Democrats, demographics and political destiny

Gary Segura, writing in Democracy Journal, looks to demographic changes, especially the growth in the U.S. Hispanic population, to save the Democratic Party.

When Barack Obama is almost certainly re-elected this November, Latinos will have played a decisive role in crucial swing states like Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida, and even in states where their population share is smaller.  Latinos should comprise just under 10 percent of the national electorate this year, compared with just 5.4 percent in 2000 and 3.7 percent in 1992.  At 15 percent of the national electorate by 2024 (a conservative estimate), and concentrated in several large-population states, Latino political power will have moved Arizona firmly into the Democratic column in the next decade and will eventually have created a chance for Democrats to carry Texas.

Republicans nationally receive 85 percent of their votes from white voters by capturing between 55 and 60 percent of their ballots in each election.  This margin, coupled with just enough votes from minorities, may be sufficient to eke out victories in the near term. But with the demographic decline of white voters, even 60 percent of that cohort will be a poor start when it comprises just two-thirds of the electorate in 2024; 60 percent of two-thirds would net the GOP just 39.6 percent of the national vote. Republicans must improve their standing with minority voters to remain competitive over the next century.

Can the GOP respond?  In the short run, I don’t think so.  Race played a critical role in the formation of the GOP coalition and is the principal reason that working-class white males, particularly in the South, have been so willing to embrace the party despite its economic policies.  To remove race and its rhetoric from Republican politics would serve to make the party more welcoming to minority voters but would also eliminate the primary claim the party makes in attracting those working-class whites.

via Gary Segura for Democracy Journal.

Actually, Hispanic voters are becoming disillusioned with President Obama.  That is why he is trying to appease them with his executive order forbidding deportation of certain categories of unauthorized immigrants who were brought to this country as a child.

The larger problem is that the reason that neither the Democratic nor the Republican leaders have policies that would move the nation from war and recession to peace and prosperity.  That is why Democrats and Republicans rely on group loyalty to appeal, respectively, to Hispanics and working-class non-Hispanic whites.

Click on The Browning of America for Gary Segura’s complete article.

Click on The Democrats’ Demographic Dreams for a critique.  [Added 6/20/12]

Click on President Obama bristles when he is the target of activist tactics he once used for details about how discontented Hispanic leaders pressured Obama on immigration policy.

Click on Yes, Barack Obama Thinks We’re Stupid (Immigration Edition) for more on the politics of President Obama’s new immigration policy.  [Added 6/20/12]

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5 Responses to “Democrats, demographics and political destiny”

  1. Anne Tanner Says:

    If you listen to him talk, Marco Rubio seems to be saying that he’ll be the vice presidential nominee. How would that change your analysis?


    • philebersole Says:

      Your comment points up a weakness in my post, which is to write about Hispanics as if they are all one group. Cuban-Americans in Florida such as Senator Marco Rubio don’t necessarily vote or think the same way as Mexican-Americans in Texas or California or Puerto Ricans in New York.

      The Republican Party leaders make a big issue out of illegal immigration from Mexico, and the supposed threat to American culture of Mexican immigrants failing to assimilate into Anglo-American culture. Many Mexican-Americans are turned off by this, to the benefit of the Democratic Party.

      If the Republican leaders toned down this rhetoric, Mexican-Americans might be more receptive to their message. If the Republicans presented a plausible program for achieving peace and prosperity, I believe Hispanics definitely would be receptive, along with members of all the other supposed voting blocs. I don’t think Democrats have the Hispanic vote locked up. nBut I don’t think Mexican-American voters would be much influenced by the Republicans having a token Hispanic on the GOP ticket.


    • philebersole Says:

      Also, public opinion polls indicate that Marco Rubio is viewed unfavorably by Hispanic voters in his own state.

      In my opinion, Mitt Romney can get a respectable share of the Hispanic vote if, and only if, he adopts policies that (1) address the specific concerns of Hispanic voters, such as immigration and bilingualism, or (2) address the concerns that Hispanic voters share with all other Americans, such as unemployment, foreclosures, war and recession.


  2. Joseph Says:

    I find it ridiculous that Cuban-Americans are lumped in with other Latinos. At 1 in 300 (about 0.3%) of the American population, they are 3% of the US senators. This is 10-fold over-representation, with another one on the way. Yet, the US mythic categorization schemes call them an “under-represented minority.” Yeah, right!


  3. Joseph Says:

    I would like to add, most Cuban-Americans are white, even by redneck standards. How can they speak for predominantly brown people?


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