Demography is destiny.


The common saying in the title holds that population trends and distributions determine the future of a country, region or even the entire world. For example, if the human population increases too fast or too slowly, or if there are too many young or old people, then certain outcomes are likely to follow.

While I personally put a great deal of stock in this truism, it is not necessarily inviolable. The Democrat Party has put a great deal of faith in demography. They realize that Hispanics and Asians are growing as a proportion of the American electorate. They have significant vote majorities among these groups (and among African-Americans, as well).

Asians now make up the largest share of recent immigrants. But unlike some of these other current minority groups Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group.

st_12-06-16_aa_immigration

 

However, it is inappropriate to lump Asians together as “a group.” Asians are as diverse or more so than Europeans. You wouldn’t posit that Italians are “the same” as Swedes or Greeks “the same” as Germans.. Similarly, Japanese are not “the same” as Chinese.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-1-48-49-pm

[Source: The U.S. is becoming more racially diverse. But Democrats may not benefit, by Richard Alba]

Identity politics has been the backbone of Democrat Party strategy anticipating that their majorities among blacks, Hispanics and Asians are locked. These growing demographics will ultimately make them unstoppable in national elections.

Identity politics is not only very bad for unity among Americans it may also be a failed political practice. Columbia University historian, Mark Lilla, argues that the Clinton campaign overly focused on specific groups, especially minorities, instead of developing a broader message.

Electoral math may not end up “computing” the way the Democrat Party is anticipating. They are counting on demography, but demography isn’t necessarily destiny.

There are reasons that the Democrat strategy may fail. First, the forecast of a majority-minority society in the near future is more problematic than has been commonly assumed.

Some computations to consider:

  • Democrats have lost the caucasian vote by an almost 60-40 margin in the last two presidential elections.
  • Caucasian Americans currently make up 70 percent of the electorate.

[From the Alba article] Suppose for the sake of argument that they constitute two-thirds in 2020. Unless the Democrats’ margin changes, white voters would give them barely more than a quarter of all votes cast.

Second, the progressive hope relies on precarious assumptions about the future behavior of minority voters. In particular, recent patterns of assimilation, especially among U.S.-born Asians and Latinos, complicate the white/minority division of the population.  These patterns also suggest that assimilating voters may behave politically more like whites than the conventional wisdom allows.

If the Democrat Party is aiming at a safe majority of voters they would need to win an overwhelming number of minority votes. In order to break 50% by a “safe margin” they require 80 percent of the non white vote. 

Another “problem” for the Democrat strategy is that the above demographics are based on the methods used by the Census Bureau. Liberalism had many effects on our society. Among them was the end of taboos on mixed racial marriages (a liberal achievement I heartily applaud). The Census Bureau is arbitrarily classifying this fast-growing group of young Americans from ethno-racially mixed backgrounds. These individuals are currently 14-15% of the infants born today. Most of these children have a caucasian parent. However, the Census Bureau classifies them as “non-white.”

Predicting this groups voting behavior is treacherous. The same can be said even of intermarriages between minority groups. The Democrat Party notion of an inexorable demographic tide assumes that their votes in the future will be determined primarily by their minority status — rather than by, say, their economic position or their family relationships to whites.

The so-called “Obama coalition” was put together by a black (well, half black) candidate who was the first ever American of African decent to run for president. Now voting Americans have a template against which to judge. The next African-American presidential candidate won’t have that advantage. If you were the next presidential candidate of African decent would your campaign slogan be “I’ll be just like Barack?” I don’t think so!

The above analysis should in no way be interpreted by my readers as a statement extolling white majority status. White American voters are no more a monolithic voting block than any other group.

I predict that the Trump administration, unlike every prediction by the left, will be “yugely” beneficial to inner city black Americans. Unlike the Democrat Party that covets their votes, but then does nothing to help them, I believe Trump will make their lives better and safer. So, I’m sticking my neck out and predicting Donald Trump will get 40% of the African American vote in 2020.

Roy Filly

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About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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4 Responses to Demography is destiny.

  1. JAMES D KLEISER says:

    Sure hope you’re right!

    The thing about “identity politics”, or “group politics”, is that it requires groups. Note that groups do not really exist; only individuals to. Groups are just a logical construct.

    In order to define a group, the Democrats have to keep people, like recent immigrants or blacks, thinking that they cannot truly join with America as a whole. They can only just live here. They cannot share in the common history and such of a nation.

    It is absolutely an un-American, in fact anti-American, concept.

    The fact that the Democrats engage in this behavior proves indisputably their goal is not furtherance of some claimed alternate American principles, but just simple pursuit of raw power.

    Sorry, can’t stand ’em!

  2. Starchild says:

    Much of your analysis here seems well-taken Roy. The classification of mixed-race kids with one parent of European descent as non-white is a good example of how silly it is to make electoral predictions just based on published demographic trends. I agree that demographics are no guarantee Democrats, or people with similar policy agendas, will dominate in the future. Many people make similarly ill-considered demography-based assumptions about Islam taking over in Europe. On the other hand, appealing to European-Americans in racial/racist terms will probably be less and less viable as a strategy for electoral success.

    As I pointed out in another recent comment on this blog however, nationalism is also a form of identity politics (for example, identifying people as “Americans”). This is something that many on the right who attack identity politics don’t like to acknowledge. A nation is an artificial group. Although it often prominently includes elements of actual commonality (shared ethnicity, shared language, shared culture, etc.), rarely in the modern world do anywhere near 100% of the people collectively identified as a nation share any of those characteristics. Even more than is true in most countries, U.S. citizens and residents have a wide variety of ethnicities, languages, and cultures.

    And that’s a good thing. In order to have some moral basis, a political philosophy must be capable of being universalized, and this means it must be based on ideas, not identity. Perhaps the central ideas question in politics is approximately this: How much of a role do you believe government should play in controlling people and running their lives? People’s answers to this question have no inherent relation to their ethnic background, and while people of one ethnicity may favor more government involvement in some area than people of another ethnicity, on average, the opposite relation may exist when it comes to some other area of government involvement.

    Also a minor correction – Barack Obama was not the first American of African (or partial African) descent to run for the office of president in the United States. There have been many others (see e.g. http://www.glistsociety.com/2016/03/before-pres-obama-16-black-americans-who-campaigned-to-be-u-s-president/).

  3. Roy Filly says:

    You are correct. I misspoke in this post. Barack Obama was not the first American of African descent to run for the presidency. What;s worse is that I knew that. I followed Jesse Jackson’s campaign quite closely. And who could forget Ru Paul. I’m slipping!

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