May 15, 2024 - News

The working class tilt

A rancher wearing a hat looks at cattle through a fence.

Farmer Jose Esquivel herds cattle in preparation for an auction in Quemado. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The decades-long exodus of white working-class voters from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party has a new jolt: Latino working-class voters are joining the shift.

State of play: Biden's poll numbers have been rising lately, but several surveys have indicated he is underperforming with non-white voters without college degrees — a constituency that has long been overwhelmingly Democratic.

  • Voters said they trusted the GOP more than Democrats on the economy, immigration and education, a dramatic shift from past elections.

Between the lines: GOP consultant Mike Madrid tells Axios the political shift among working-class Latino and Black voters has accelerated in recent elections because they see Democrats as out of touch with their way of life.

  • These voter blocs are upset with Democrats' focus on EVs while moving to phase out fossil fuels, which many see as endangering the high-paying oil industry — which employs more than 480,000 Texans.
  • Democrats' push to forgive college students' loans also is unpopular with some working-class voters who want to focus on making food and housing more affordable, Madrid said.

Reality check: Democrats still are widely expected to win more votes from working-class Black and Latino voters than Republicans. It's the margins that are shrinking.

What we're watching: Democrats are doubling down on abortion rights in the wake of a Republican-led reversal of Roe v. Wade, which would sway many Latino working-class voters, who are strongly pro-choice.

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