A.B. Stoddard, the editor of RealClearPolitics, sets the grim scene for Democrats as we approach the 2022 elections, comparing the party to an addict destined to wind up on skid row.
These days the Democratic Party is like a sad addict whose life has fallen apart, with too much to resolve and repair all at once. Sure, the aching hip and broken relationships can be put off for another day, but the lost job, wrecked car, and empty bank account require immediate attention. President Biden and the Democrats are — simultaneously — working to stave off the failure of his economic agenda, control a once-again rampaging pandemic, mitigate the effects of the worst inflation since 1982, and rescue democracy from new laws that permit the GOP to nullify the next election, all before they likely lose both chambers of Congress next year.
There are too many liabilities to count. But there is one new and glaring problem that has nothing to do with bickering factions in Congress, and cannot be explained away by global trends or the potency of election conspiracies and propaganda. A distinct group of their supporters is leaving them. Many Hispanic voters, long a reliable part of the Democratic coalition, have walked away. It is not — yet — a majority of them, but the numbers are dramatic. Biden won 750,000 fewer Hispanic voters in 2020 than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 — in an Electoral College victory he nearly lost by fewer than 45,000 votes in three states. Donald Trump improved his margin with these voters by eight percentage points in four years, according to an analysis by the Democratic firm Catalist — a larger swing than any among white, black or Asian voters.
As Stoddard suggests, Democrats are facing so many problems right now that their ability to recover is diminished. But a poll published last month showed there was at least one, relatively simply thing they could do to at least limit the damage. It was quite simple actually: Stop using the word Latinx as a supposedly inclusive term for Hispanic voters. Why? Because only 2% of those voters use it and about 40% said it was off-putting. In a universe of things Democrats can’t control, this is something they can control.
Today, Axios reports on some of the efforts to get the word out about the word Latinx. For instance, last month the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ campaign arm tweeted that Latinx wasn’t being used to appeal to Hispanic voters, it was being used to “appease white rich progressives,” in other words the woke.
To be clear my office is not allowed to use “Latinx” in official communications.
When Latino politicos use the term it is largely to appease white rich progressives who think that is the term we use. It is a vicious circle of confirmation bias. https://t.co/kMty6q7UQn
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) December 6, 2021
The Miami Herald editorial board published a whole piece about it last month, begging the party to drop it.
Dear progressive politicians, pundits and media friends: Stop trying to make the term “Latinx” a thing…
You’re like Gretchen Wieners in the movie “Mean Girls” trying to turn “fetch” into the next cool slang. So, we’ll channel our best Regina George to say: Stop trying to make Latinx happen! It’s not going to happen!…
Every time a Democratic politician uses the term, a Republican operative celebrates. It’s just what the GOP needs to make the case that Democrats are too busy being “woke” to worry about the everyday-life concerns of Americans.
So the word has definitely gone out that Democrats need to drop this, at least in public. Maybe there’s enough agreement (and panic) to keep this one word out of Democrats’ mouths for the next year but my guess is it won’t be as easy as they hope to get rid of it and here’s why.
The motive behind the word Latinx is to be more inclusive, especially to those who are transgender or non-binary.
For some Spanish-speaking people who are nonbinary or transgender, the term (pronounced: “Latin-ex”) creates space in a historically gendered language…
“The term was coined by people in the social justice movement who are at the intersection of Latin American and queer,” said Acosta, community relations manager for Contigo Fund, a nonprofit that provides funds to LGBTQ organizations in Central Florida.
That connection to trans issues means the people pushing this particular word aren’t run-of-the-mill Democrats but hyper-aggressive culture warriors of the kind of brand anyone who disagrees with them a TERF and a sellout. It’s true they weren’t able to cancel Dave Chappelle, at least not yet, but these folks (folx?) won’t blink at taking on a bunch of slightly more moderate Democrats to make a point. And if making that point harms the party’s electoral chances, they won’t care. For culture warriors what matters is fighting the good fight, not winning elections through compromise.
You could say this one word is setting up a battle between between the left and the woke. Can more moderate Democrats force the woke to concede on this one single point? Can a single piece of symbolic trans-allyship be held at bay for the greater good of the party? I wouldn’t count on it. True believers aren’t known for their openness to compromise.