Polling place with English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish sign.
The tectonic plates of American politics are shifting. A powerful concatenation of demographic forces is transforming the American electorate and reshaping both major political parties. And, as demographic trends continue, this transformation and reshaping will deepen. The Democratic Party will become even more dominated by the emerging constituencies that gave Barack Obama his historic 2008 victory, while the Republican Party will be forced to move toward the center to compete for these constituencies. As a result, modern conservatism is likely to lose its dominant place in the GOP.
Key findings on the electorate’s demographic transformation are examined below.
Heavily Democratic minority voters (80 percent for Obama) increased their share of votes in U.S. presidential elections by 11 percentage points between 1988 and 2008, while the share of increasingly Democratic white college graduate voters rose 4 points. But the share of white working-class (not college-educated) voters, who have remained conservative in their orientation, has plummeted by 15 points.
That’s a pattern that’s repeated in state after state, helping send those states in a Democratic direction. In Pennsylvania, for example, the white working class declined by 25 points between 1988 and 2008, while white college graduates increased by 16 points and minorities by 8 points. And in Nevada, the white working class is down 24 points over the same time period, while minority voters are up an amazing 19 points and white college graduates by 4 points.
These trends will continue, and the United States will be majority-minority nation by 2042. By 2050, the country will be 54 percent minority as Latinos double from 15 percent to 30 percent of the population, Asian Americans increase from 5 percent to 9 percent, and African Americans move from 14 to 15 percent.
The tea baggers might help the GOP in the short term – although I doubt even that. But in the long turn that hard right turn is death for the GOP.