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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Demographics

One of the themes that I heard last night in the election coverage was the changing demographics in the country.  Then this morning I learned that Obama actually carried Harris County (Houston) where Republicans have, with few exceptions, ruled since all the conservative Democrats switched parties back in the 70s and 80s.  Chuck Todd predicted on the news tonight that in the next election cycle Texas might actually be in play because of the fast increasing Hispanic/Latino population.  Certainly by 2020.  Other states that have been solidly Republican were also mentioned such as Georgia.  And as I write this the local news is now discussing the same thing.  And they are saying that Texas is turning purple.

It will be interesting to see how the R party is going to adjust to this. If they can no longer take for granted the big chunk of electoral votes from Texas then it seems that they are going to have to change their brand to some degree. It's a tough spot for them.  Their base is clearly older white men.  And if there's one thing that older white men seem to fear it is changing demographics.  I generalize, but that does seem to be the message I keep hearing.  White men my age and older are, in general, afraid of the coming time when they will be the minority.  That time is right around the corner.  When I say I hear it I mean I hear it from other older white men.  It's something that robs some of them of sleep.  They are REALLY WORRIED.  They did not sign up for this.  They fret, "this is not the America I grew up in.  This is not the America of our Founding Fathers."  True enough.  Change is tough, but that doesn't seem to slow it down.  "Oh the tiiiime's they are achaaaangin."

10 comments:

  1. As one of those older white men (who in this case voted for Obama) I will point out that what some of us worry about is not national demographics but rather national bankruptcy.

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    1. I'm not sure I understand your comment as a reply to my post. Are you just pointing out an additional fear for white men of a certain age? If so I can certainly appreciate that. Or are you saying that your concern about the national debt is related to what I have posted in that you think that some configuration of demographics will be more likely to increase it than other configurations?
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  2. The feeling in this state (Texas) is, generally, that this was the last election in which Texas would be a red state. If true then the combination of electoral votes in NY, NJ, TX & CA would probably prohibit the election of a Republican. So the Republican Party brand, as currently perceived, may in fact be irrelevant.

    The perception of the Republican Party as older white men incapable of assimilating change has successfully been sold, as evidenced in this post, and widely accepted. Personally I have been out of sync with the Republican Party since Reagan and out of sync with the Democrat Party since Johnson (Although I liked Bill in his 2nd term).

    Interesting post because it highlights how reality truly is perception. I have friends (and family), with the attributes that Bruce describes. If they are the Republican Party I agree with Bruce.

    On the other hand, I work professionally with a large number of groups and individuals that identify as fiscal conservatives (and generally vote Republican) who are a decidedly different group. Generally they are completely void of any bias based on race, or gender, or ethnicity, they have no issues or concerns about being a minority, and they welcome change because it generates (business) opportunities. As a perception they, because they identify as fiscal conservatives, often get lumped in with the “old inflexible white men” even though the two groups are truly not compatible.

    During the Presidential campaign I also heard partisans refer to the Rs as “old white men”. I think I visibly wince each time since I find the language unnecessary and inconsistent with a desirable objective of eliminating discrimination based on age, race and gender.

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    1. Tom, I don't believe I have been "sold" anything. I am basing what I said on my personal experiences over quite a few years, not something that someone was selling. And I did note that I was generalizing.

      The purpose of my post was not to insult older white men or to try to pigeonhole them as inflexible. I was stating what I thought would be an accepted fact that the base of the Republican Party is older white men. The numbers are there in black and white. And it is a fact that many older white men are fearful of the changing "look" of the country. I was not saying that made them bad people. It's certainly understandable.

