How minorities are about to cost the GOP the White House, forever

An interesting series of articles from Commentary, the NYT and the Washington Post about the Republican party’s increasing demographic problem, and how it could preclude the Republicans from winning the White House for a long time coming.

In a nutshell, the GOP has a lock on angry old white men in the south and southwest, and they’re dying away, while minorities are having far more children than whites in those states, which could turn states like South Carolina, Arizona and even Texas blue.

Chris Cillizza at the Post walks us through some of the latest demographic data.  He points to a new study from the Carsey Institute, showing where the trends are heading:

Using data from the 2012 census, the report showcases just how fast the minority population is growing among Americans younger than 20, even as growth in that same age group among whites is basically stagnant. The study’s authors write: “In 1990, 32 percent of the population younger than age 20 was minority, increasing to 39 percent in 2000. By July of 2012, 47 percent of the 82.5 million people under age 20 in America were from minority populations.”

The math isn’t complicated. Winning 27 percent of the Hispanic vote and 6 percent of the African American vote — as Romney did in 2012 — makes it hard to win a majority of the overall vote when those groups represent 10 percent and 13 percent of the electorate, respectively. If Hispanics increase to 20 percent of the electorate by 2024 or 2028, and the Republican presidential nominee’s performance is roughly equivalent to Romney’s 2012 showing, it will be impossible — or close to impossible — for that GOP nominee to win a national majority.

He points out that the “younger-than-20″ minority populations live in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina – reliably, for now, GOP states.  If the Republicans lose those states, they may not win the presidency for a long time coming.

Interestingly, Nate Cohn in the NYT argues that the increasing polarization between white Republicans in the south and minority-loving Democrats everywhere else, might also make it hard for Democrats to govern as well:

The collapse of Democratic support among Southern whites threatens the party’s ability to control government and enact its agenda. Democrats will find it extremely hard to retake the House without reclaiming the majority white, Southern districts once held by the now vanquished group of Democrats known as the Blue Dogs. This November, Southern whites could easily deny Democrats control of the Senate by dismissing Democratic incumbents in North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Cohn makes another interesting point: While the south is turning redder, it’s already red.  Even if twice as many southerners hate Democrats than before, the GOP still gets the same number of electoral votes from those states.  Cohn points out something I was about to add as well — defining the national Republican party by the south is asking for trouble.  The rest of the country doesn’t think like the south, the rest of the country is liberalizing, moving forward culturally, and the south is not.

That also means GOP moderates will have a hard time winning the Republican presidential nomination since crazyland won’t vote for them.  And the rest of the country, is less likely to vote a candidate who thinks banning gay marriage is more important than economic growth.

Former Bush official Peter Wehner, writing in Commentary, has the solution, and he’s wrong:

Angry grandpa via Shutterstock

Angry grandpa via Shutterstock

It’s an undeniable empirical truth that the GOP coalition is shrinking, and it’s shrinking in the aftermath of two fairly decisive defeats, with the latter coming against a president whose policies were judged by many Americans to have been failures. Which means the Republican task isn’t simply to nominate a candidate who can fire up the base; it is to find principled conservative leaders who can win over voters who are not now voting for the GOP at the presidential level. This requires putting forward a governing vision and agenda that is reform-minded and modernizing, that speaks to the purposes of government and not just its size, that aligns itself with the challenges of the 21st century, and that persuades Americans who are not traditional Republicans. [emphasis added]

The solution is not finding “conservative” anything.  Wehner is repeating the old trope that got the GOP into trouble in the first place: that only conservatives are real Republicans.  Wehner and the GOP are not going to find a “conservative leader” who is “reform-minded and modernizing.”  The conservatives running the Republican party are from the south, and hold the same backwards Neanderthal views as their constituents.  And while all that fire and brimstone malarkey may work in the south, it doesn’t work in the majority of the country.

So long as the Republican party defines itself as “conservative,” and so long as conservative means “crazy southerner,” the GOP will continue to be, and be perceived as, the party of grumpy old (white) men.


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  • ranger99

    Face it GOP….you may win a battle here and there, but you are losing the war and losing BADLY. Within thirty years Republicans will be a quaint annoyance from hillbilly-land. A powerless joke for the rest of the nation to mock.

  • StevesWeb

    I think the GOP opposition to equal marriage rights is their most immediate opportunity for political suicide. Increasingly people under 30 are in favor of equal rights and quite insistent about it. The Democrats are offering themselves as the cure for bigotry, and it does appeal to many.

