Some People Claim That There’s a Woman to Blame
I’ll share my times with Jimmy Buffett in some future post, but his lyrics give us a hook to hang this post on.
A lot of people are unhappy with their presidential choices. Buffett, for example, might have a real shot at the office this year if he was running, but he’s not.
Instead we’ve got a lot of angry people who are just gob smacked that the “other” party is even considering nominating their leading candidate.
It is an unsettled time. Millennials finally outnumber Baby Boomers. We are also rapidly becoming a diverse racial country where whites will soon be their own minority. For some, that is welcome. For others it is terrifying.
These tectonic demographic shifts drive our politics in ways that aren’t always obvious to those who feel the ground shifting underneath their feet. These shifts are, none the less, a reliable prediction of where politics are moving in the future.
Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans
All of these demographics are SIGNIFICANTLY younger than the white population. The implications are obvious. As the white population dies off, these groups will gain more political power.
It should also be obvious to even the casual observer that all of these groups have good reasons to affiliate with the Democratic Party. Republicans first chose to be the party of white people in 1968. They have doubled down on that strategy every year since. That choice is not lost on these groups. This year, both Trump and Cruz promise to deport 12M undocumented workers. Those opposed to that are going to vote Democratic. The Republican Party largely blames the poor in this country for their condition. Republicans have vowed to repeal the same Obamacare that has greatly benefited the poor. Those who oppose these views are also going to vote for Democrats.
The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman accurately described the Republican problem.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of all white voters and won election in a 44-state landslide. In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney carried 59 percent of all white voters yet lost decisively. What happened? African Americans, Latinos, Asians and other non-whites — all overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning groups — rose from 12 percent of voters in 1980 to 28 percent in 2012.
Regardless of how you feel about abortion, from a political perspective 54% of women are pro-choice. Republicans are aggressively pro-life. According to Gallup, 70% of women have an unfavorable view of Trump. Even with Clinton’s negatives among women at 50%, she has a 20 point advantage. If Trump continues to attack her in the run up to the presidency in the same ways that he attacked other women during the primaries, this gap will only widen.
Highly Educated Professionals
These people are naturally liberal because, among other things, they value science. Republican positions on climate change only exacerbate this Democratic advantage.
Young people are very supportive of LGBT rights and many carry massive college debt. Republicans oppose LGBT rights and oppose any efforts to reform higher education financing.
Carter woke up evangelicals. Reagan and Schafly converted them to Republicanism. Lately, however, evangelical leaders like Rick Warren have moved away from the narrow social issues and embraced a larger set of concerns about helping the poor. They remain an area of support for Republicans, but the religious zealotry of right wing conservatism has taken over from the pulpit-lead politics of previous decades.
Working Class Whites
Republicans have an advantage with low information white voters. Trump mobilized them because they felt that their previous Republican votes did not deliver the change that was promised. They are looking for someone to materially change their current tenuous condition. Their wages are stagnant. Their job prospects are grim. What investments they had have not recovered from the 2008 financial collapse. They feel that the game is rigged against them and they want someone to blame. This all fits well with the Republican emotional approach to politics. The problem is that this group, while passionate, is a declining demographic that will fall far short of a majority in 2016.
The next election will be a contentious one. Assuming that there are no bombshells between now and November, Clinton should win with relative ease regardless of who Republicans run. That is going to be incomprehensible for Conservatives because Clinton IS in many ways the devil of their religion. It was just as incomprehensible for them that a white country elected a black man twice. They blamed that on Romney and McCain not being conservative enough and the government bribing 47% of the population.
This cycle Conservatives have purified themselves of apostates. They have become even more conservative. They declined any compromise of principle for 8 years. They shut down the government. They took over more states. They won majorities in the House and Senate defeating the demons Pelosi and Reid. Yet they are now appear further away from winning the White House than when they started. Why does the political god continue to punish us, they wail?
Unfortunately they’ve failed to realize that the political god doesn’t care about their philosophy. All the political god cares about is demographics. Too many of the growing demographic groups currently have natural affiliations with Democratic policy positions for any Republican to win. The only remaining question is when will the Conservative faithful, in the face of yet another national failure, finally realize in the words of our spirit guide “It’s my own damn fault”?