Taco Jill

Jill Biden was in San Antonio yesterday, where she attended something called the “Latinx Incluxion Luncheon” as part of a conference sponsored by Bank of America (or should that be Bxnk of Xmerica?). It was just the sort of mind-numbing-sounding event where the president’s wife is expected to show up, say a few polite words and jet it back to Washington.

On this occasion, the first lady and her speechwriters didn’t exactly nail the assignment. Her best effort at a bit of Latinx incluxion was to pay tribute the culture as “distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful of the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.”

Dr. Jill seems to have gotten away with pronouncing bodegas “bow-get-dahs” (this is not the first sign that the First Lady needs to brush up on her Spanish), but the breakfast taco comparison has been met with understandable derision and denunciation from the left and the right. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists could not have been clearer in their rather humorless denunciation of the remarks. “We are not tacos,” they said.

By this morning, Team FLOTUS was in full backtrack mode. “The first lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community,” Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesman, said this morning.

A few ill-considered remarks from the first lady may not be a grave matter of state. Nonetheless the story seems to have struck a chord. That’s because it’s hilarious. But also because, small and silly though it may be, it’s a perfect encapsulation of the complacency with which Democrats have treated Hispanic voters — and for which they are now paying a price.

The New York Times/Siena poll published this week found that Hispanic voters would break 42 to 39 for Biden over Trump in a possible 2024 match-up (compared to a headline split of 44 to 41). In other words, those numbers suggest that Democratic advantage among Hispanics has evaporated. For comparison: Obama beat Romney among Hispanics by 71 to 27 a decade ago.

The idea that non-white voters are natural Democrats is so hard-wired into the psyches of party apparatchiks that it is basically immune to the evidence. Even as a category-five political hurricane barrels towards their demographic assumptions, the party doesn’t seem to get it. Rather than an unsparing assessment of the priorities of Hispanic voters — a moderate, overwhelmingly working-class cohort — Democrats opt for patronizing quips about breakfast tacos and desperate claims that the Hispanic voter problem is really a misinformation problem.

As long as Democrats cling to that fantasy, the problem is bound to get worse. And the party is sure to learn the wrong lessons from the amusing little episode that is Tacogate. The problem, they will deduce, was a badly written speech, when really the issue is the very premise of the event itself — “Latinx incluxion” — which addresses the concerns of the college-educated elite liberals. It offers nothing to working-class Hispanics whose response to Dr. Jill’s taco comparison would likely not be to take offense but to shrug and ask when her husband is going to do something about inflation.

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Brace for more economic bad news

How do you know that tomorrow’s June inflation numbers are likely to be bad? Because Karine Jean-Pierre is already trying to downplay their significance. She pointed out that the report is “backwards looking” on Monday. A Bloomberg survey of economists found that they expected to see prices rise by 8.8 percent year-on-year in June. That would be slightly higher than the figure for May, setting another forty-year high.

Walker’s climate science

Herschel Walker was talking about climate change at a recent campaign stop and said the following: “Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air, so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then now we got to clean that back up.” It seems to me that these are not the words of a natural political communicator — and another reminder of the liability that Walker is to the GOP in such a crucial Senate seat.

What you should be reading today

Charles Lipson: Biden is the emperor with no clothes
Daniel DePetris: Don’t expect much from Biden’s Middle East trip
Grayson Quay: Bad-faith readings are damaging our discourse
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner: The political gluttony of the leisure class
Nicholas Lemann, the Nation: A big tent
Politico: The twenty counties that will decide the midterms

Poll watch

President Biden job approval
Approve: 37.7 percent
Disapprove: 56.7 percent
Net approval: -19.0 (RCP Average)

Who should run in 2024?

Should Biden run?
Yes: 35 percent
No: 61 percent

Should Trump run?
Yes: 29 percent
No: 64 percent (Politico/Morning Consult)

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