Monday, July 13, 2015

Demography May Be Destiny, But Not Anytime Soon

I disagree strongly with former NY Times editor Howell Raines on the Democrats taking over the South.

Even more dramatic changes in voter attitudes will shift the region’s party balance, to the detriment of the Republicans. This won’t come about because current Republican voters and their elected officials now in office will somehow be converted, but because they will be overwhelmed by new voters in the burgeoning Hispanic and Asian communities, who will join the black minority. Over half of the nation’s 40 million blacks live in the South.

For the time being, however, a traveler through the South can’t help but notice that its affluent, suburban whites remain myopic about the obvious signs, like the multiracial families to be seen among Walmart shoppers on any given day in any shopping mall.

Houston and Dallas are among the 11 American cities with the largest Hispanic populations. Vibrant Vietnamese communities are all along the Gulf Coast. Major cities have Spanish-language advertising, and have or soon will have sleek Latino-oriented shopping centers, like the new one on the fashionable southern side of Birmingham. The Asian presence in the medical, academic and business communities is substantial and growing, perhaps most notably in Baton Rouge, where Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana and presidential candidate (who is Asian-American, like Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina), works.

Judging from the laws they are passing, Southern Republicans seem untroubled by Mitt Romney’s 17 percent of the minority vote in the last presidential election. It seems an overstatement to say that Southern Republicans are in outright denial about the fact that whites will be a minority in America around 2043. It does seem fair to say that the national Republican Party is underreacting, and Southern Republicans seem to be especially resistant to appealing to their minority neighbors.

Like their counterparts in the national G.O.P. and the current crop of about 15 me-too Republican presidential candidates, Southern legislators seem unwilling to make any change on social welfare, retirement, health care or women’s and gay rights that would attract Southerners not voting Republican at present.

A survey of demographic and polling data in what the Brookings Institution demographer William H. Frey calls a New Sunbelt, stretching across the Southern Rim from Miami to Los Angeles, makes an ironclad case for this huge recalibration in political and cultural attitude
s. Yet, for example, in the Florida Panhandle the same whites who cheer the new Hispanic stars at high school soccer matches deliver a bloc vote for the most conservative-sounding candidates at local, state and national levels. Anecdotal evidence indicates that affluent Southern Republicans continue to believe that minority voters can be attracted with punitive polices based on the Paul Ryan model.

The statistical evidence shouts otherwise. “Demography is destiny” is the theme of Mr. Frey’s new book, “Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America,” and another recent book, “The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown,” by Paul Taylor and his colleagues at the Pew Research Center.

Did anyone Howell cited in the article pay attention to the 2010 and 2014 elections, where Republicans gained 80+ seats in the House and turned a 60-seat Democratic majority into a 54-seat Senate control, and gained governor's mansions in deep blue states like Illinois and Maryland, or did I miss that?  Did anyone pay attention to Chief Justice John Roberts gutting the Voting Rights Act and assuring the GOP will control the South for another 30+ years at the very minimum?

Yet Howell craps out this pipe dream:

In presidential politics, the transition will most likely be seen first in red states like Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, all states that could be in play next year and could become purple, if not yet blue, as early as 2020.

All three of those states will be red states for the rest of my lifetime.  Demography doesn't equal destiny when Republicans suppress the minority vote and stir white resentment politics to the max.


Horace Boothroyd III said...

Demography is not destiny. It feeds us trends, it gives us raw material to work with. Host Zandar is exactly correct in noting that the Republicans are far more proactive in working with those trends, in manipulating the laws to shape the raw material into specific forms, while the Democrats sit back and wait for the ripe fruit to fall into their laps.

This may be stretching the analogy a bit, but in the Bush years the Texas legislature rammed through a quickie off-census redistricting that tilted the balance sharply towards R. Some of us urged Illinois the retaliate with a tit for tat measure, but that was sloughed off as indecorous by the Illinois Democrats: a decade later we and they are still paying the price.

michael said...

I wish I knew the answer to getting the vote out in off year elections. Hillary put out the idea of automatic registration at 18. That would be a step in the right direction.

Until then, we're stuck with what we have.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Good point. Down in Brasil, all citizens are required by law to vote in every election. It makes for a curious sight, as there are so many illiterate citizens: candidates advertise stock photos, which are placed on the ballots next to the names so everyone has a way to recognize his choice. In the US it is difficult to be an informed citizen without reading, but in Brasil the social structures are much more highly developed and the people are more tightly integrated in their civic networks than your median North American so they actually make it work.

rstantonscott said...

