Why Courting White Voters Will Not Save the Democratic Party

By not leveraging the growing population of minority voters — who over time will collectively become the majority — Democrats are contributing to their party’s own demise.


A key factor that contributed to the Democratic Party’s loss in the presidential election was its failure to engage minority voters. And trends indicate that this will only become more important for the fate of politics in future elections.

A Pew Research Center study revealed last week that 2016 was the first year the Black voter turnout declined for a presidential election — from 2012’s record-high of 66.6 percent to a low 59.6 percent. This is also the largest decrease in voter turnout by ethnicity for any racial group since white voter turnout went down by about 10 percentage points from 1992 to 1996. According to Pew, the number of Black voters went down by an estimated 765,000.

In total, Blacks consisted of 11.9 percent of 2016’s voters, compared to 12.9 percent in 2012 — “the first time since 2004 that blacks have declined as a share of voters,” Pew reveals.

Disappointed by the options their preferred party has offered them, young Black Democrats are taking politics into their own hands and running for high office on the state level, with a number running for governor in 2018, a New York Times article recently investigated.

According to the Times, these potential candidates “are willing to defy the conventional strategic thinking of the national party establishment, which has tended to recruit moderate, white candidates for difficult races and largely failed to help blacks advance to high office under President Barack Obama.”

Democratic Rep. Stacey Abrams of Georgia, a possible candidate for governor, explained that politicians would be better served focusing on groups that are frequently left out of the conversation: minorities.

“There is a hunger for representation,” Abrams told the Times. “There is a desire to make certain the state starts to serve everyone.”

“There’s muscle memory that’s been built up over a long time about what the candidate has to look like, sound like, where they have to come from,” said Tallahassee Mayor and candidate for governor Andrew Gillum to the Times — typically, the white, middle-of-the-road candidate that the Democrats also serve up for the presidential election.

“In our case, in Florida, it hasn’t worked,” he added.

Meanwhile, the number of eligible Hispanic voters is only growing — signaling yet another demographic the Democrats should have their sights on when courting voters.

In 2016 a Pew study reported that Latino millennials comprise the majority of eligible Latino voters at 44 percent. And, in addition to being the largest group among its own race, Latino millennials also make up the largest eligible voting block out of all races and generations. But despite potentially having such a great influence on the election, Latinos historically do not go out to the polls.

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In 2012 48 percent of eligible Latinos voted, similar to the 47.6 percent that voted in 2016. But the Democrats have a lot to gain if they focus on this potentially influential bloc of voters, as the Hispanic population continues to surge, based on Pew’s data:

“Due largely to demographic growth, the number of Latino voters grew to a record 12.7 million in 2016, up from 11.2 million in 2012. Even so, the number of Latino nonvoters — those eligible to vote who do not cast a ballot, or 14 million in 2016 — was larger than the number of Latino voters, a trend that extends back to each presidential election since 1996.”

All of the data and trends align with the content outlined in “Brown is the New White,” a Times best-seller by civil rights attorney Steve Phillips.

Phillips discussed the themes highlighted in his book at DiversityInc’s 2016 fall conference, “Conquering Recruiting Challenges,” at which he was the keynote speaker.

He alluded to the United States’ rapidly changing demographics that will make progressive people of color (and progressive whites) the “New American Majority.” This has created a new American market of diverse consumers and a new talent pool. By Phillips’ assessment, this not only provides a new unique group of eligible workers but an unforeseen bloc of voters, all with different wants from what politicians have previously catered to.

Phillips said that in the workplace highly talented people of color are often “hiding in plain sight” and used the entertainment industry as an example.

The same thought process could be used in politics. Minority voters are “hiding in plain sight,” so to speak, but their voices are not being brought to the table.

Still speaking about the entertainment industry, Phillips said, “They were there all along, hiding in plain sight waiting to be believed in, invested in, promoted and empowered.”

Similarly, eligible minority voters are waiting to be “invested in, promoted and empowered” by their own political party that has repeatedly left them out of the conversation.

View Phillips’ full remarks below:

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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  • By creating and supporting division as you do consistently, there will not be anything progressive about it. You demonstrate your own prejudice by separating the “Whites” and minorities who you nearly applaud will be the collective majority. Why do you not ever say we are all Americans and work together with our different opinions? Your opinion, like most progressives, is that if I do not agree with you then I am one of the ists or isms in your vocabulary that you want to hurl at me. I am a conservative and have values that our country was founded upon. There is always room in my mind for dialogue but not using insults or exclusion as a means of obtaining your goals.

    • “Working together” requires an initiative from those with power. Read the article, demographics have shifted, in a representative republic, power shifts with it.

