For four years now, Democrats and their media allies have tarred President Trump as a reprehensible white supremacist leading a dying party. The Trumpian, populist GOP, they claimed, was doomed to become a regional rump party, whose electoral prospects were tied to a shrinking share of bitter, downscale whites.
That narrative was always bunk. It finally died, once and for all, on Tuesday evening.
Team Trump and Republicans nationwide made unprecedented inroads with black and Hispanic voters. Nationally, preliminary numbers indicated that 26 percent of Trump’s voting share came from nonwhite voters — the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960.
In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, the heartland of Cuban America, Trump turned a 30-plus-point Hillary Clinton romp in 2016 into a narrow single-digit Joe Biden win. Texas’ Starr County, overwhelmingly Mexican American and positioned in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, barely delivered for the Democrats. Biden’s Hispanic support in other key swing states, like Ohio and Georgia, tailed off from Clinton’s 2016 benchmarks.
Overall, exit polls indicated that 32 to 35 percent of Latinos voted for the president. And young black men are gravitating to the GOP at a remarkable pace (given the baseline).
It turns out that minorities aren’t so infatuated with the brand of unrepentant progressive “woke-ism” now peddled by the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing of the Democratic Party. The political, legal, media, corporate and academic establishments have gone all-in on the woke agenda, peddling a toxic brew of intersectionality, socialism lite and Black Lives Matter anarchism. Latinos and many blacks aren’t buying it. As one Twitter wit quipped, Democrats may have won the “Latinx vote,” but they didn’t fare well with actual Latinos.
The cognitive dissonance on the part of our bicoastal ruling class is, and will be over the ensuing months, astonishing. The ruling elite is incapable of processing the notion that the MAGA hat-clad Bad Orange Man is not, in fact, an avatar for racist whites and a harbinger of impending fascism.
“Racism is Trump’s brand — but he outperformed the polls in large part with Hispanic and some black votes,” noted the New York Times’ Paul Krugman — apparently incapable of processing the possibility that racism isn’t, in fact, Trump’s brand.
Similar lamentations are ubiquitous among the blue-checked Twitterati. Many have taken to rationalizing the Latino shift by asserting that recent immigrants from Latin America secretly pine for a caudillo-style “strong man” — a laughable and intellectually dishonest exercise in denialism.
The progressive elites are genuinely incapable of understanding why it is that their nostrums have been rejected by a growing share of the populace. They can’t come to grips with the fact that their shambolic policy initiatives — and their unjust and fundamentally anti-American identity politics — are simply not all that popular with the fly-over country rubes, including “country rubes” of color. The 2020 election, in which the GOP defied the odds by maintaining the Senate and actually picking up seats in the House, was an emphatic rejection of the left-wing vision for America. No one wants AOC’s “Squad” — including Hispanic and black voters.
It’s yet unclear whether Team Trump will get a second term. But the path forward for the Republican Party is clear, regardless. The GOP, which already has its strong base of support among non-college-educated white voters, must learn to govern like a working-class, multiethnic, multiracial party.
This more populist variety of conservatism will be unabashedly traditionalist, humbler in its approach to America’s role on the world stage and economically attuned to the aspirations and needs of ordinary Americans — not those of Wall Street, Hollywood or Silicon Valley. It is a vision with real crossover appeal — a vision that can, and will, win.
Republicans have every reason to be optimistic about the future. The hectoring “demography-is-destiny” dolts have been shot down. A substantial chunk of minority voters rejected the lies that GOP populism is rooted in racism. They rejected the slanders that the president himself is a white supremacist. The media establishment won’t admit it anytime soon, but the GOP’s future is bright — and browner than many may have previously thought possible.
Josh Hammer is Newsweek’s opinion editor. Twitter: @Josh_Hammer