Within the portion of Americans who call themselves Democrats, whites are considerably more likely to call themselves “liberals” than are African-Americans or Latinos, according to a Gallup survey.
A piece by Brookings scholar William A. Galston, published online yesterday and based on a that Gallup survey, and calling attention to it, took me by surprise, until I thought it through and looked into the latest trends in party ID by race, gender, age and education.
The first and biggest breakthrough to my understanding was a reminder that the Republican electorate is almost entirely white and mostly older.
Hispanic, Asian and especially black voters overwhelmingly identify as Democrats.
White non-liberal older voters went for Trump. And there are a lot people in that category. But non-whites, even if they might be less liberal, seem to be a still solid part of the Democratic coalition. Which explains why the portion of whites who voted for Clinton is a more liberal group than the non-whites who voted for Clinton. Mystery solved.
As I looked at other Gallup and Pew studies about the breakdown of the 2016 presidential electorate among U.S. voters by race, gender, age and party identification, it was overwhelmingly clear that Trump’s areas of strength were limited to older, white males with less than a college education. Seriously, look at this Pew breakdown of the 2016 vote by various characteristics. Trump carried only non-college graduates, older males, and whites overall.
It’s still hard to understand, in a country as diverse and increasingly so as ours, how Trump won the (electoral vote) majority. But the Trump voters are an older and shrinking group of the overall electorate, and all the other groups are younger and growing.
So I think I’ll stick around and see how that turns out.