      The current administration does not reflect “working together”, it’s almost 100% old white men.

      • Fundamentally, the DNC is disconnected from its constituents. They simply mention critical issues affecting the disenfranchised. But there is no real and true movement supported by the DNC leadership truly supporting grass root movements. Their platform on their own website shows it (democrats.org). For me the DNC cares about two things, receiving corporate sponsorship money and ensuring voting rights are increased simply to ensure they receive a lion share of the vote from their traditional supporters.

        If you ask me, they themselves are con artists just like Trump. They aren’t out with it and up front in your face like the President.

        • I completely agree – nothing in their platform reflects the issues that impact communities of color and the needs we have from our government. Further, it does not reflect the interests of moderate whites – those who supported Obama but did not support Hilary and who are not racist. They have similar interests to working class and middle class people of color – groups Democrats typically take for granted. In addition – they did a lot of rolling over for Republican agenda when they had the majority and could have taken a stand against Republican opposition to Obama’s agenda – I lost respect for them even though I still voted along party lines in subsequent elections. If they do not stand properly and display that stand properly against what the Republicans are attempting to do to children, the environment and working class people in this country like me – they will lose us forever. It think most will simply go away and not participate.

      • Which is exactly why we must end the Diversity (Immigration) Invasion – which began in 1965, but never should have been started. As America becomes more diverse, it will become more conflicted, because we Whites are done with tolerating any further racial discrimination and dispossession. Henceforth, we fight for OUR interests as Whites.

  • Won’t save the Republican party, either.

    And ““Due largely to demographic growth, the number of Latino voters grew to a record 12.7 million in 2016, up …”

    No, due mostly to illegal immigration and birthright citizenship of illegal immigrants’ kids..

    • Undocumented don’t vote. Yes, there are a few examples to the contrary, just like Jared and Sean Spicer are regestered to vote in two places.

      The entire voting fraud issue is just bigoted voter suppression masquerading as “justice”.

      Legal voting Latino Americans are growing as a percent of the whole, because, as a group, they are far younger than white Americans.

  • This is exactly what happens when you place, endorse and overly support a racist presidential candidate during the 2016 election. It was a cautionary tale during the 2008 election when the Democrats attempted to move in Clinton’s direction but was implicitly forced to pivot support for Obama. 8 years of demographic change and race based economic status models along with numerous respected objective fact base polls should have been an easy read to the Democratic leadership. But this was never really about supporting Whites as it was more about offering support to corporate elites who happen to be White.

    America hasn’t changed. The American landscape is nothing more than a plantation environment. Slaveholders – White, Overseers – White and some “accepted” people of color, Slaves – Black people and other non Whites. If you don’t believe this you’re convincing yourself wrong. The key to maintaining status quo is convincing the overseers they are important and only contributors to society.

    • You’re an idiot. Whites have given (had stolen from them) TENS of TRILLIONS of dollars in wealth since 1946 to racial minorities. This has practically destroyed our White way of living. Millions of Whites are barely making it, but our government does NOTHING for us. We will not be tolerating this state of affairs for much longer. The Era of White Awakening has only just begun.

  • I think … (my two cents) it is time for BOTH parties is to do something unprecedented. And they must do this immediately. They need to make a bi-partisan statement and condemn the RECENT actions of this President and hold him accountable for what he is doing in certain recent events. The excuses of “not knowing” are not excuses anymore. The things he is doing is with forethought and it is compiling negative upon negative down the road against the American people -no matter what American Party they identify themselves with Democrats AND Republicans AND other Parties. (And people need to STOP blaming the legitimate news for their ills. The legitimate news services are being drowned out, and deliberately so to make the American people feel all things labeled news is news. But also the legitimate news services must keep their integrity to report ‘news’ and not ‘views and opinions’ or mixed with personal or corporate views and opinions and the American people need to know when they are reading/watching one or the other in times like these.)

    Then, what needs to happen is a small group of WH Republicans needs to stand up and let their Party and voters know that this man that is in the White House now, said and did anything for their vote and reaffirm what they are about so their base knows. Now they’ve got the old groups rebranding themselves as alt-right, or the older groups containing white supremacists, etc. who are claiming they are the Republican Party –so come out and set Americans straight once and for all. Accept them or deny them, but don’t sit there and use them for votes, make them the centerpieces of your votes, and when they do something ‘bad’ claim “We don’t condone them”, we’re not playing the race card, the Democrats are. You BOTH are. It’s time to remove the curtain. Who are you, really? Stop “threading the needle” and start sewing. And then, reap what you sow.

