In the wake of the 2020 election, analysts and political junkies — looking deeply at the numbers — wondered if a realignment had occurred among the American electorate.
The way the story’s unfolded among the right since then, and even among some progressives, is an electoral shake-up has brought more working-class voters and more voters of color into the Republican Party. Meanwhile, the story continues, the Democratic Party continues to run up numbers in congressional districts that are whiter and wealthier. According to 2019 median household income data released by the Census Bureau, Democrats represent 26 of 27 richest congressional districts.
These trends are not entirely new. The 1980s saw the emergence of the “Reagan Democrats,” largely white voters from the Industrial Midwest who were longtime Democrat voters but moved to the GOP in the 1980s amid culture war concerns, de-industrialization and the feeling that the Democrats had become an elite party. A somewhat similar phenomenon could be observed with some black and Latino voters in the 2004 election, who supported the reelection of then-President George W. Bush during the post-9/11 atmosphere of concern about national security and terrorism.
Long-term trends could suggest that a more permanent and significant realignment is underway at the moment as the GOP attracts multi-racial, working-class voter. This new GOP would be animated by cultural concerns, religious and socially conservative attitudes, and alienation from the “woke” liberal elite who form the core of the Democratic Party’s apparatus.
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