An outpouring of grants to activist groups promoting race-based ideology is causing problems for some Democrats by highlighting the most unpopular beliefs of party members, according to an op-ed published in The New York Times.
Charitable support for “racial equity” projects skyrocketed after the death of George Floyd in June 2020. These projects received $3.3 billion from 2011 to 2019, then $12.7 billion and $11.6 billion in 2020 and 2021, respectively, according to the NYT op-ed.
Racial equity-related grants support initiates ranging from support for historically black colleges to campaigns to dismantle municipal police forces, according to the piece. These grants also support so-called “antiracist” research, which favors discriminatory policies against non-black individuals in order to diminish unequal outcomes between racial groups.
“When progressive philanthropists fund groups that promote extreme views like ‘defunding the police’ or that sanction ‘cancel culture,’ they are exacerbating intraparty conflict” and fueling backlash from Republicans, Matt Bennett, senior vice president of think tank Third Way, reportedly said.
Among Democrats, black and Hispanic voters were more likely than white voters to favor increases in police budgets in 2021, according to the Pew Research Center. Bennett reportedly pointed out that a failed “defund the police” ballot initiative in Minneapolis performed worst in the city’s most-heavily black districts.
Republicans drew attention to the “defund the police” movement ahead of the 2020 primaries, which Bennett reportedly credits for the loss of more than a dozen House seats for Democrats. “It’s crystal clear that some ideas being pushed by activists and funded by lefty foundations go beyond that paradigm, treading into territory that is flat-out politically toxic and that undermine our collective goals,” Bennett reportedly said.
Democrats are fighting to distance themselves from other activist-led social movements such as efforts to popularize the term “Latinx.” Only 2% of Hispanic people identify themselves as “Latinx,” 40% found the term offensive and 30% said they would be less likely to vote for a politician who uses the term in a December poll by Bendixen & Amandi International.
“The numbers suggest that using Latinx is a violation of the political Hippocratic Oath, which is to first do no electoral harm,” Fernand Amandi, whose firm advised Barack Obama’s Hispanic outreach campaign efforts, told Politico.
Jonathan Chait, a writer for New York Magazine, argued in November 2021 that the Democratic Party’s “well-funded left wing … has poisoned the party’s image with many of its former supporters.”
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