Today's Real Clear Politics page features an article from the Wall Street Journal by James Freeman, Is Trump Creating New Republicans? (The WSJ version is here.) The gist of it is that Republican candidates are polling well among Latinos in districts that Hillary dominated during the 2016 election, which does not bode well for Democrats in the upcoming midterms. Are formerly true-blue Democrats drifting to red? From Mr. Freeman's column:
Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report writes today that Democrats are confident about their support among suburban women, but enthusiasm among female Democratic voters “isn’t being replicated among another group of voters that theoretically should be as motivated — or more — to vote for Democrats: Latino voters.”
Ms. Walter explains:Latino voter drop-off in midterm elections is nothing new, but the thinking was that President Trump’s rhetoric and policies around immigration, especially the issue of separating children from their parents at the border, would be a catalyst for higher Latino engagement in 2018. At this point, however, recent polling by New York Times Upshot/Siena College and Monmouth University, suggests that’s not the case.In California’s 39th district — a racially diverse district that Hillary Clinton carried 52 to 43 percent — a Monmouth poll out this week found Republican Young Kim leading Democrat Gil Cisneros 46-42 percent.
Meanwhile on the right coast of the country, it seems that voters are also stubbornly refusing to play the roles they’ve been assigned in the conventional media narrative. Ms. Walter elaborates:Republicans in Latino majority districts in South Florida are holding up better than their underlying infrastructure suggests they would. In a district Hillary Clinton carried with almost 57 percent, Republican Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) has a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent in the NY Times Upshot/Siena poll. And, in the 27th district, where moderate GOPer Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring, private polls show former Clinton administration HHS Director Donna Shalala struggling to open a lead in a district Clinton carried by more than 58 percent.
Latinos are not following the playbook. This is not what Democrats had in mind. Democrat thinking is "that President Trump’s rhetoric and policies around immigration, especially the issue of separating children from their parents at the border, would be a catalyst for higher Latino engagement in 2018." However, support for Republican candidates seems to imply that if immigration is a hot-button issue for Latinos, it does not necessarily favor Democrats. Other things may take precedence.
Nearly everyone who wants to work now has a job.
US job growth boomed in August — the 95th straight month of gains — while wage growth hit a nine-year high, the monthly jobs report revealed on Friday.
Fueled by tax and regulation cuts, the economy added 201,000 jobs over the past month, keeping the unemployment rate steady at 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low, according to the federal Labor Department’s report.
Average hourly wages also rose by 10 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $27.16 — the biggest yearly rise since 2009.
The hiring spree builds on what’s already the longest-ever economic expansion in US history, experts say.
“This picture underscores that the US economy is solid, the US economy is gaining strength,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.
Black and Hispanic unemployment rates reached record lows in response to Trump's tax and regulatory policies, and they have stayed low since then. (My emphasis below)
The black unemployment rate fell in August to the second-lowest on record as the labor market continues to show signs of tightening.
In August, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, continuing the rapid descent from the 16.8% peak shortly after the recession, and the lowest ever after the 5.9% rate in May.
The continued economic expansion, now showing up in rising wages, has helped all racial groups, data show. Donald Trump has frequently pointed out the black unemployment rate reached a record low during his presidency.
That said, the black unemployment rate is still higher than the 4.7% Hispanic unemployment rate — also the second-lowest on record — and the 3.4% unemployment rate for whites and the 3% jobless rate for Asian-Americans.
With all of this good economic news, why would immigration policy be expected to drive up Latino turnout? In the perception-is-reality world of the Democrats, Hispanics have been elevated in the political sense, from an ethnic group to a distinct race. Voila! Connect that new distinction to immigration policy, and Democrats have license to call Republicans racists. Republicans want strict enforcing immigration laws because they don't like Latinos, Latinos not being not white enough to suit them. That's the story from Democrats, anyway. It's a strategy that relieves Democrats. so they think, of having to discuss issues — such as the very real implications of open borders and the virtually unlimited immigration that they favor through our southern borders. Instead, Democrats can talk about insidious racism, the supposed disdain among Republicans for people who are not white, and the imagined nefarious motives of Republicans. No need to offer explanations as to why Republican policies might be harmful, or how they might fail.
And on the flip side, Democrats don't have to explain what's good about their own proposals. All their constituents have to know is that Republicans are bigots, their intentions are evil and therefore their policies must be evil, as well. Republicans must be defeated. The past success of this strategy has made Democrats complacent. They've grown accustomed to proposing and implementing policies of their own that benefit hardly anybody except Democrat officeholders, to the great expense of the rest of America.
And now the Democrats have a serious problem. Democrats' strategy relies upon their being able to instill a sense of oppression and outrage among their constituent groups and to focus it on a supposed racist enemy who is the cause of their problems — Republicans, naturally. But sometimes it's not easy to feel oppressed. What happens when hope arrives in the form of a job, instead? What happens when a sense of well-being settles in as people begin to feel financially more secure? What happens when realization sets in: When the job market is so bad that your livelihood and career path are government assistance, there is no upward mobility.
What happens when Republican policies are in place and the insufferable Trump is out there bragging about them. Suckers in the progressive media fall for it. They savage the boorish and unpresidential Trump, and by doing that they accidentally draw attention to his policy successes, and a contrast with reality appears. The progressive media rail on about Trump the incompetent, Trump the insane, Trump the dangerous, Trump with the too short attention span, he must be defeated. In the meantime it becomes inescapably clear to a growing number of Americans, of all races and creeds, that they are living a little bit better because of Trump.
Democrats have painted themselves into a corner, having promised their various flocks that privations they endured were imposed upon them by the unjust policies of racist Republicans and the greedy One Percent. America's wealth, they said, was not being shared in a fair enough way. The rich were taking too much of our diminishing resources. Obama told us that manufacturing jobs were never coming back, and that 2% growth in GDP was the new norm, the best that we could expect. And then Trump came along and said, "Here, hold my Coke. Watch this." Bingo! Consumer confidence has hit highs last seen 18 years ago. On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average has set record highs 100 times since Trump's election, and there are more job openings than people looking for work.
Unable and unwilling to admit they could be so wrong, Democrats invariably revert to character assassination. It's worked for decades, and now it's their only remaining strategy for getting themselves elected. They do what they know how. From their painted-in corner Democrats spew their vitriol, but with diminishing effect.