Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Democrats' Demographic Advantage

Yet another article in The Atlantic looks at the growing demographic challenges faced by the Republican Party in 2016 and beyond.  Despite all the analysis that shows that angry conservative white voters are shrinking as a portion of the voting population as non-black minority groups and college educated whites - who tend to vote Democrat - are growing segments of the overall population, the GOP at the federal and state level remains in a deadly embrace with Christofascists and runs the risk of becoming a permanent minority party. As a political activist of going on 3 decades, one has to wonder why the GOP remains in denial about the changing national population and the growing revulsion more and more voters hols for the extremists of the Christian Right.   Here are article highlights:
Looking at the race through a historical lens, the odds would seem stacked against Hillary Clinton (assuming that she is the Democratic nominee). In the post-World War II era, only six times has one party held the presidency for two consecutive terms, and only once has that party kept the White House for a third—a pattern that reflects what I call the “time for a change” voter dynamic. In fact, the last Democratic president directly elected to succeed another was James Buchanan, in 1856; he followed Franklin Pierce.

But looking through a demographic lens, the modern GOP's increasing reliance on a shrinking pool of older, white, and working-class voters—and its failure to attract nonwhite voters—would seem to present an enormous obstacle to the eventual Republican nominee. In 1980, when nonwhite voters were just 12 percent of the electorate, Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of white voters and was elected in a landslide. But in 2012, when nonwhite voters accounted for 28 percent of the electorate, Mitt Romney took 59 percent of white voters—and lost the presidential race by 4 percentage points. Without a total brand makeover, how can Republicans expect to prevail with an even more diverse electorate in 2016?

Cook Political Report House Editor David Wasserman recently crunched census and exit-poll data to build a statistical model of the likely electorate in each state, breaking down voters into five distinct groups: 1) whites with college degrees, 2) whites without college degrees, 3) African-Americans, 4) Latinos, and 5) Asians/others.

First, the good news for Democrats: If the electorate evolves in sync with the Census Bureau's estimates of the adult citizen population (admittedly, a big if), the white share of the electorate would drop from 72 percent in 2012 to 70 percent in 2016; the African American share would remain stable at 13 percent; the Latino portion would grow from 10 percent to 11 percent; and the Asian/other segment would increase from 5 percent to 6 percent. If the 2012 election had been held with that breakdown (keeping all other variables stable), President Obama would have won by 5.4 percentage points rather than by his actual 3.85-point margin.

In addition, the group with which the GOP does best—whites without college degrees—is the only one poised to shrink in 2016. President Obama won just 36 percent of these voters in 2012, while 42 percent of white voters with college degrees pulled the lever for him. But if the electorate changes in line with census estimates, the slice of college-educated whites will grow by 1 point, to 37 percent of all voters, while the portion of whites without degrees will shrink 3 points, to just 33 percent of the total. In other words, the GOP doesn't just have a growing problem with nonwhites; it has a shrinkage problem as well, as conservative white seniors are supplanted by college-educated millennials with different cultural attitudes. 

[T]he bottom line is that demographic trends, while helpful to Democrats, are no guarantee that the party will hold the White House beyond 2017. 

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