    The biggest and most powerful ally of the Republicans is the Jesus industry, but their stance against equality is decreasing their numbers too.

    Republicans should be given bigger soapboxes to trumpet their intolerance, sometimes extinction is self inflicted.

  • BillFromDover

    “If an extreme candidate gets the nod in 2016 (Cruz, Paul, Ryan or
    Walker) and gets crushed, the Party gets the revolt out of its system
    and consolidates.”

    I call bullshit on this one.

    Doesn’t history prove that whenever conservatives lose an election, it’s because that were not conservative enough and simply double-down on the batshit-crazy faction the next time around?

    If it is going to a fight between conservatives that still retain a modicum of sanity and the long-time-listener-first-time-caller Rush, Glenn and Sean idiots, these guys have a long slog ahead attempting to convince your average swing-voter (not to mention the minorities) that ya qualify for dog catcher, let alone national office.

    Bqhatevwr.

  • lless

    The future of the Republican Party may be more at hand. If the nominating process in 2016 generates another candidate perceived to come from the insider and “moderate” faction (say Bush or Romney) and loses fairly decisively again, the wingnuts revolt and possibly bolt. If an extreme candidate gets the nod in 2016 (Cruz, Paul, Ryan or Walker) and gets crushed, the Party gets the revolt out of its system and consolidates. All the demographic wishful thinking aside, the GOP came within 1 million house votes of breaking even. They are almost inexplicably well situated with seniors, a burgeoning demographic. Rumors of the Republican Party’s impending doom have not been borne out by elections to date. Romney’s national campaign last time around was beset by blunders and a wooden candidate.

  • dcinsider

    You are correct about the lying part, that’s for sure.

  • 4th Turning

    “The conservatives running the Republican party are from the south, and hold the same backwards Neanderthal views as their constituents. And while all that fire and brimstone malarkey may work in the south, it doesn’t work in the majority of the country.”

    Still a troubling generalization now as when first read. I live in what has always been regarded
    as a progressive southern state. Indeed. Our first female gov./first female senator and a bunch
    of electoral votes for Obama. We are fortunate to have some of the finest universities in the
    entire country as well as medical centers.
    There is crazy and there is crazy. I am proud to claim one of those crazies
    (visionary, idealistic, active, daunted but not throwing in the towel).
    Please don’t carelessly give some of your devoted followers accidental permission to dismiss
    us down here as stupid, etc. Please reread phred’s comment again-although I disagree Fla. is
    a southern state (now 99.9% your supposedly enlightened ny/nj crowd-grumpy to the bone).
    A thoughtful reading of Stephen Hall’s Wisdom and Mark Matousek’s Ethical Wisdom will
    explain what is happening ie. people acting irrationally-against their own best interests
    from the very latest neuroscience research (for those who don’t hold to reverse intolerance).

  • D B

    Your wrong. Any republican regardless of how “normal” they appear cannot win an election if they are honest about the policies of the republican platform. The only way to “Market” a republican to seem normal is to lie about their hatred for women, blacks, mexicans, gays, etc. And if you are able to do that successfully you may gain a couple votes from gullible democrats but you’ll lose the entire republican vote.

  • MelissaNY

    “Americans are basically stupid. They will vote against their own best interests if they can be properly suckered into doing so.” And it shows look what has happened to our country. Pick your favorite politician and look into the eyes of someone who’s not in it for you. No matter how you spin it a liar is a liar and you cannot be elected in this country if you aren’t an expert at it. If ever a viable lay person ran that wanted to return the freedom to the people rather than “save you from yourself” that is who would get my vote. I hope this doesn’t offend but we have turned into a nanny country we need the government to do all but wipe our butts. We need people to believe they can take care of themselves. We need someone who encourages ingenuity and discourages fear. Fear is beat into the American people everyday to the point that everyone believes that if the Fed wasn’t here to help they would be screwed.

  • eggroll_jr

    We should not be celebrating a one-party system. Right now all the lifting in government has to come from the executive, who have to regulate in real time with laws that age daily and are not renewed, cancelled, augmented or created by the legislature. Moreover, Constitutional Amendment, the most recent having taken over 200 years to implement, has been handed over to the Supreme Court. We need a version of the D’Hondt or Jeffersonian voting model found in most democracies. I guarantee that if 5% of the vote was all you needed for your party to get at least one guy in congress, voter turnout and levels of voter information would be much higher.

