Minority turnout will decide 2012 election

The turnout of minority voters—Hispanics, African-Americans and others—will determine the outcome of the 2012 election.

Click to enlarge.

If they turn out in the same proportion as they did in 2008, and vote for President Obama in the same proportion as they did in 2008, Obama is almost sure to win.  Otherwise, not.

Democratic candidates for President have won a strong majority of the votes of members on minority groups for more than 20 years, and Republicans have won a majority of the votes of non-Hispanic white voters.  In 2008, the turnout of minority voters was greater than in 2004, and the turnout of white voters was less.  That was enough to change the result from Republican in 2004 to Democratic in 2008.

The Brookings study indicates that if non-Hispanic white voters turn out and vote for Mitt Romney in the same proportion as they did in 2004, and minorities turn out for Barack Obama as in 2008, Obama will win.

So it may not be enough for the Republican Party to get a good turnout of non-Hispanic white voters.  They would need to hold down the turnout of minority voters.  That’s the explanation for all the proposed voter ID laws and other schemes to make voting more difficult, such as the new limits on early voting in Ohio.

Click to enlarge.

“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, chairman of the [Franklin] county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to The Dispatch. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”

via The Columbus Dispatch.

The largest minority voter group is Hispanics.  That’s why immigration from Mexico has become such a hot issue. Unless things change, more legal Hispanic immigration means more Democratic voters. and why President Obama at this time announced his path to citizenship for certain children of unauthorized immigrants.

My opinion is that either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama could appeal to voters across ethnic and racial lines if either had a realistic plan or firm intention for addressing unemployment, low wages and mortgage foreclosures.

Click on Why Minorities Will Decide the 2012 Election for the full Brookings Institution report.

Click on Why Does the Census Divide People by Race, Anyhow? for a Slate article on the history of racial classifications on the United States.

Click on The new battle over voting rights for links to more information about voter restrictions.

Click on We whites need not fear minority status for charts showing demographic trends.

As the maps below show, we non-Hispanic whites have already lost our majority status in some parts of the United States.

Click on Racial / Ethnic Shifts in Metro Areas for more details about U.S. metro areas with minority-white populations from The Society Pages.

Click on The New Metropolitan Minority Map for more from the Brookings Institution.

Click on Whites a minority in 1 in 10 counties for more details about U.S. counties with minority-white populations from the Associated Press.

Click on Counties With Minorities in the Majority Grow in Rural America for maps and comments about minority-white rural and exurban counties.

I don’t think we white people need be alarmed about all this.  We non-Hispanic whites will not be in the majority, but neither will any other group.  We will be one group among several, and the largest at that.  And if we follow the historical pattern, we’ll redefine “white” to make our group larger, maybe by including white Hispanics and people of mixed race.

But I hope and believe that by the 22nd century, this will matter much less than it does now.  We Americans will be a people of differing shades of brown, for whom our present racial divisions will be irrelevant, and we’ll be able to speak many languages, not just English and not just English and Spanish.

I wish I could go to sleep and wake up after a century to see what happens.

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