The former president will be a force to reckon with in the fall.
Cracks in the Rainbow
For the future Left, demography will at last become destiny.
In many ways the geriatric Joe Biden, for all of his stumbles, his more-than-occasional incoherence, and his obviously diminished energy, is the perfect front man for the Democratic coalition in 2024—just as the party establishment recognized he was in 2020. With a career in Washington stretching back more than a half century (he was prominent enough back in 1988 to mount a brief but serious presidential run), Biden feels comfortably familiar even to those older voters who have seen their country radically transformed before their eyes.
In particular, Biden presents an unthreatening face—as well as a bit of faux moderation—to the older whiter voters that the Democrats still need (for now) in their coalition. In 2020, Biden took 42 percent of older white voters. This was on par with his overall performance among whites, and dramatically better than one might expect given that these voters experience the largest and most jarring difference between the America of their youth and the America of today. Among younger members of the Democratic coalition, Biden is also remembered with a warm glow by “Obama Democrats” because of his close association with Barack.
But “Uncle Joe” nostalgia has a rapidly-approaching expiration date for the Democrats. His exit from the scene will likely hasten the rise of a more explicitly left-wing Democratic Party, dominated by minority politicians and often pushing explicitly anti-white interests. In this way, Biden is also an appropriate symbol for the Left—a geriatric, enfeebled white man serving as a figurehead for minority power. Going forward, the Left’s public face will increasingly match its public policies. At long last, the party’s demography finally will herald its destiny.
This presents both problems and opportunities for the Right. The Democratic coalition, which seems so powerful now, is actually tremendously unstable, filled with groups whose interests are often in direct conflict. Arguably only a shared loathing for Trump has sustained them for the past eight years. But at some point, whether in 2024 or afterwards, they will not have Donald Trump to kick around anymore. And then many groups in the coalition will have difficult choices to make.
In particular, given current trends, the younger white members of the coalition will either have to content themselves with visibly subordinate roles in the party, front for policies that work explicitly against their interests, defect to the Right, or give up politics entirely. This change may not happen immediately. Half of California’s voters in the high-turnout 2020 election were white, while just about a quarter of California’s children are white, giving a substantial lead-time between demographic transformation and political transformation. But given America’s rapidly changing demographics (the majority of American children now belong to minorities), this change is inevitable.
We began to see the first stage of this transformation in the most recent elections for the leadership of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer ran things for two decades, with James Clyburn serving as the black face of leadership who could be counted on not to say anything that might scare the Democrats’ white voters.
But in 2022, we saw a full-scale leadership turnover in the House, with younger non-white lawmakers moving to the fore. African American Hakeem Jeffries became the Democratic leader while Latino Pete Aguilar took the third position. Katherine Clark, a white woman, took the second spot—but she has a transgender-identified kid who was arrested for crimes he committed as a member of antifa, which affords her valuable identity politics points.
For now though, the most notable contradiction in the Left’s coalition is the continued and disproportionate control of an overwhelmingly white, wealthy, and highly educated faction over an increasingly multi-racial, poor, and less educated constituency. The largely white overclass elite have kept the peace by distributing massive amounts of welfare, federal jobs, legal hiring preferences, and other benefits to their largely minority client base. But with America’s debts spiraling out of control and virtually every institution captured already, it is unclear that the continued growth of this largesse is sustainable. The Kulaks (the American middle class, and in particular the white middle class) have been blamed for all of America’s failings and have been drained of almost all influence and power. There simply aren’t enough other middle-class Americans left to fleece.
Why Hang Around?
As the Manhattan Institute’s Zach Goldberg has noted in his research, the increasing divergence between the Democrats’ elites and proles is getting harder to manage. It prompts the Democrats to obsess over social issues that are important to their elite demographic but not their actual voting base (Climate Change! Transgenderism!), while doing nothing to serve liberal white Democrats who, as has been shown in study after study, are actually miserable, self-hating, and basically crazy.
For now, in a time of relative abundance, white Democrats still make up the (narrow) majority of voters in the coalition. They are not really being forced to choose between their supposed principles and their interests. But at some point in the not-too-distant future, whites with any minimal sense of dignity or self-respect will be forced to go elsewhere.
For example, of the 97 federal judges nominated by Biden in the first two years of his administration, 22 were black women and just five were white men. Mark first that white men hugely outnumber black women generally, and then consider further that, on virtually any objective metric (legal partnerships, LSATs, law school grades, scholarly articles, etc.), white men far outperform black women. The only way to achieve this result is anti-white racial discrimination on steroids. As minorities gain more and more power and votes in the Left’s coalition, there is no reason to think this discrimination will do anything other than increase.
If you were a talented young white male law student today who dreamed of being a federal judge, why would you cast your lot with a group that would actively discriminate against you and make it almost impossible for you to land a position? We may be seeing the effects of this today among younger white Americans, and to a lesser extent, Asian Americans, who are choosing their political networks now with an eye to the future.
The current Democratic coalition, overwhelmingly focused as it is on black interests, will inevitably fracture. It has been sustained so far to a certain extent by white guilt. But key and growing groups in the coalition, such as Asian Americans and Latinos, do not generally suffer from this guilt and often come from cultures which have more negative views of African Americans than elite whites do. It is increasingly difficult to imagine them leading a coalition in which they are discriminated against (in the case of Asian Americans) in favor of a group that they do not particularly care for.
Another significant demographic group whose presence in the Democratic coalition will become increasingly uncomfortable is Jews. Jews, at just a bit more than two percent of the U.S. population, provide up to half of the funding for Democrats. Hillary Clinton’s top five donors were Jewish. Biden has rewarded this group richly. His Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, DHS Secretary, Director of National Intelligence, and Chief of Staff, among many other senior officials, are Jewish. But Biden’s appointments represent an old-guard, D.C.-centric view that will almost assuredly not be shared by his successors.
The base of the Democratic Party is moving strongly away from Israel—in contrast to most of their politicians. Eleven percent more Democrats (49-38) side with the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict according to Gallup. This is a very recent development, the effects of which have not been “priced in” to our electoral politics.
As late as 2016, in the early days of the Great Awokening, Democrats preferred the Israelis to the Palestinians by a margin of more than 30 pecent. Add to this viewpoint transformation several statements verging on outright-antisemitism from members and allies of The Squad (a group of minority progressive lawmakers with large amounts of public clout on the Left), and many Jews may eventually be heading for the exits. Jewish donors, of course, care about many things besides Israel. But they will increasingly be hostile to a party that is likely to become increasingly hostile to them.
The timing of these transformations is ultimately uncertain. But in politics, contra the Right’s ever-present caucus of uber-pessimists, there are no permanent winners and losers. There is only permanent struggle. The Democratic coalition is destined to splinter. The only question is whether the Right will be smart and prepared enough to pick up the pieces.
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