Both Ruy Teixeira and John Judis, authors of The Emerging Democratic Majority, have turned on the major public message of their book, that demography is destiny and the Democrats just had to wait for the future (the book itself is more subtle, but you can ask Francis Fukuyama how much people look beyond the title).
Teixeria’s essays of late have been very interesting though, as he doesn’t seem to keen on many partisan pieties. His latest, Did the Democrats Misread Hispanic Voters?:
… The reality of the Hispanic population is that they are, broadly speaking, an overwhelmingly working class, economically progressive, socially moderate constituency that cares above all, about jobs, the economy and health care.
Clearly, this constituency does not harbor particularly radical views on the nature of American society and its supposed intrinsic racism and white supremacy. Rather, this is a population that overwhelmingly wanted to hear what the Democrats had to offer on jobs, the economy and health care. But the Democrats could not make the sale with an unusually large number of Latino voters in a year of economic meltdown and coronavirus crisis. This suggests there was an opportunity cost to the political energy devoted to issues around race which simply were not that central to the concerns of Hispanic voters and the more radical aspects of which were unpopular with these voters.
This point struck me because in his conversation with Julia Galef David Shor emphasizes over and over how extremely left-wing Democratic operatives are. Shor claims that about 1/3rd of his team as Civis were Democratic Socialists of America members. One individual wasn’t DSA because DSA was too conservative. Shor also implies that Joe Biden’s flip on the Hyde Amendment was dictated by a staff revolt.
My personal experience with friends in academia is that many of them simply are not aware of how socially liberal they are. Their view of what a “conservative” view on a social issue is is just out of touch often. I know for a fact many academics were shocked that California rejected affirmative action again. It’s a majority-minority state. They had expectations.
I wonder about this same problem with Latinx voters, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, but unless they are part of the intelligentsia are not socially bleeding-edge liberal (and don’t consider themselves “Latinx”). A lot of times white academics I know just don’t want to admit that “BIPOC” and Latinx people don’t really agree with them on a lot of these cultural issues, since they believe their views are derived from antiracism, so when nonwhite people disagree it must be false consciousness.
For academics, “this is academic.” But what if the Democrat’s operative class is subject to the same problem?
(I assume the equivalent with Republicans is that they always believe they haven’t “explained” economic libertarianism well to a populace that really isn’t too keen on it)