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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At FiveThirtyEight’s “Other Polling Bites,” Monica Potts notes, “Sixty-three percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the level of immigration to the country; of that group, a 64 percent majority say they want the level of immigration to decrease, according to a Gallup survey from January. Overall, the number of Americans who want immigration to decrease stands at 40 percent, more than double the number two years ago. There’s also a partisan split in how Americans view immigration: 71 percent of Republicans say there should be less immigration. Only 19 percent of Democrats agree. And while that’s a jump from only 2 percent of Democrats two years ago, Americans seem to be aware of a partisan split on this issue: An Ipsos poll from Feb. 3 to 5 found that 78 percent of adults think Americans are far apart on the issue of immigration, ranking it as one of the more divisive political issues asked about.” Democrats, take note that the high-turnout senior demographic is significantly more “dissatisfied with level of immigration and wanting it decreased” than other age groups, according to the Gallup Poll data.

Nonetheless, David J. Bier and Alex Nowrasteh report that “Biden’s Plan to End the Border Crisis Is Already Working” at The Daily Beast, and note: “In December 2022, the last full month before humanitarian parole, Border Patrol had 84,176 encounters with migrants from those four countries which accounted for over 36 percent of all encounters that month at the U.S.-Mexico border. In January, the number had already dropped to 11,909—an 86 percent decline. As a result, overall U.S.-Mexico border encounters are down 42 percent….This was similar to the decline in Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion showing up at the Southwest border in Spring 2022 after a similar program was announced. Their numbers dropped from 20,118 in April 2022 to 375 in May, a 98 percent reduction, after the Uniting for Ukraine parole program allowed them to come directly from abroad with a U.S. sponsor….The Ukrainian program was the model for Biden’s Latin American humanitarian parole and it’s having similarly dramatic effects on improving border security.” The authors, both affiliated with the libertarian Cato Institute, note some of the problems of the policy, but conclude: “The Biden administration has turned a massive flow of illegal immigrants into a smaller flow of legal immigrants using a 71-year-old legal power granted to him by Congress. Migrants on humanitarian parole are legal migrants, lawfully allowed to live and work in the United States….By extending humanitarian parole to other countries, increasing the numbers, attaching work authorization to parole, and reinstituting normal immigration fees, President Biden can be the first president to gain control of the border in generations.”

From “Both White and Nonwhite Democrats are Moving Left” by Alan I. Abramowitz at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Growing partisan-ideological congruence has been one of the most important trends affecting American politics over the past several decades. The ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans has increased dramatically since the 1970s as Republicans have grown increasingly conservative and Democrats have grown increasingly liberal. This increase in partisan-ideological congruence has affected rank-and-file voters as well as party elites and activists….In this article, I use data from American National Election Studies surveys to examine trends in partisan-ideological congruence among Democratic and Republican voters since 2012. To measure partisan-ideological congruence, I examine trends in ideological identification and policy preferences among Democrats and Republicans. In addition, I examine whether there is evidence of an emerging ideological divide between white and nonwhite Democratic voters. The findings indicate that from 2012 to 2020, there was a dramatic increase in liberalism among Democratic voters. This leftward shift has been somewhat greater among white Democrats than among nonwhite Democrats. However, both white and nonwhite Democrats moved to the left over that timespan. As a result, for the first time in recent history, partisan-ideological congruence is as great among Democrats as among Republicans. This trend has important implications for voting behavior….The sharp leftward movement among Democratic voters in recent years has led some political observers to suggest that Democrats need to be concerned about a growing racial divide in political ideology.

Abramowitz continues, “Nonwhites make up a large share of Democratic voters — 43% in 2020 according to the ANES data — and nonwhite Democrats have traditionally been less likely than white Democrats to self-identify as liberal. A growing racial divide in ideology could lead to an erosion in support for Democratic candidates among nonwhites, who have been some of the most loyal Democratic voters….Nonwhite Democrats continue to be somewhat less likely than white Democrats to self-identify as liberal and to support abortion rights. However, they are just as liberal as white Democrats on other issues such as government responsibility for jobs and living standards and aid to Blacks. The most significant trend in attitudes on these issues has been a dramatic shift to the left among white Democrats.” In his conclusion, Abramowitz explains, “The increase in loyalty among white Democratic identifiers is due largely to their increased liberalism because defections among white Democrats have been heavily concentrated among those with relatively conservative ideological orientations. This increased loyalty has also been apparent in other types of elections including those for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In 2022, according to data from the American National Election Studies Pilot Survey, 96% of Democratic identifiers, including leaning independents, voted for Democratic candidates for U.S. House and U.S. Senate. Growing ideological congruence among Democrats, and especially among white Democrats, suggests that these high levels of loyalty are likely to continue in 2024 and beyond.” Abramowitz establishes that the trend is clear. But centrist Democrats see the party’s left lean as more of a problem, because it gives the Republicans much more opportunity to win votes from moderates.

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