      I understand about being fearful when it begins to become clear that things are not turning out the way you had pictured them being. Very important things. Example: my daughter married a black man about 15 years ago and you can bet that everyone in my family, including her mother and me, had to look DEEP and answer the question "why am I uncomfortable with this?" I had never considered myself to be a racist. Quite the opposite. And I still believe that I have never been a racist. But I was raised during a time when certain things were spoken about in hushed tones because they were just too horrible to talk out loud about. And mixed marriage was one of those things. The "n word" was thrown around with impunity. The law had to force the all white schools to let in the black kids. Mexicans were lazy. etc., etc., etc. When you're a kid and your perceptions are developing those things stay with you forever. Later you intellectually decide for yourself what's right and what's wrong. And that's pretty easy compared to actually being faced with acting on your intellectually developed beliefs. Someone once said that "we never fully recover from our childhood" (at least I think that's the way it went..corrections are welcome) and I think this is the kind of thing they were talking about. The older white men I refer to were raised in the same general time frame as I. Chances are they experienced much the same things as I did. So, given that, it stands to reason that there is fear...at varying levels, but it's there.

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    2. Understood. I did not take your remarks as being insulting to old white men, indeed those old white men might find your remarks complimentary. I did interpret you comments to mean that the views held by (some) old white men permeate the Republican Party. I don’t necessarily agree and we will have to disagree on whether it is accepted fact that the base of the Republican Party is indeed “older white men”.

      I will admit that I would be more comfortable discussing this if we grouped people together ideologically rather than by age, race and gender.

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  3. I think that I have seen your description of the “base of the Republican party” in a number of liberal op eds. You have them being “scared” older white men (sometimes they are “angry old” white men). I think that it is (if believed) an image which can be very effective in demonizing the Rs. I understand that you have some anecdotes and there are also some celebrities like Pat Buchanan, Limbaugh, O’Reilly that may fit that image.

    According to http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/06/4966431/2012-election-exit-poll-shows.html only about 4 or 5 percent of the voters last Tuesday were men over 65 who voted for Romney. Fewer than that were white and it is barely possible that not all of them were scared about the coming nonwhite majority. Maybe some of them know that it is not scheduled to arrive until 2050 by which time all of the survivors of that group will be at least 100 years old.

    But even if each member of this group of older male Romney voters is white and scared, this group still contains less than 1 in 10 of the Romney voters. That group does not seem to me to be nearly large enough to be a fair characterization of the base of the Republican party.

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  4. OK. I give up. I'll come out with my hands up. Don't tase me bro'. Older white men are not scared or angry and they're not the Republican base. OK? But the discussion that I WANTED to have is what are the Rs going to do in response to this loss? Regardless of who the R base is, it is clearly very conservative (surely we can agree on that...or maybe not)as evidenced by the rhetoric of the Republican Primaries earlier this year. Romney was known as a moderate conservative but ran away from that label with quotes like "I was a severely conservative governor" during the primaries. A pander to the base I assume.

    In your "Racial Malarky" post you made 3 very good suggestions to the Rs. But the question will be "is the base ready to embrace those actions?" Especially on immigration. Maybe older white men aren't angry but someone is angry about the porous Mexican border and all the related issues. I don't have the stats but some states are passing what many consider to be controversial laws to address these issues. And it does not appear to me that those laws are being taken well by the Hispanic community. Can the R base get past their demand for 100% deportation to acceptance of a more fair, reasonable and workable solution? If they can then I think the R party will thrive. Otherwise, I still think they will thrive...I just don't know how they'll pull it off. Both parties have been declared dead in my lifetime more than once.

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    1. The discussion I WANTED – So, focused on immigration what do the Ds want? I am not being sarcastic here. After 2 years of negative campaign rhetoric I truly do not know what the Ds propose on immigration and honestly I think the two sides are possibly not as far apart as campaign smack makes it look.

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    2. http://ontheissues.org/Celeb/Democratic_Party_Immigration.htm
      I think this link explains the D's position per their latest platform better than I could.

      http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Republican_Party_Immigration.htm
      This is a link to the Republican platform with regard to immigration.

      The biggest difference seems to be amnesty vs no amnesty.

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