Demographics of Change

I have found the election and post-election debate rather amusing regarding the outcome of the election and how it came to be.  What was once viewed a close election in the end was a route for President Obama.  The pundits both for the President and against all had plenty to say, but in the end they all pointed back to the same thing.  The demographics of the country are changing.  If you count on the male white vote, you will not go very far  in your ability to win the campaign.  I find this interesting and invigorating.  Change is an important part of any functioning society.  That being said these changes we see taking place will not come without costs, but those costs will inspire debate, they will inspire change and all of this is the foundation of this great nation.

The census data is pretty clear and it has been undergoing fundamental change since July of 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.  The following table is from the US Census Bureau.  Apparently this was new news to many on election day.  Which given the science of polling and elections I find hard to believe. This particular data pertains just to the racial makeup of the country and how we will look as a county in 2050.

U.S. Census Population projections[56]
2010 2050
Whites (includes “white Hispanics” and “Some other race”) 79.5% 74.0%
Non-Hispanic Whites 64.7% 46.3%
Hispanics/Latinos (of any race) 16.0% 30.2%
African Americans 12.9% 13.0%
Asian Americans 4.6% 7.8%

The final tally for Obama in 2012 was pretty telling in the different categories.  One thing I have learned about polling is it is not the first question but the second that is the most telling.  When you go to Black communities in america and ask voter who they will vote for it is not surprising that 95% of African-american voters said Barack Obama.  The second question was much more telling:  Are you registered to vote?  The NAACP got 1 million new voters for 2012.  So on election night when you were looking at the list counties to report how many times did you here, “this is a largely African-american community”.  I did in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.  Who won those states?.  A key for every campaign is attracting new voters.  In the case of the Obama campaign they did not have to go very far and it became part of reaping a much greater reward.

In the Hispanic and Asian communities the data was much the same as Obama carried over 70% in each group. One article I read was that many in the Hispanic group had a very different view of government.  Where the GOP typically makes government sound evil, the Hispanic community has a more tolerant view of the role of government.  In my view his points not to a group wanting governmental hand outs but to the death of the battle of the “isms” , by that I mean capitalism, socialism, communism, and fascism. The cold war is over and so is the war over economic ideology as a basis for governing.  What people in different groups are looking for is solutions to their day-to-day problems.  How a program is categorized in history is not really relevant.  In particular in Latin America the cold war battle between capitalism and socialism did then n favors except create military dictatorships.

Mitt Romney ran a good campaign.  He had the right VP candidate.  He had a clear message.  He was organized.  The problem was that he ran the wrong campaign.  He miscalculated the impact of these demographic changes and group by group he lost very big.  In the age of 18-24 it was consistently a 60/40 split democrats to republicans.  This is important because a lot of voters in this age group did not vote in 2008.  Romney’s response, “young voters are not enthusiastic this time”.  All the age groups above probably did not change a lot between 2008 and 2012, but when you are talking about new voters Obama owned Romney.   Add on top of that that in Hispanic/Latino African-American and Asian Obama wins over 70% you have the makings of a political disaster.  Hindsight is 20/20.  Now the cruel reality for Mr. Romney is after his party rallied around him, they are now running away from him.

Right now the democrats are in the ascendancy of political power.  Not necessarily because they have targeted these groups much better.  In my view it is more of a problem with the GOP failing to update their message.  They seem to have lost touch with the youth of America and turn a blind eye to cultural changes.  Conservative columnist David Brooks seemed to sum this up best when he said of his fellow republicans. “they seem to long for a time that will never come again”.  As influential as Ronald Reagan was in the 80’s and thrusting the conservative movement into the mainstream, I feel like what many older members of the GOP long for is a return to the 50’s and Dwight D. Eisenhower.  When you look at what we will like as a country in the year 2050, it is apparent that period in American history will just be a beautiful memory.

What do these demographic tell us about our politics?  In the short-term for the GOP it will be about change for them and how do they reach out to some of these groups.  Sometimes these changes can be driven by political change, like when in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights act.  he said at that time, “I have signed the South over to the Republican Party for the next 50 years”.  It will be fifty years in 2014 and if you look back at voting patterns in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky etc..pretty much a guaranteed red state.  However currently there is no issue of that magnitude so the GOP will have to soften its message on some key social and economic issues…that is the fight we see going on today within the GOP.  I do see our old friends the Bush family playing a large role, in particular Jeb Bush who I believe if he runs will win the GOP nomination.   His wife is Mexican American and he was two term governor of a key swing state, Florida.  If the GOP could win 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2016 it could be enough to win.  They will however need a strong leader to silence the rogue republicans shouting out hard-line slogans on immigration

What do Democrats do?  It is apparent that the Hispanic vote will be huge.  If you continue to win with 70% you can own your destiny.  Key issues will be immigration, but beyond the obvious there is opportunity on social issues, George W Bush proved this in 2004.  My point is it is not as clean-cut as just focusing on immigration for democrats as Hispanic voters are not as socially liberal as the left-wing, either thinks or would like them to think.  However in the current GOP turmoil if democrats stay organized they have a chance to extend the democratic presidency until 2024,  especially if Hilary gets in the race in 2016.  The time for a female presidency is fast approaching in this country, it’s only taken over 200 years.

In the end all these statistic show is this country is evolving the way our founding fathers intended it to.  To be a beacon for democracy.  That the world can look to the United States for guidance and inspiration.  How we choose to rule is of our own self-determination and the only way we can do that is through the voting process provided by the founders of this country  Our demographics are bow changing so that nearly every ethnic group has a reason to vote.  My hope is we will see greater voter turnout in the coming decades as across the multi-racial divide we will all have a say that is worth listening to.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Hoffmann January 15, 2012

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