    Democrats too must take a hard look at their base and not call upon them only when they are “in trouble” needing the votes and they MUST learn to stand behind their candidates 100%. Define your platform as well, who are you these days and why are you. The Democratic Party was shameful these past 8 years as they did not stand behind their President when needed either. That’s where Republicans now have the upper hand. Republicans are standing behind this guy, no matter what. It would have been nice to see the Democrats have that loyalty and many times did not.Their voters noticed, and that is one great reason why they are weak.

    Dividing voters into races from this point on to ‘target them’ is not going do it anymore. Republicans/Conservatives standing behind the very same behavior they condemned strongly in others should be focused on, challenged, and demand answers of, and the American people need to know and hold those accountable of the hypocrisy happening now. Not focus on race and who to ‘get’ just for ‘votes’ to ‘win’.

    The person or person who comes forth RIGHT NOW, political party be darned, and calls for everyone to work together, everyone to have a voice, etc., is the person the majority of the American people will respond to. If not, It’s time to kiss American Democracy goodbye.

  • Sadly, we are nearing the point of no return. ‘Working Together’ and “Having a Dialogue” have become code words and dog whistles for doing as one side feels and if you do not embrace and completely agree then shame on you followed by some sort of name calling ‘ism’ or ‘ists’. Ironically, traditionally the Hispanic community lean more towards traditional conservative values. This might change with millenials in the near future as their values have been successfully planted with a focus on illegal immigration.

    Either way it takes equal participation to ‘work together’ That is not about power, perceived power or past history. Working together requires mutual buy in to achieve a common goal.

  • Let’s get real here; Donald Trump is going to save the Democratic party. Unless, of course, he screws it up TOTALLY before next election. In less than 6 months, the majority of eligible voters are quite tired of providing security for the ‘royal family’ at three separate white houses—DC, FL, and NY. Also tired of seeing our health care go totally down the toilet, and now we’re seeing classified information passed around with the cocktail napkins. And BTW, where’s his tax returns? How much BS can this guy pump out before even the village idiot wakes up?

    • His support will not drop below 35% as long as there continues to be a racist agenda for his almost all white male cabinet – support for Jeff “Bull Connor” Sessions’ renewed war on drugs (the 1960s era war on Negroes), the voter fraud commission (or how to supress Blacks and Latinos from voting), pushing the Muslim ban, building the wall.

      • Ban on travelers from countries that don’t comply with US standards on identifying who is who, providing a tangible method of protecting the US porous southern border such as a Wall, stopping non citizens from voting in federal elections (local and state events can and will remain sloppy), either legalize all street drugs or deal with sick addicts as it however seem effective … all are sound solutions for these ever plaguing problems.

        • Except, the “problems” are only in the heads of ignorant people who believe Trump or Jeff Sessions. Native born Americans are far more criminal than undocumented workers, more Americans have been killed by televisions falling on them since 9/11 than any definition of Muslim terrorism.

      • Luke, I’m not sure 35% is the floor yet. He’s already reached record lows for any president at the same days of service. While I agree there is going to be a base that supports his racist agenda regardless, I believe there is still a significant group that feels committed because of their personal investment pre-election and they feel there is no way out. But as this historic debacle of a presidency continues they will be forced to abandon ship out of personal and moral preservation. Additionally, the 65% (many of whom are non committal either way right now) will continue to shift left. As the opposition grows, so will the response. I’m not saying there will be a revolution but it will be a significant response that comes in many forms. We’ve already seen cracks in the Republican party that is experiencing failure in trying to squeeze out what they can from their feigned support for him.

    • I hope everyone good health but I don’t wish to pay for it. Trump’s eliminating of the barbaric mandate is excellent.

  • I disagree that either party should content itself with only reaching out to ethnic minorities, whether those minorities are persons of color or — as may, ultimately, be the case — Anglos. I also don’t agree that the decline in minority voting was solely due to failures of the Democratic Party. What about all the Republican-led voting suppression efforts?

    • Charity Dell

      GRANNYBUNNY–I think you’re right. The DNC needs to seriously involve all the white-led grassroots movements;
      white college and graduate students; and young white professionals–in addition to growing bases among all
      immigrant groups, Native Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latino Americans. The DNC needs
      to push more progressive ideas–such as free college tuition in all public colleges and universities–and stop
      pandering to Big Pharma, Agri-business and the Insurance Barons.

      • More subsidies for the Marxist Professoriat! Ha see how quickly any RINO who supports such crap gets voted out of office in the primary. We need FEWER students being indoctrinated in our Marxist universities, not more wasting our tax money there.

  • Have anyone considered that there are a growing number of “BLACKS” who support and vote anything other than for democrats? Given what has been said and evidence given in the past on who and why “BLACKS” vote how they have ascertaining the net results, I will keep my comment short on this topic for I see no value in allotting more time towards it.

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