July 1, 2020
“It’s one of those laws of the universe, isn’t it? Nothing stays the same. Things change.” – Author: Sam Gayton
Sometimes you become immune to demographic changes. They sneak up on you until one day you wake up and find that the world you thought you knew has moved on and left you with new people and ideas that no one ever mentioned before. This is a good thing and you must grow with it.
People grow old and younger folks take their place, and with them comes a new political environment. The U.S. is now facing such an demographic revolution as the decline of the Baby Boomer generation accelerates. America is becoming more diverse, with new ideas and beliefs.
With the recent exposure of police brutality regarding Black Americans has bared this nation’s history of unequal treatment for many of its citizens.
Some historic and long dead figures in American history, now face new public scrutiny about what they both said and acted on during their life on earth. And Mississippi has finally removed the Confederate symbol from its own flag. As Bob Dylan once sang, “The Times They are A-Changin’.”
Politics are not immune from these changes. White voters who have dominated American politics since the Revolution are starting to show their age. In the following chart, we can see how white voters are declining as a percent of the electorate since 1990, by some 14% in just 28 years.
Some of this decline is due to deaths, but most of it is caused by the increasing number of other ethnic groups, particularly Black voters. As an example of the increasing voting power of Black voters demonstrated in the 2012 presidential race where turnout for White non-Hispanic voters was 64.1% and for Blacks 66.2%. This is the first time since the Census Bureau began recording turnout numbers that the Black voter turnout was greater than White’s.
This high turnout was due largely to Barack Obama on the ballot, but illustrates the increasing influence on Black voters in election outcomes. This statistic alone should convince the Biden campaign to add a Black woman to his presidential ticket.
The next chart gives some overall perspective of how this change is effecting turnout in recent elections.
The blue line in this chart shows the yearly turnout rate for non-Hispanic Whites since 1986 and the red line Black voters. You can see how Black voters have slowly gained on whites turnout rates. In the 2016 presidential election, Black voters fell 5% from the previous presidential election. With the loss of these voters, Hillary Clinton lost the election.
In 2020, the composition of the turnout will likely determine the outcome. Trump voters are still likely to show up and Biden is not Hillary Clinton. Biden’s success will depend on Black voters. If White voters continue to decline, the Republican Party will over time will suffer. “Demographics are destiny” said Auguste Comte. Be safe…