  • http://fighttherightwingnuts.blogspot.com/ mike31c

    I see no problem with the GOP, as they are irrelevant.

  • MyrddinWilt

    They are only good for about a 5% boost. And they have a big downside. Gerrymandering here in MA is riskless to the Dems as they have a solid and consistent majority in every part of the state leading by double digits overall. But if the balance is 51%-49% then gerrymandering all the seats to go to one party means a 2% margin in each seat. A 3% uniform swing means losing every seat.

    Margaret Thatcher tried a similar trick to the GOP. She piled up a huge Tory majority by gerrymandering the seats to favor Tories. And then the country swung the other way and suddenly Labour discovered they had been gifted a huge structural advantage.

    The Electoral College math makes it impossible for any Republican to win the WH without winning Texas. And Texas is trending Democrat.

    I think the tipping point is only reached when the money men desert the GOP because it can’t deliver the favors they have purchased with campaign contributions.

  • goulo

    It also hurt him with the Republican base that he was not a climate science denier.

  • Indigo

    Possibly but yet, Skeletor presides over us from Tallahassee which, I believe, is actually in Georgia. Or is it Floribama?

  • dcinsider

    While I get the premise, the truth is if the Republicans can find a candidate who is not loathsome, stupid, condescending, or insane, they can easily win Presidential elections. The problem with the Republican Party is not that Americans think they are out of touch.

    Americans are basically stupid. They will vote against their own best interests if they can be properly suckered into doing so.

    That means the Republicans need an attractive candidate, not to insanely right wing (but anti-gay is fine), and someone who has not embraced too many of their nutjobs, and market him or her in a way that makes them seem normal. A reasonable state senator, or one of their less insane Governors might work.

    The difficulty for the Republicans is not that Americans won;t vote for their candidates, but that their candidates are insane. Find a moderate Republican with a brain and he beats the Democrat by ten points.

    That being said, I hope they never do.

  • cole3244

    i saw a program where they went out and asked people whether they liked obamacare or the aca better, none knew they were the same thing, wtf!

  • 4th Turning

    Do you think it would’ve made any difference if there had been a real effort to
    educate his voters on what happens after the census every 10 yrs. Not sure that’s
    a question actually. Self-absorbed is self-absorbed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za4ZZN0SekE

  • phred

    > The conservatives running the Republican party are from the south, and
    hold the

    > same backwards Neanderthal views as their constituents.
    Just a gentle reminder: not all of us southerners have Neanderthal views. I grew up in North Florida in the 1960s in the era of Separate but Equal, went to segregated schools until I was in the 5th grade, and I turned out to be slightly to the right of Abbie Hoffman. Some of my earliest memories are of civil rights gatherings, such as the time we integrated a local state park. I registered to vote in North Carolina specifically so I could vote against Jesse Helms (didn’t work). Not all of us who grew up with Spanish Moss hanging from the trees are sympathetic to the party of lies, hate, fear, and greed.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well, the GOP’s response has been a concerted and systematic effort to ensure that no matter how many Democrats and left-leaning Independents there are, their votes will be suppressed and effectively disenfranchised.

    Voter ID laws. Voter purges. The legalized intimidation by right-wing partisan ‘poll watchers.’ Reduced polling station hours in less-than-lilly-white districts. Reduced numbers of voting machines in Dem-leaning areas. And let’s not forget the already established effectiveness of extreme gerrymandering.

    Then as my friend, The Fixer, points out, we’re increasingly uncertain whether the vote counts themselves are accurate and unbiased — mostly due to GOP shenanigans.

    The electoral process itself needs to be secured against all these things before we can count those chickens of a long-term non-GOP majority and presidency.

  • FLL

    As of 2008, Florida has already gone over to the Dem side in presidential elections—permanently, I think.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    I really hope that your optimism is warranted. I hold dual nationalities and can vote in American elections and French elections. I must vote! It is my duty. It is actually easier for me to vote in American elections as an overseas voter than it would be if I actually still lived in New York, or where I am originally from, Ohio. I was so disappointed with the recent French elections with a historic low turnout! Here, there are no real obstacles to voting. It’s so easy. No voting machines…just transparent glass receptacles, but the apathy factor was lethal.

  • Jonas Grumby

    Yep. As Nate Silver made clear, millions of 2008 Obama voters pitched a fit and sat out. It isn’t that the nation moved Right at all, the Dems once again didn’t show up.

