People have already made up their minds on him. He’s not the guy who’s going to bring new voters into the party. He’s not going to expand the party.
However, I will add the caveat that it is possible that over the past year, voters have changed their minds on Trump and realized how much worse it is when Democrats are in control. 2021 may well have taught average Americans that they had it much better when Trump was President. They may be willing to right their wrong in 2024.
I am totally open to this possibility.
But I think that given what we’re seeing right now–voters (primarily Hispanic voters) abandoning the Democratic Party–we need some fresh new blood to take control of the party and say, “This is the new era of the Republican Party. Anyone who’s not a Karen is welcome.”
Obviously don’t say that last part explicitly, but you get what I mean.
And we don’t have to repudiate Trump at all. In fact, we shouldn’t Trump can still be a central figure in the party, an elder statesman. The “godfather” of the party. The kingmaker.
Trump has been the best thing to happen to the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan. Undeniably. I say that without hesitation. He made inroads with the working class, as well as with Hispanic voters. He is the guy that revolutionized the Republican Party.
The only Republicans we should repudiate and leave in the past are the Establishment turncoats like Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, George Bush, etc. No more Establishment Boomers.
I just think that Trump is too polarizing to have as the face of the party. For every person that would go to the ends of the earth for him, there is another person that spends every moment of their life thinking about how much they hate Trump.
It would be fine if the former category outnumbered the latter, but there’s no evidence it does. Even when Trump won in 2016 (with no allegations of Dem voter fraud) he still lost the popular vote.
I just think there’s too many people out there who would never vote for Trump under any circumstances.
This is the GOP’s golden opportunity to realign American politics for years to come. If they win big in the midterms this year, as expected, and exit polls show major improvements among minority voters, they can carry this momentum into 2024.
They just have to nominate a candidate who truly understands what is happening right now. Republicans have an opportunity to break the Democrats’ 30-year stranglehold on American politics and tilt the playing field of American politics back to the right, the way it was from 1865-1992.