Posted on November 26, 2018

Trouble Brewing in the ‘Coalition of the Ascendant’

Patrick McDermott, American Renaissance, November 26, 2018

Astute observers have known for some time that Democrats are no longer the party of the working class. The white working class has steadily abandoned the party since the 1960s, but their ranks have been replenished by college-educated whites who have been marching in the opposite direction. Today, the Democratic Party has become an alliance of minorities and the college-educated, the so-called Coalition of the Ascendant that twice elected Barack Obama president.

This coalition is unstable, however. The 2018 elections revealed cracks that will eventually tear it apart and ultimately save the nation’s white population from its current crisis.

The problem with college-educated whites

It is not immediately obvious that the coalition may be in trouble. College graduates as a whole have been trending toward the Democrats for more than 20 years. Although white college graduates are more conservative than non-white college graduates, they only narrowly backed Donald Trump — by 48-45 percent — in 2016. In this year’s midterms, they swung to the Democrats, backing them by a margin of 53-45 percent. This leftward trend among college-educated whites is serious enough to pose a threat to Mr. Trump’s reelection.

White liberals have also been at the heart of the leftward lurch in the Democratic Party, including a strong shift left on race and immigration. From 2001-2017, the share of white Democrats calling themselves liberal nearly doubled, from 28 to 55 percent. Together, these leftward trends among college-educated and liberal white voters have been just as important as the demographic changes that are also moving Democrats and certain parts of the country to the left. The two trends have been mutually reinforcing.

The leftward trend among college-educated whites has slowed only modestly in the face of a far-left minority candidate. In this year’s governor’s race in Georgia, college-educated whites backed the white Republican, Brian Kemp, by 59-40 percent, but in the previous election in 2014 — a competitive race that featured two white candidates — the Republican margin was a crushing 68-28 percent. The candidacy of Stacey Abrams, a far-left black activist, did not appreciably slow the leftward march of college-educated whites, even in the heart of the South.

Cracks in the coalition

This tendency among college-educated whites is worrying, but it is not the whole story. The ones who live in the nation’s largest cosmopolitan cities are racial outliers. For example, from 2000-2016, a period when college-educated whites in blue America were trending left, the overall white vote shifted toward the GOP by five percent (excluding third parties). College-educated whites in blue states such as California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, and New York supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, but college-educated whites in red America and working-class whites in just about every state supported Mr. Trump.

To be sure, college-educated whites who live in places such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, are among the most influential in society. They are the “elite” to which most of the populists of Europe and America are opposed.

Even among this educated elite, however, cracks can be found in their alliance with non-whites. In the 2018 midterms, some of the Democrats’ highest-profile losses were minority candidates running in states at or approaching majority-minority status: Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and Lupe Valdez in Texas. Meanwhile, many of the party’s highest-profile winners in states at or approaching majority-minority status were white: Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), Gavin Newsom (California), Diane Feinstein (California), and Jacky Rosen (Nevada) — along with Beto O’Rourke, who narrowly lost in Texas.

Why is this a problem? White Democrats like these do not have a promising future, and certainly not in majority-minority states. This becomes more obvious when one looks further down the ballot at the farm team — the elected officials in state office who will be tomorrow’s Democratic leaders. They look nothing like this year’s lily-white crop of Democratic victors.

For example, in the California State Assembly, two-thirds of the Democratic members of the lower chamber are non-white. In New Mexico’s state legislature, over half the Democrats (who control both chambers) are Hispanics, as is the state’s newly elected governor. In Texas, an overwhelming majority of Democrats in the state legislature are non-white. The same is true of its Democratic congressional delegation. In Georgia, over half the Democrats in both chambers of the state legislature are black, as are all four Democrats in its congressional delegation.

This is the true face of the emerging Democratic Party, not white politicians like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, or newer (but still white) candidates like Beto O’Rourke. The brown and black politicians coming up through the ranks in these states are not especially concerned about the needs of white liberals. They are concerned about their own people, many of whom still live in poverty.

The coming crack-up

The future of the Democratic Party is not hard to see if you know where to look. The upstairs-downstairs nature of the Coalition of the Ascendant is already facing tensions at the local level in places such as San Francisco and New York City. Upscale liberal whites in gentrified urban neighborhoods frequently resist affordable housing developments and battle efforts to desegregate their schools.

Those differences are minor compared to what is coming in the next decade. Consider:

  • In 2020, or shortly thereafter, the Democrats will become a majority-minority party;
  • More minority presidential candidates will seek office, giving the nation a more accurate sense of the Democrats’ agenda;
  • Democrats in Congress will tip majority-minority, with corresponding changes in their congressional leadership;
  • Minority candidates such as Stacey Abrams will be elected governor in majority-minority states;
  • States such as California and Georgia are likely to suffer from worsening poverty and Third World conditions; and
  • A left-wing president will probably be elected after Texas, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and/or Florida are demographically transformed into blue states.

How will white America — including college-educated whites — react to these changes? What will they do when the nation’s emerging brown and black majority demands equal housing, free health care, and ever-increasing levels of affirmative action? Who will pay? The very college-educated whites who are today so enthusiastically embracing their role in the Coalition of the Ascendant.

Far-left, urban white voters who supported candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may not care. Moderate suburban soccer moms in places such as Nebraska or Wisconsin are another story. Some of them may have voted for (usually white) Democrats this year because they felt uncomfortable with Donald Trump’s personal style. They were not endorsing Democratic Socialists, nor were they voting to endanger the futures of their children.

The NYC Democratic Socialists of America organized a march to #AbolishICE. (Credit Image: © Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire)

Many studies have shown that fear, not persuasion, is the most effective way to change core convictions. Experimental research has shown that growing awareness of the nation’s pending demographic change makes whites more conservative and makes them feel closer to other whites.

Most of white America does not feel threatened yet, but it will — and with good reason. The world’s long history of ethnic conflict has not been kind to minorities, with outcomes ranging from oppression to ethnic cleansing or worse. Such conflict is highly correlated with genetic diversity and ethnic polarization. There is probably no better example of “white privilege” than the foolish belief among whites that they are somehow exempt from these larger historical forces, especially given the real world examples in South Africa and Haiti. Wishful thinking is not a counterstrategy.

The 2018 elections were a setback not just for Republicans, but also for advocates who hoped that white America would wake up to the growing threat. But the story is not over. College-educated white Americans who are so willingly abandoning their racial kin today are about to experience a rude awakening. Until then, Republicans would do well to dust off a copy of the Sailer Strategy and infuse Trump’s nationalism with something else he campaigned on but that has largely gone missing — a healthy dose of pro-working class populism.

Given the powerful lock that the dominant moral mythology has on our white educated elite, the crisis confronting white America will get worse before it gets better. This seems inevitable. But there is also truth in the old aphorism that it is always darkest before the dawn. The dawn is coming. That, too, is inevitable.