Home Political

The key demographics of the Democratic Party are fragmenting

By Daniel Lehewych

Contributer| Telegraph Local

See my Medium page

It seems quite clear in the most visceral sense of things that the Democratic Party is fragmented. Ideologically speaking, members of the party on the political front –both those running for president and those who are simply professional politicians in congress and the like– have little coalescence. It is to the point where those running for president generally split into three distinct –but not limited to– categories: progressives (e.g., Sanders, Warren), centrists (e.g., Biden) and those who are Democrats because third-party candidates are guaranteed not to win the presidency (e.g., Yang).

What is a bit less superficial fragmentation-wise, however, is the fact that the classically key demographics of the Democratic Party. That is, the demographics amongst the democratic party are far more dispersed than they ever have been between candidates.

“The vote is more dispersed than it has been before,” says longtime Democratic strategist Tad Devine. “In ’08, Obama was winning young voters, African Americans and upper-income, upper-educated whites; Hillary was doing much better with blue-collar men, Latinos and white women. The candidates then had neatly divided the Democratic Party. But this time those main groups … all seem to be going in different directions. I think it’s an indication that the race is still wide open.”

In 2008, once former President Obama secured his nomination for the presidency, he managed to gain the support from almost all demographics in the United States. In particular, he was capable of reeling in younger voters –a notoriously difficult feat to accomplish.

Contrast this with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run, where, similarly to Obama, she managed to gain the support of large numbers of many different demographics, but failed to gain the support of younger voters. Most young voters preferred Sanders. Despite this, Clinton won amongst Black and Hispanic voters, which indeed is a classically prime constituency for the Democratic Party.

Now, what is currently being called the “Obama Coalition” is what is of most concern here. In recent elections, three-fourths of Democratic voters were college-educated whites and African Americans.

Given the backlash of this group against the presidency of Donald Trump, it is quite likely that voters from this demographic are likely to increase their support for the democratic party, in general. However, the primary issue is the fact that it is simply a general support for the party. That is to say, not a single candidate who is running for the Democratic nomination has succeeded in rallying this demographic behind them the way Obama and Clinton did in previous years.

The closest any candidate has gotten thus far in coalescing any demographic group has been Joe Biden with African American voters –whom, historically, consists of at least one-fourth of Democratic voters. “The latest national Quinnipiac University poll put him at 43% among African American voters, roughly four times much as the next closest competitor, Sanders.” This, however, might be negated by the fact that Biden has failed in gaining the support of white-educated voters, who are now the largest voting bloc of the democratic party. With regard to this demographic, it seems as of now that it is split between Warren and Buttigieg.

Finally, Hispanic voters are generally split on who they are supporting. This is clearly open to change in the coming months and there are some signs that the Hispanic vote may go to Sanders.

Nonetheless, it is still the case that the Obama Coalition in the Democratic party has yet to be made cohesive. The success of the Democratic party in 2020 depends on its cohesiveness and hence would be wise to rally itself behind whoever comes the closest to rousing it together again if it wants to succeed.

Leave a Reply