News Column

Demographic Shift Aids Democrats

Sept. 25, 2012


Hispanic businessman

Slowly, relentlessly, America's population keeps evolving. Hispanics, Asians, blacks and other minorities gradually are overtaking traditional European whites. Women and gays steadily are gaining status. Education levels keep rising. More people remain single or live together without bothering to marry. Secular folks who don't attend church are soaring. Less-educated white males keep shrinking. Young "millennials" who came of age after 2000 are booming. Retirees dependent on Social Security and Medicare keep increasing as a share of the public.

All these demographic changes favor the Democratic Party and boost President Obama's re-election chances Nov. 6. Diversity and progressive views increasingly dominate the U.S. electorate.

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich says Republicans still are "relying largely on one slice of America -- middle-aged white men -- and alienating just about everyone else." Some examples:

The GOP platform would make it a crime to end any pregnancy, even those stemming from rape or incest -- which would require jailing of women, girls and doctors involved. But the Democratic platform supports women's right to choose.

"Republicans have repeatedly voted against legislation giving women equal pay for the same work as men," Reich noted, and GOP state lawmakers constantly impose humiliating obstacles on females seeking to halt pregnancies. No wonder women strongly prefer Democratic candidates.

Attempts to deny equality to gays rises mostly from the GOP and its fundamentalist wing. President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage. No wonder gays strongly prefer Democratic candidates.

Crackdowns against Hispanic immigrants are sought by Republicans -- but Obama blocked deportation of young Latinos who were smuggled into the United States as tots. No wonder Hispanics strongly prefer Democratic candidates.

"Paul Ryan's budget plan -- approved by almost every House Republican and enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney - would have allowed rates on student loans to double, adding an average of $1,000 a year to student debt loads," Reich wrote. But the White House and the Democratic Senate fought this painful burden. No wonder college-age young people strongly prefer Democratic candidates.

"Republicans have even managed to antagonize seniors by seeking to turn Medicare into vouchers whose value won't keep up with rising health-care costs," Reich added.

In addition to the rich, most GOP political support remains among less-educated, working-age, churchgoing, white males -- but that segment of America is diminishing, swamped by the steady rise of diversity in the populace.

Source: (C) 2012 Charleston Gazette. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved