There are more black and Hispanic conservatives in the U.S. than liberals care to admit. A lot more.
A few stats help explain why the GOP is making major inroads with the once-reliably-Democratic constituencies.
While blacks and Hispanics still lean Democratic overall, neither group is monolithic — and a surprising number align with Republicans on key issues.
1. ABORTION: Among the roughly one-fifth of Democrats who believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, the majority are black (23%) or Hispanic (30%), according to a Pew survey in June.
- In Gallup polls from 2017-2020 fewer than half of blacks (46%) said abortion was morally acceptable, putting them roughly halfway between Democrats (62%) and Republicans (26%) overall.
2. GENDER: 68% of black Americans surveyed by Pew in May 2022 said they believe gender is determined by biological sex at birth, while just 31% said it can change, putting them much closer to Republicans than Democrats.
- A majority of Hispanics (55%) said gender is determined at birth, compared to 38% of Democrats overall and 86% of Republicans.
3. SCHOOL CHOICE: In 2018 black and Hispanic Democrats were about twice as likely as their white counterparts to support charter schools as alternatives to public school districts.
- In 2018 58% of black Democrats and 52% of Hispanic Democrats approved of charter schools, compared to 40% of all Democrats and 61% of Republicans.
- In November 2018 a voting bloc of around 100,000 pro-school choice black female voters helped propel Republican Ron DeSantis to victory over black Democratic rival Andrew Gillum in the Florida’s governor’s race.
4. LAW ENFORCEMENT: As progressive activists called to “defund the police” in July 2020, 81% of black adults and 83% of Hispanics told Gallup they wanted police to spend the same amount or more time in their neighborhoods.
- A majority of black Americans want police funding in their area to increase or stay the same, according to a Pew Research Center survey released October.
- A July 2021 Hill-HarrisX poll found just 11% of black Americans want to reduce police activity in their communities.
- In a February survey by Pew, 70% of black Democrats and 56% of Hispanic Democrats said reducing crime should be a top priority — versus just 34% of white Democrats.
5. IMMIGRATION: In polls conducted this spring most Hispanics said they supported closing the southern border until the migrant crisis is over and keeping in place Title 42, enacted by former President Trump to turn away migrants during the pandemic.
- In May a Politico-Harvard poll found that 81% of Republicans supported continued enforcement of Title 42, versus 36% of Democrats.
Republicans are making inroads with Hispanics and to a lesser extent among blacks, as reflected in Donald Trump’s increased share of Hispanic and black male voters in 2020 compared to 2016, fueling speculation of a broader realignment.
- In an analysis for Axios in July, Josh Kraushaar argued that the shifting loyalties of nonwhite voters reflected a “seismic shift” in the electorate.
- “The Democrats are becoming the party of upscale voters concerned more about issues like gun control and abortion rights,” Kraushaar wrote, while “Republicans are quietly building a multiracial coalition of working-class voters, with inflation as an accelerant.”
- Ruy Teixera, a Hispanic scholar who left the liberal Center for American Progress to join the conservative American Enterprise Institute in July, agreed that the shift is powered by issues of class: “I think what’s underscored the potential overall class problem for the Democrats is the movement of nonwhite working-class voters away from the Democrats in recent period of time, particularly Hispanic working-class voters… [Unemployment] is very low. On the other hand, inflation’s very high. And the way that nets out for most people – that equation hasn’t worked for them.”
Republican strategists are scrambling to exploit the historic shift, but the party still has a ways to go before it overcomes both groups’ legacy Democratic loyalties.
- While just 29% of blacks described themselves as liberal in a January 2020 Pew poll, 78% of blacks said the would vote for Democrats in November in a July New York Times/Siena College poll.
- A Quinnipiac University Poll from July found Hispanics are dissatisfied with both parties: 62% disapproved of the job congressional Democrats are doing and 66% disapproved of congressional Republicans.
If Republicans succeed the stakes are huge, and Democrats rightly fear the realignment as an existential threat, according to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who said this anxiety is behind white liberals’ fierce, often overtly racist attacks on black conservatives.
- “I certainly think that the greatest threat to the liberal coalition are Black conservatives who stand up and think for ourselves,” Scott told Fox News in June. “We represent the fact that the African American community is not a monolithic community. If you can ever break the stronghold that the Democrats have on the African American community, the entire coalition falls apart.”