Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Shifting Demographics May Decide the 2016 Presidential Race

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A lengthy piece in Politico Magazine looks at the coming 2016 presidential election and how changing state demographics, particularly Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia, may determine the election outcome.    As noted numerous times on this blog, Virginia is changing rapidly demographically even though the Virginia GOP remains fixated on prostituting itself to aging, white, racist, evangelical, rural voters.  Virginia is but one of the states where America's future is about to shift rapidly leaving the GOP on the road to a permanent minority party unless huge changes - changes that will be fought tooth and claw by the Christofascists - take place in the Party.  Here are some article highlights:
The country is going through the most significant period of change since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Across the United States, we are seeing a convergence of economic, technological and demographic forces that is transforming every aspect of our lives. These changes are all reinforcing each other, adding to the pace and the scale of the disruption.

Despite the upheaval Americans are experiencing, voting patterns in presidential elections have remained virtually unchanged for the past 25 years—with the majority of states voting the same way in the last six elections.

Now, though, there are signs that the transformation is starting to pick up steam in our elections. Even though we have yet to feel the full impact at the ballot box we’re nearing a shift that will signal an inevitable political earthquake.

[T]here is a demographic transformation taking place that is literally changing who we are as a country.

If next year’s 2016 presidential election is a close one, the changes that we are now only seeing on the margins could play a significant role in shaping the outcome. In the future, these changes will define our politics deep into this century.

With most states locked in by one party or the other, the presidential contest has largely narrowed to five states that have been consistently competitive in the past six elections: Ohio (which has long been at the 50-yard line of American politics) and four of the fastest growing states in the country—Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia. While these states represent only 15 percent of the population and just 75 electoral votes, they have determined the balance of power in close elections during this period.

As recently as 1980, 80 percent of the United States population was white but by 2014 that number had dropped to 63 percent. A recent report, “States of Change,” published by the Center for American Progress, the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, projects that whites will be less than 44 percent of the total population by 2060.

The report points out that there are currently four majority-minority states, but it predicts that 22 states will achieve that status by 2060—accounting for about two-thirds of the country’s population. Many of these states originally became reliable Republican strongholds when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. But, while the political shifts are occurring at different rates of speed, most of these fast-growing states are no longer solid Republican base states.

In Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia—areas traditionally associated with Republican Party strength—the population is trending younger and more diverse, and it is becoming more politically competitive for the Democrats.  The “States of Change” report projects that over half of these states will have a majority-minority population before 2040.

One of the ramifications from these trends will be that other parts of the country—like the Midwest—will lose clout as these demographic and geographic shifts change the political landscape.

Four of the five battleground states that have been decisive in recent presidential elections—Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada—all have the central attributes of 21st century America and will prove to be decisive if 2016 is a close election.

While the 2016 presidential election is likely to reflect the last remnants of this bygone era, the candidate running for president in 2016 who best understands how the country is changing and runs a campaign based on the America of the future rather than the America of the past is most likely to be our 45th president.

I remain dumbfounded that the GOP refuses to recognize the changes that are occurring or do anything to recalibrate its policies.  A tidal wave is coming and the GOP will end up being swept away - a fate that is much deserved.  

1 comment:

Rob L said...

While Im sure these statistics are true, the real issue is who votes.

Minorities often vote much less than non-minorities. This is usually not as big of a issue for Presidential elections, when there is the highest turn out, but for off year state and congressional elections, this has a major impact.