Run as democrats and motivate your base to get out and vote. Quit trying to run to the center. See: Bernie Sanders.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Senator Clinton is running a sensible campaign that excites the Democratic Party Base: Women, Minorities, and College Educated Northerners.

The ineffective pseudoradical wankers of the Daily Kos and FireDogake and related echo chamber bubbles are presently wetting their pants over Bernie, who is generally a decent fellow, but they will become bored and blunder off well before the primaries. As much as they like to brag that they are the "Democratic Party Base," six months feels like twelve years to the epsilon minus submoron.

Scopedog said...

But Senator Sanders is not a Democrat. That said, a lot of voters are in "the center". And many who counted themselves among "the base"--the Kossacks and the FDLers--were all too willing to stab President Obama in the back because he couldn't snap his fingers and give them instant results--even though he has been the most progressive President in decades.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

This insistence, that President Obama ran on a platform of "A Dope Smoking Unicorn in Every Yurt!" but governed as a neoliberal corporate sellout because he had been a lying Third Way New Democrat crypto Republican Shill from the very beginning (just like Hillary) is primo evidence that the ineffectual pseudoradical wankers are cracked out of their skulls. The purity trolls are highly excitable, and while this may be an admirable feature in some contexts when it becomes an imperative to turn like rabid weasels against our representatives at the first sign of disappointment then they might as well be a tunnel of Republican moles taking signals directly from Trump Towers.

Good catch about Senator Sanders being not a Democrat: if you play a broken record often enough, people begin to accept the scratch as if it were a genuine part of the song. As an aside, the kossacks continue discussing their plot to bring Southern racist whites into the Sanders coalition as their best bet to win the nomination. They use "working class" as a dog whistle for "racist" but everyone knows who they are talking about. Hell, they were the foundation of the FDR New Deal coalition and progressivism screeched to a halt when the racist defected to Nixon's Southern Strategy Republican Party. One wonders how long the Women, Minorities, and College Educated Northerners would remain in charge after letting Bubba and the swamp runners into the house.

michael said...

I have come to the fact/opinion that the Sanders campaign will hit a brick wall due to the reason that money talks. He will probably raise only a paltry sum in the long run, and will run out of gas in the near to distant future. Don't get me wrong, I like and respect Bernie and agree with his platform. In 2008, Clinton was the early lock, but was beaten by an insurgent candidate who captivated the electorate. But he also made records for fundraising on a macro level beyond the dreams of avarice. Sure, Bernie can claim he's beholden to nobody, but purity only takes you so far. (Side note: this is an excellent reason why we need campaign finance reform, and also why the Citizens United decision is a perverse cancer on our body politic).

So the primaries get a little heated (par for the course). I read that Bernie people trashing Clinton people, and vice versa. I tend to filter out the noise though, and know that it's all going to work itself out in the end. It's good to have the conversation, and lets talk about the issues. I see alot of pie fights at Dkos, not so sure of FDL though, I never read it anymore (sad), but I keep my eye on the prize: and that is the next president gets to make appointments to the Supreme Court that will last for at least the next generation. Get out the vote, and vote (D)!

Scopedog said...

...but I keep my eye on the prize: and that is the next president gets to make appointments to the Supreme Court that will last for at least the next generation. Get out the vote, and vote (D)!

This. I only wish more people at Dkos reach this conclusion, and fast.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Vote D.

We can disagree over anything and everything. We can fight amongst ourselves like cats and dogs.

But at the end of the day, vote D!

All will be well. If each of us brought to the polls just one new voter each election, or every third election, the Left would soon become an unstoppable force for Good.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

The Naderites have regrouped at the Daily Kos, and they are pissed after fifteen years of making excuses for why Bush was not their fault. They are not being welcomed with open arms, necessarily, but neither are they being hounded from the site for Third Party Advocacy - contrary to site policy since about 2004.

I think this does not bode well. I think people no longer remember just how hideous the Bush Republican years really were, so in their selfish self deluded "Obama. Didn't. Even. Try." bubbles they are vulnerable to the Naderite "Both sides do it, equally, fight the power!" siren song.

So maybe there is nothing I can do about it, personally, but I can be on my toes - and if I am, maybe other people are as well. This time it may not be so easy to stab us in the back. And should we win (knock wood) I suggest that we go out of our way to snub them: for reals this time, not just the hypersensitivity to perceived slights that they have been squealing over since 1968.

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