Juan González: The Media Has It Wrong. Record Latinx Turnout Helped Biden. White Voters Failed Dems
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be inching toward victory as counting continues in several key states that could put him over 270 electoral votes, the threshold needed to win the Electoral College and take the White House. President Trump and his supporters, meanwhile, have attacked the process and falsely claimed Democrats are stealing the election, and the Trump campaign has launched a barrage of legal challenges in swing states related to ballot counting. With the results closer than many pollsters had predicted, Democracy Now! co-host Juan González says “a false narrative” is taking root that Latinx voters were primarily to blame for the weak Democratic result. “The main story is that people of color, especially Latinos, flocked to the polls in numbers that far exceeded what the experts had expected, while the total number of votes cast by white Americans barely increased from the last presidential election,” says González. “How come none of the experts are asking why white voters underperformed the Democratic Party?”
AMY GOODMAN: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is closing in on securing enough electoral votes to win the election, after news outlets projected him winning two key states in the Midwest: Wisconsin and Michigan. According to the Associated Press, Biden has now secured 264 electoral votes. He will reach the needed 270 if he wins any of the four undecided races: Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina or Pennsylvania. Biden briefly spoke on Wednesday.
JOE BIDEN: And now, after a long night of counting, it’s clear that we’re winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report, when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.
AMY GOODMAN: Trump made multiple false claims on Wednesday, suggesting Democrats are stealing the election. At one point, Trump wrote on Twitter he was claiming, for electoral vote purposes, the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan, even as votes are still being counted. The Trump campaign also filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, and has requested a recount in Wisconsin. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf criticized the Trump campaign’s lawsuit.
GOV. TOM WOLF: This afternoon, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop the counting of ballots in Pennsylvania. That is simply wrong. It goes against the most basic principles of our democracy.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the election and to look at who turned out to vote in this historic election, we’re joined by Democracy Now!’s own Juan González, who’s been closely looking at who turned out to vote. He’s joining us from New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he’s a professor at Rutgers University.
So, Juan, it is astounding, what has taken place in this country. We are talking about a record-smashing number of voters. It is believed over 150 million people voted. Can you talk about the demographics of the vote? In the last days, the main narrative has been, before the election final day on November 3rd, that African Americans and Latinos were not coming out to vote for Joe Biden to the extent that it was believed they would be. But this is a narrative right now you are refuting. Can you talk about your findings?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes, Amy. And I’ve been poring over the numbers and trying to make sense of what happened in this election. And this developing narrative that Latinos and, to some extent, African Americans shifted more toward Donald Trump in this election, that they underperformed for Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, I believe, is a largely false narrative. I think the main story of this election, as you mentioned that saw record turnout — we won’t have the exact numbers, but it looks like about 158, 59, 160 million people — close to 160 million people voted. The main story is that people of color, especially Latinos, flocked to the polls in numbers that far exceeded what the experts had expected, while the total number of votes cast by white Americans barely increased from the last presidential election, and, most importantly, that white voters, including white women, voted at higher percentages for Trump this year than they did in 2016. So, how come none of the experts are asking why white voters underperformed the Democratic Party?
And let me be a little bit more specific. There does appear to have been some areas of the country where there was an increase in the percentage of the Latino vote for Donald Trump, specifically in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and in the Miami-Dade County, both of which, I should note, for those people who know the voting patterns of the Latino community, have always been relatively conservative areas of the Latino community in terms of voting. Even though South Texas is largely Democratic, it’s always been a moderate to centrist or conservative Democratic voting bastion. But my analysis of the numbers shows a completely different story when you look at the country as a whole.
And I’m doing this based on the exit polls that most of the networks use, which is the Edison national election poll, which has always been — it’s been criticized in the past precisely because it doesn’t give correct numbers or doesn’t give valid numbers on the Latino community, but it’s still the only massive exit poll that we have, until we get more scientific studies that come maybe months later or a year later.
So, first of all, the historic turnout, right? If we take the number of 159 million, last election was 136 million people voted, so we’re talking about an increase of 23 million voters compared to the last election — phenomenal increase. Who were those 23 million people, and where did they come from? So, I think — I have a chart here. I hope the producers are able to put it up here. But you’ll see that, according to the exit polls, 13% of the vote came from Latino voters, Latino Americans. That represents 20.6 million Latinos voted in this election. That is an incredible increase, 65% over the last election, which was already a record for Latinos when it was only 12.6%. For the first time in U.S. history, because Latinos have never voted at more than 50% of the eligible population — they’ve always been 45, 46 or even less — for the first time, about two-thirds of the eligible Latinos came to the polls. Eight million more Latinos voted in this election than voted in the last election.
Then come the Asian Americans, a phenomenal turnout in the Asian American community, 3.6 million more votes than voted in 2016. And then African Americans also had an increase. They went from 17.1 million who voted in 2016 to 19 million, about 1.9 million. So that’s an increase, but it’s not as increased as you might have expect after a year or two years now of massive racial justice protests and the pioneering candidacy of Kamala Harris, but it’s still an increase.
So, what about white voters, the largest sector of the electorate, but a diminishing portion? In 2016, 100 million whites voted in the election. In this election, 103 million voted — just 2.7 million increase in the total white vote in the country.
So, the bulk of the increase of the vote in this election came from people of color, largely Latinos. So, now people say, “Well, but there was a slight percentage increase among African Americans and Latinos for Trump.” Well, percentages don’t win elections. Votes win elections. Right? And that’s what you’ve got to understand. Would you rather have 70% of 12 million votes, or would you rather have 68% of 20 million votes? The increase has been so large, whereas the percentages have stayed roughly the same, that there has been — there was enormous increase in the vote by Asian Americans, Latino Americans and African Americans for Biden and the Democratic Party.
Why was this? And I think the enthusiasm and the turnout of the Latinx community was fueled by four years of constant Republican scapegoating and attacks on Latinos, from the disastrous response to Hurricane Maria for the Puerto Rican community, to family separations, and also to the terrible response of the Trump administration to the coronavirus. And it is why Arizona and Nevada and Colorado are likely, it seems, to go for Joe Biden. And what has happened now is that there is a new Brown Belt voting bloc that is developing in the Southwest, that includes Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and very soon Texas, as well.
So, the real underperformers in this election were white voters, who not only did not have a qualitative increase in their vote totals — they dropped from 71% of the electorate to 65% of the electorate — but they voted in an even higher percentage for Trump this time than last time or than they did for John McCain in 2008. And this is especially true among white women. So, now, how is this possible, given the years now of sexual — of allegations of sexual assault against Trump, his denigrating of women, his family separation policies, that white women increased the percentage of the vote that they gave to Donald Trump? What’s up with that? Why are all the commentators not dissecting what the heck is going on in white America and with white women in America? Unfortunately, it seems to me, looking at the numbers, there is no gender gap. There’s a racial gender gap, in that African American and Latino women are voting so overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, but not white women. And I think that needs to be analyzed more.
And finally, I think the key issue here is that the United States, being the world’s prime imperialist power, with no real competition, no real adversaries who threaten it, and only China who can compete economically with the United States, that we are a country that is increasingly moving to a situation where the Republican Party is moving more and more to be the party of white people in America, and the Democratic Party is increasingly becoming the party of the new multiracial majority of the American people. That’s what I take from the results of this election, no matter who ends up actually winning the election or what happens with the Senate or what happens with the Congress. It’s the developing trends in the electorate of America that are showing enormous racial division between the two parties and who they represent.
For read transcript or view the news segment, go here.