The Spectacle Blog

The Demographic Ghost that Haunts the GOP

By on 9.1.11 | 11:58AM

The Washington Post reports on the long-term demographic challenge facing the GOP: "Minorities are the majority in 22 of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan regions," the Post observes.

This matters, of course, because minorities, far more so than white voters, are inclined to vote Democrat. And this helps to explain why states such as California, which voted for Ronald Reagan four times, are now irretrievably Democrat.

States such as Virginia, meanwhile, can no longer be counted on to vote Republican in presidential elections. Indeed, after voting Democrat in 2008 for the first time since 1964, Virginia is now considered a "tossup state."

According to the Post,

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said the growth in racial and ethnic minorities has helped transform places such as Fairfax from reliably moderate Republican domains to ones where Democrats control the Board of Supervisors and that are represented in Congress and the General Assembly by Democrats.

‘You're going to start seeing that demographic impact politically in the outer suburbs' more and more, he predicted.

What's next to fall, Texas? The GOP had better hope not: if the GOP loses Texas, it will become a permanent minority party, incapable of winning the White House except in a rare, fluke election. Yet, three of the 22 minority-dominant metro regions -- McAllen, El Paso and Houston -- are in Texas.

Demography is not necessarily destiny: People's voting habits can and do change based on changes in their economic status, education, political campaigns, and, significantly, life experience. The experience of marrying and raising children, for instance, can be especially transformative politically.

But demography (and culture) also can be surprisingly stubborn and resistant to change. Blacks and Jews, for instance, continue to vote Democrat in large numbers, even when, it seems, liberal pols betray them.

Still, politics is never stagnant; it is always fluid and in flux. It will be interesting to see how minority voting patterns evolve and develop in the coming years. One thing's for sure: the Republicans have their work cut out for them.

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