Six months later, the result of the 2020 Presidential Election is crystal clear. Joe Biden won by over seven million votes. Why Americans voted as they did is something sociologists and political scientists will be analyzing for years to come. Trump’s demeanor and policy positions may have contributed to his loss, but his pugnaciousness and far-Right agenda attracted more voters, many of them multicultural, in 2020 than in 2016.
While Trump’s support was increasing, 2020 threw the world a COVID-19 sized curveball. Had the pandemic not occurred, it's likely Donald Trump would still be President. Despite Trump’s loyal following, a group of voters emerged that placed his handling of the pandemic higher than any other factor. Multicultural voters were a big part of that constituency. These voters were less likely to be following Twitter or cable news reports of Trump’s presidency. They were front-line workers at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and more likely to suffer pandemic-related job losses.
Pre-COVID, Trump’s chances of re-election were very real. Many of the fundamentals that usually predict presidential election results, such as the power of incumbency and a strong economy with low unemployment, worked in his favor. Even as early as February 2020, most Americans believed he would be re-elected. Trump’s message is often described as “fearmongering.” Fear of others, fear of losing status, fear of socialism. Ironically, the most primal human fear – death – may have been his undoing.
During the run-up to the election, ThinkNow ran a series of polls to determine what drove recently registered voters to register and what issues motivated voting intent.
We also asked voters who registered to vote within the past five years how they planned to vote, and “by mail” was highest among multicultural voters that registered as Democrats or Independents, shown as “Non-Republican” below:
A record number of mail-in ballots were received and took days to count, recount, and certify. In key states, those mail-in ballots made the difference.
Recent reports of Donald Trump’s growing support among Hispanics, especially in Florida and South Texas, where they helped flip some house seats, persist in the media but don’t reflect the facts. Research done by Equis Research shows that “There are several states the Joe Biden and Senate Democrats won with the help of Latino voters, and there are none they lost because of them.” In fact, Joe Biden’s win was fueled by multicultural voters.
As the pandemic starts winding down in the U.S., we’re taking stock of its effects on the economy, grieving the loss of life, and working to restore our mental and physical health. We should also acknowledge that without COVID-19, it’s quite possible that the made-for-reality-TV Trump Administration would still be consuming our attention. The 2024 presidential election seems far away, but the first 2024 caucus is only two and a half years away. Another Trump run at the presidency without a pandemic to dampen his support has a real possibility for success. Multicultural voters can stop that from happening, but not if they are taken for granted or treated unfairly.