Vox’s Matt Yglesias has a piece about this topic a few days ago which I thought made some good points. Yglesias argued that the left’s commitment to a particular strain of woke identity politics was probably hurting Democrats and might explain why Trump did better with Hispanic voters in 2020 than he did in 2016. Today the NY Times published a piece titled “How Democrats Missed Trump’s Appeal to Latino Voters” which to some degree jibes with that explanation:

For years, many Democrats have presumed demography as destiny, believing that Latinos would come to vote for them with the same kind of consistency that Black voters do. A growing Latino population, they hoped, would transform the political landscape and give the party an edge in the Southwest.

That dream ran into reality in this election, in which the results confirmed what was evident from conversations with hundreds of Latino voters in dozens of settings from the early days of the Democratic primary until the long ballot-counting hours in Arizona over the last week: The Latino vote is deeply divided, and running as not-Trump was always going to be insufficient…

“More people are waking up,” said Kelly Gonzalez, who attended a Republican election party in Harlingen, in South Texas, with her husband, her 1-year-old daughter and her 7-year-old son, each of them clad in Trump gear from head to toe. In the once reliably left-leaning region, Ms. Gonzalez said her opinion of liberals — particularly young ones — had changed in the last four years. “It’s like, ‘Give me this, give me that,’ and they don’t want to work for it,” she said…

Democrats also did not seem to account for how effective Mr. Trump’s efforts to tie their party to socialism would be, especially among Venezuelan- and Cuban-American voters in Florida.

But Trump’s success with Hispanic voters wasn’t limited to Florida. Trump won majority Latino districts in Texas and seems to have done very well in Arizona as well. Arizona still hasn’t been called yet and is currently divided by fewer than 15,000 votes. Exit polling suggests Trump won 36% of the Latino vote in the state.

Today Slate published a piece titled “Democrats Can’t Take Latino Voters for Granted Anymore.” Northwestern history professor Geraldo Cadava suggests that the results of the election mean Democrats may need to listen to the other 70 million Americans who didn’t vote for them, including about a third of the record number of Latino voters. Once again, identity politics came up:

I think for four years, Democrats’ main response to the 2016 election and the Trump presidency was outrage and resistance. That kind of characterized our whole response to Trump. He was the violator of norms in chief, and everything he said was a lie. It’s not that those things aren’t true, but I think that narrative wore thin and is insufficient. I’m hoping that the narrative coming out of the 2020 election is going to be something more like, “OK, we really need to try to listen to why 70 million Americans, even after Trump was impeached, even after his miserable handling of the coronavirus, still voted for him.”

I think that is going to be a really important conversation. It includes conversations about how Democrats have thought about identity politics and fashioned themselves as the only party that could represent Blacks, Latinos, women, gay people, the whole thing.

I don’t know if you have been following Marco Rubio’s Twitter account for the past couple of days, but he’s out there talking about how the Republican Party of the future is going to be the party of Latinos, Black voters, and working-class Americans. So I think that’s the first shot at crafting or rethinking or reshaping the Republican Party after Trump.

Cadava specifically brought up the way in which Trump overperformed in Texas as a wake up call for Democrats:

I interviewed a Republican candidate for Congress from the Rio Grande Valley named Monica De La Cruz. She was telling me that Trump has given Mexican Americans a political voice. She was talking about the “Trump trains” that drove through the area every weekend and she noted a real enthusiasm. Her argument was that Trump gave them the ability to say loudly, proudly, that they were conservative and they were walkaway Democrats, they were going to leave the party because it had taken them for granted.

That’s why I think Democrats would be wrong to only focus on the part of the narrative that’s about record Latino turnout and ignore the part of the narrative that’s about a pretty dramatic shift toward Trump.

The idea of demographic destiny may not work out the way Democrats have always assumed it will. The Hispanic vote and even the black vote isn’t a given. That’s especially true as Democrats keep embracing far left identity politics that are off-putting to a lot of minority voters.