  • ne2indy

    I just hope that holds up in the coming election.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    A reformed Republican candidate can’t pass the muster with the Tea Party,
    We can thank the Koch Brothers for financing the Tea Party who fractured the Republican party and flushed them down the tubes faster than they were already going.

  • ne2indy

    I agree that Huntsman would have been their best shot. The thing that head him back is he had been a Chinese diplomat for a Democrat, which is poison to the R base.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    Does anybody remember Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro” song he played ? ,,,,,that was incredibly racist and yet the Republicans didn’t distance themselves from that did they ?

  • The_Fixer

    Until the election process is reformed and made secure, then any demographic shift won’t make the kind of difference that we’d like to see. Especially considering that minority groups are most likely to be the victims of vote fraud, whether is be suppression or outright tampering.

    As others have pointed out below, there’s voter suppression directed solely at voters likely to go blue. But there’s also vote manipulation. Computers can be tampered with and what we have seen in past elections pales in comparison to what is truly possible.

    We’re in a Catch-22 situation right now. We need to have this reform to insure fair elections, but we need legislation to accomplish that. With a Republican House, this is not going to come easy.

    I think that it’s going to take a while before there’s a solid blue movement to show up in this country. It may be real, but that doesn’t mean squat when one side (and you can guess which one) is cheating.

  • Indigo

    Maybe. We’ll see what the next round of elections brings.

  • http://americablog.com magster

    Those 2010 midterms were a disaster for Dems. This is going to be a much less productive decade because of the gerrymandering.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    It should be no real surprise. The population growth in most red states would be negative, or barely noticeable if it weren’t for their minority populations. Look at Georgia, according to the census they’ve added about 1.5 million people since 2010. Only about 300k of that is whites. All the rest is minorities, ~500k black, ~400k Hispanic, the remainder a mix of other ethnicities. The same kind of thing repeats itself to varying degrees throughout the southern states which have been locks for Republican candidates for years.

    Texas already is a blue state. It has been for a long time. Gerrymandering is all that keeps it red. Eventually even that won’t be able to keep districts from tipping. But that doesn’t mean the racists are going to go down without kicking and screaming the whole way, and restricting the rights of minorities in every way they can get away with.

    Another thing to consider is that because modern census questions have become more broad and inclusive, more people of Hispanic descent are listing themselves as white. So theoretically the statistics could be missing a rather significant demographic of people who also won’t side with the crazies.

  • silas1898

    Unless it’s Phyllis Schlafley, or the Faux News bimbettes.

  • silas1898

    Cliven Bundy is the new poster boy for Conservatism. You built that wingnuts!

  • slappymagoo

    Why do you think Republicans expend more effort suppressing vote than trying to court them?

  • slappymagoo

    It’s not inconceivable to think that maybe, somehow, the GOP will find a Presidential candidate who is “reform-minded & modernizing.”

    That candidate, however, will never get a lock on the nomination, precisely because of the Southern Neanderthals you mention.

    I’m of the opinion the GOP would have had much more of a fighting chance winning back the WH in 2012 had they coalesced behind Huntsman. I also knew that would never happen.

  • Drew2U

    That’s because the GOP does not give a furry rat’s ass about women. Period.

  • Drew2U

    …If the 2012 elections taught us anything, it was that people are lazy UNTIL you give them a reason to be fired up. In Florida, with the early voting changed, people waited 6 hours in the heat to vote. Why? Because somebody told them they couldn’t. We’re seeing more and more of this around the country. It’s a republican wet dream to believe that people are too apathetic to vote, but the last few years have shown that ANY effort to disenfranchise “apathetic” voters has backfired.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    “the GOP has a lock on angry old white men”

    Why are the angry old white women always given a pass? Old white traditionalist women are devoted to the GOP as well.

  • rerutled

    This is the outcome of LBJ’s bet: “There goes the South for a generation,” Johnson said, after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The result: anyone who believes in equality and fairness is a Democrat, and anyone who does not is a Republican. It’s just taken a bit longer than Johnson thought it would for that latter group to reach permanent electoral minority status.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    It looks good only if the equation was limited to demographics, but the numbers become irrelevant when the potential voters are too apathetic to vote and those who want to vote are disqualified and discouraged by repressive voter registration and the actual tactics used by the Republican majorities to make voting extremely difficult.

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