Post-election data analysis of flipped districts demonstrates that a big part of the reason Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant fearmongering backfired so spectacularly is because the vast majority of those districts have grown both more educated and more diverse over the last five years. In fact, the data analyzed by the New American Economy (NAE) showed that was true for all *30 districts that had flipped by the time the report was released last week on Nov. 15. (*The 30 districts did not include those that had been redrawn since 2016.)
Here were the key findings NAE sent out regarding the characteristics of the 30 districts compared to five years ago:
Education levels increased sharply in every House district that flipped from Republican to Democrat. In all but one of those districts, at least 10,000 more voters had obtained a bachelor’s degree in 2018 than had in 2013. The district with the greatest escalation in bachelor’s degrees, IL-14, rose by 7 percent in 5 years. In all but one district that flipped, the share of the electorate that was either Asian American or Hispanic American increased. In 20 of the 30 districts, the number of Asian and Hispanic eligible voters increased by more than 10,000 in just 5 years. In all but two of these districts the number of foreign-born eligible voters grew. In several key districts that flipped, the number of new foreign-born voters increased by more than 20,000: CA-49, VA-10, TX-32, and NY-11. In all but one of these flipped districts, the share of the electorate that identified as white shrank. In several districts (NJ-2, NM-2, NJ-7, NY-11, and NY-22) this decline meant a decrease of more than 10,000 white voters.
These changes affected the outcome of some races that have grabbed lots of headlines, such as GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in VA-10 losing her seat to pro-immigrant Democrat Jennifer Wexton. But it also hit Republican lawmakers in less publicized flips, such as Rep. Rod Blum in IA-01. NAE writes:
Republican incumbent Rod Blum ran anti-immigrant ads marked by photos of Hispanic men with tattoos and claims of “criminal illegal aliens on our streets.” That message did not resonate with voters in this area, which has added more than 29,000 college-educated voters in the last five years and 1,400 Hispanic American and Asian American voters in the last two years. Blum lost to Democrat Abby Finkenauer by 16,408 votes.
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