Following every national election, America’s two political parties contemplate what the results tell them they have to do to assure their success in the future.
In 2020, the conclusions are not much different than they were in other recent elections.
Republicans need to get more diverse, and Democrats need to reclaim the working-class whites who were once a bedrock bloc of the party.
Star Parker, a conservative Black columnist, recently reiterated what GOP leaders have known for a while. As the nation becomes increasingly Black and brown, the party must change with it or find itself coming in second perpetually.
Parker cites the following presidential elections as evidence. In 1984, when another Republican, Ronald Reagan, was running for reelection, 84% of voters were white. Reagan won in a landslide. In 2020, the white percentage had fallen to 67%, and Donald Trump lost.
The changing demographics are not the only explanation for these different outcomes. Reagan was not as polarizing as Trump, and he wasn’t running during a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Still, Parker’s point is valid. Immigration patterns and birth rates both point inexorably toward an increasingly larger minority population, particularly Hispanic.
But Democrats can’t rest on Joe Biden’s laurels either. Several states that the Democrats thought they had a chance of winning stayed in Trump’s column, and a couple that Biden did win were closer than anticipated, largely because the incumbent increased his showing in rural, heavily white parts of the country, even while Biden was significantly outspending Trump on advertising. And even though Democrats won the White House, they underperformed in congressional races.
If both parties truly want to expand their appeal, however, they will have to do more than just talk about a bigger tent. They will have to moderate some of their platforms. Republicans will have to soften on immigration, for example, and Democrats will have to harden on abortion.
Both parties are presently at the ideological extremes. Their future may depend on both of them moving toward the middle.