A number of commentators have recently suggested that the Republican Party’s appeal to fear, anger, racial and ethnic bigotry and connecting minority races, ethnic groups and religious affiliations with a threat to the American way of life, and the establishment of a socialistic majority taker rather than maker society may be related to the party’s shrinking demographics. Even Jeb Bush gave voice to his concerns that they were appealing too much to fear and emotion and not a broader group of Americans.
Despite having many prominent people of color, and minority faith among them, the GOP profile is increasingly hemmed in by being older, increasingly white, less educated, and increasingly economically marginalized. If those are the people who are going to select you to run for office or be your base of support at the ballot box you are going to have to respond to their fears more than their hopes.
The GOP is safe in 2012 as the U.S. white population remains 63.7 percent of the total. Nevertheless, that clear dominance is lessened when almost a third of the number are strong Democrats and progressive Americans unlikely to vote for Republican candidates. Among the other two thirds are a certain number of independents who split pretty evenly between both parties. In the end, Republicans have roughly half of the white population with them and with a clear opportunity to grasp the lion’s share of independents. There are some Asian-Americans whose aspirations have lodged with Republicans, especially the Indian-American community in America. Many of those people come to the States with excellent educations and larger financial resources.
But as the Twenty-first century rolls out, we reach a point where white America will no longer be in the majority by 2045. 48.5 percent of Americans are projected by the U.S. Bureau of the Census to be white in 2045. The fastest growing portion of the population is Latinos and Asians accounting for 92 percent of population growth between 2000 and 2010. Those trends are projected to continue.
The GOP stands at a crossroads in the next decade. They simply are going to have to capture the overwhelming majority of Latinos and Asians. With Asians more evenly split between the two major parties the battleground are Hispanics.
What does the GOP offer to Latinos in 2012 and presumably in the years ahead? Harsh immigration policies designed to deport and prosecute them in large numbers primarily.It should come as no surprise that the Democrats are polling approximately two thirds of the Latino community as supporters in 2012. Not since the 1930’s have Republicans drawn majority support from people of color in America. That is 80 years of being the party of white America. Yes, Abraham Lincoln and Republican Radicals did lead the charge for civil rights back in the 1860’s and 1870’s, but that is increasingly beyond the memory of most people of color in America. Resting on those laurels will not draw black people to them in any numbers.
So Republicans are going to have to change and to pivot strategically on the immigration issue, what is most troublesome to their getting the Latino vote. By doing that they then have the inside track. Latinos work especially hard. They come to the United States and have done so to get ahead. They are predominately Roman Catholic and naturally Pro-life and naturally conservative on social issues.
Is the white Republican conservative base of the Republican Party ready to embrace immigrants from all over the world? All of the Republican Candidates, even Marco Rubio, a Latino of note himself, favor harsh immigration policies in place in Arizona and Alabama so this seems unlikely. The Republican base, millions of white voters, are very angry that people come here illegally, even though it is a civil violation and not a criminal one. And anyone who listens to their rhetoric and anger and fear, notes the racial bigotry that seems to creep at the edges of their concerns for observing strict legality. How can the Party make that strategic pivot?
But Latinos who are illegals can’t vote and ought never to vote you say. Nevertheless, millions of American citizens of Latino background live with some ten to twelve million undocumented people with their ethnicity and culture. They are their friends and neighbors. Four out of five children with undocumented parents are American citizens making deportation and prosecution of their parents a political nightmare and not in the interest of the children and their citizen rights. And legal U.S. Citizens who are Hispanic are the most likely people to be confused with the undocumented themselves when SB 1070 Arizona style immigration laws appear all over the United States demanding people show their papers to any law enforcement officer who believes they might be undocumented.
While President Obama has deported a record number of people in 2011, some 400,000 persons, and increased border patrol officers on the Mexican border, the President and his party have decided not to press deportation of the undocumented who have families here and have been here for any length of time minus those with criminal records. Obama and the Democrats look for some window of opportunity to begin comprehensive immigration reform. That reform is certain to be highly Latino friendly.
So the demographic time bomb is ticking and the Republican Party primary process for all offices relies most heavily on older white highly conservative evangelical Christians, who at times are even suspicious not only of Mormons, but of Catholics. They want the America of the white dominant 1950’s to be maintained. These people are the most hostile to immigrants, especially Mexicans and Central Americans. The heart of the Republican Party is least able to make the changes to defuse the racial, ethnic, and cultural time bomb that is the United States of 2012 and beyond.
The United States is trending to a more diverse racial, religious, ethnic, and all with a higher level of education beyond high school. Rick Santorum called President Obama a snob for having a college education and calling for all Americans to have the opportunity to go to college, including technical colleges. Once again, it is an appeal to a prejudice of the Republican base.
America is getting darker, more educated, and more diverse and accepting of differences between people. That does not seem to be the direction of the GOP now or for the future. The bomb is set to go off and the GOP bomb squad is poised to cut the wires they always have when there is an entirely new device they are confronted with.