Monday, November 12, 2012

Will the Demographics of the Republican Base Change?

During the run-up to this year's election and afterwards, I've read many articles suggesting that, due to the US's changing demographics, the Republican party will not be able to be successful in the future if it continually relies on primarily catering to its base of white (male, I would add) voters.

For one instance of this argument, see Thomas Edsall in The New York Times opinion blogs:
"The demographic threat to the Republican Party grows out of the fact that every four years the electorate becomes roughly two percent less white and two percent more minority, primarily as a result of the increase in the Hispanic and Asian-American populations and the relatively low birth rate among whites. By my computation, this translates into a modest 0.85 percentage point gain for Democrats and 0.85 percentage point loss for Republicans every four years. In other words, the changing composition of the electorate gives Democrats an additional built-in advantage of 1.7 percentage points every four years."
Any theories, predictors, or thoughts on who the Republicans will try to recruit to make up for the loss of those white fonts of unexamined privilege (at best) and dignity-denying moralizers who comprise its base?

What strategies will Republicans employ to attract new voters?

'Member when they tried to capture the lady vote in 2008 with the Sarah Palin schtick? I predict something similarly tacky and out of touch. Maybe an increase in dorky white guys rapping at political rallies or, on a more sinister level, the creation of more divisions between marginalized groups that the white Republican base has traditionally not given a shit about and, in fact, whose rights they have historically opposed.

Relatedly, I've seen many post-election incarnations of white homophobic, anti-feminist conservative dudes squawking statements like, "The end/armageddon/judgment/apocalypse is near!!" and "That's it, I'm checking out. This country is on its own!" which I think is just downright hilarious. (I also think Internet is calling it the Democalypse?) 

The message there is that if a white base no longer controls who gets elected, a black guy gets re-elected, and if white guys check out of the system, then women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, and other Others will of course be so incompetent at running things that the Entire System will collapse. White guys created their own formal and informal affirmative action programs in the public sphere for themselves throughout much of US history, and now many of them are still operating under the assumption that this historical dominance of white men was due primarily to them.... actually being superior at public sphere stuff than women and people of color.

They really think highly of themselves, some of these white male (and some female) Republicans.

The end of their gender, race, and class privileges are possibly nearing, sure, and that's a good thing.
Unfortunately, some of these guys are so mired in fauxbjective egocentricity that they can't help mistaking their impending loss of unearned privilege for a worldwide cataclysm for all people everywhere.

And then, others are so out of touch and hellbent on preserving their privilege that they seem to think the Republicans' Big Problem is that they just weren't homophobic, xenophobic, anti-woman, and anti-choice enough!

Sure, players, go with that strategy in 2016. Or better yet, keep shrugging yourselves, and your supremacist opinions, into indifference and irrelevancy.

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