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Opinion | 5 Messages Voters Sent in the 2020 Election

To Jay Caspian Kang, a writer at large for The New York Times Magazine, the lesson for both parties, and especially Democrats, is to start treating voters who belong to extremely broad racial and ethnic groups less like electoral tokens and more like political agents whose interests are contingent on their class position, education, ideology, immigration status, specific cultural background, age and location.

As he said on the podcast “Time to Say Goodbye”: “You have to stop insulting people by believing that, you know, just by saying ‘We’re less racist’ that they’re going to vote for you.”

In 2018, voters in increasingly diverse and highly educated suburbs helped flip the House blue. That support only increased in 2020: On average, Mr. Biden improved on Hillary Clinton’s performance in suburban counties around the country by about 4.6 percentage points, The Times reports, which was crucial to Mr. Biden’s win.

The implications of the shift, Neal Rothschild and Stef W. Kight write at Axios, are clear: “The suburbs are growing and racially and ethnically diverse. They’re becoming new immigrant hubs. The trends could benefit Democrats for the long-term unless Republicans change their playbook.”

According to exit polls, Mr. Biden did better than Mr. Trump with voters whose family income falls below $100,000 per year. But relatively well-off metro areas also show a stark partisan divide: Regions with higher education levels, fewer manufacturing jobs and brighter long-term economic prospects swung more toward Mr. Biden, while regions with lower job growth and a larger share of jobs at risk of automation swung more toward Mr. Trump.

“Despite some demographic realignments, the economies of red and blue places drifted further apart,” Jed Kelko writes in The Times. “And as these gaps widen, it gets ever more challenging for America to have a shared view of the state of the economy and of the policies most urgently needed.”

As Emily Peck reports for HuffPost, voters supported a number of progressive policies last week — and not only in the places one might expect:

  • In Florida, a state Mr. Trump won handily, people voted to increase the state’s minimum hourly wage to $15 by a margin of about 22 percentage points.

  • Arizona passed a 3.5 percent income tax hike on the state’s highest earners, which is estimated to raise nearly $940 billion annually for education programs.

  • Colorado passed a measure guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.

  • Four states — Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota — legalized marijuana for recreational use. Oregon also voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs, the first state to do so, and fund addiction treatment programs. (The state also legalized psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, for therapeutic use.) “One of America’s greatest mistakes over the last century was the war on drugs,” the Times columnist Nick Kristof writes, “so it’s thrilling to see voters in red and blue states alike moving to unwind it.”

At the same time, progressive priorities suffered major setbacks, and in Democratic strongholds, no less. In Illinois, voters rejected a measure to raise taxes on the rich, the same sort of policy that enjoys broad support nationally. And in California, voters passed Prop 22, a ballot measure that overturned legislation that forced companies like Uber and DoorDash to treat their contract workers as employees with guaranteed wages and benefits.

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