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RICH LOWRY: What’s wrong with people of color?

The progressive journalist Thomas Frank wrote a much-discussed book in 2004 titled, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Right now, some other like-minded journalist might be thinking of writing a book called “What’s the Matter With People of Color?”

For Democrats, the presidential polling among Latinos and African Americans ranges from concerning to extremely disturbing, as President Joe Biden sheds support to Donald Trump.

A New York Times poll in March had Trump beating Biden among Hispanic voters 46-40, while a Wall Street Journal poll last month found that 30 percent of African American males say they are definitely or probably going to vote for Trump. Other surveys show less stark results, but something is going on, especially with Hispanic voters.

If nothing else, we are seeing the foolhardiness of Democrats believing that all minorities — with an array of national backgrounds and socioeconomic and demographic characteristics — could be lumped together as “people of color” and corralled into the Democratic coalition with woke political appeals. That might work on campuses; it doesn’t work in the rest of the country.

The problem for Biden is that Hispanics are too much like the rest of America. In Cygnal polling, 69 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, and 72 percent of Hispanics think the same. Hispanics care about the economy as much as — in fact, more than — anyone else. Whereas 30 percent of the country says inflation and the economy is the top issue, 42 percent of Hispanics say it is. This means that only 37 percent of Hispanics view Biden favorably, essentially the same as among whites.

Changing Hispanic attitudes toward immigration is a big part of the picture. A CBS poll in Arizona found that 52 percent of all voters think recent immigrants have made life worse. What outrageous xenophobia, you say? Well, 40 percent of Hispanic voters think they’ve made life worse, too (a slim plurality, 42 percent, say they’ve made it better).

While the left thought that Hispanics would enjoying being called “Latinx” and seamlessly fit into its victim-industrial-complex, Trump “the blue collar billionaire” probably has more in common with the average Latino working-class male than any member of the (exclusively Democratic) Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The division of the electorate among class lines, long evident among whites, now appears to be showing up among Hispanics. Ruy Teixeira of the American Enterprise Institute cites a YouGov poll that found Biden leading by 1 point among working-class Hispanics and 39 points among college-educated Hispanics. Working-class Hispanics tend to be more moderate or conservative than their college-educated counterparts, and are more pessimistic about the economy and concerned about inflation.

As Teixeira notes, about 78 percent of Hispanic voters are working class, and even higher percentages in Arizona and Nevada, states where Trump is leading.

It’s best to think of the Latino and Black voters telling pollsters that they support Trump as very much potential voters — Trump will have to continue to make his case, and the Republican National Committee find ways to turn them out. But, as the Republican political analyst Patrick Ruffini points out, if culturally conservative non-whites break away from the Democratic coalition, it would be a boon for the GOP.

What’s wrong with people of color? This year they could prove too politically independent-minded.

Rich Lowry is on X @RichLowry.

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