Storm Clouds for the GOP in the Age of Obama

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In the midterm elections of 2010 the GOP took six Senate seats from Democrats, gained 63 in the House of Representatives and won important gubernatorial contests. It was a resounding conservative victory that will reverberate for years to come. But the midterm success shouldn’t obscure the somber reality for Republicans. America’s demographics are changing in a way that will aid Democrats and strengthen President Obama’s hand unless the GOP takes step to reach out to minority voters and the nation’s youth.

The problem for the GOP is simple but serious. As minority populations grow and naturally make up a larger portion of the electoral pie, the natural beneficiaries are Democrats. In 2008, more than 95% of black voters supported Mr. Obama. They made up 13% of the electorate. Hispanic voters supported then-Senator Obama by a margin greater than thirty points, and they made up 9% of the electorate. Of course, Hispanic voters are the fastest-growing demographic, and they’re expected to make up a double-digit share of the electorate by 2012.

In 1980, 89% of the electorate was white. By 2008, that number had dropped to 72%, and the white share of the vote is only going to continue shrinking. That’s bad news for Republicans and great news for Democrats because Democratic candidates regularly clean up with minority voters, while tending to trail among white voters. For example, in 2008 Obama only won 43% of the white vote.

If you need any more statistics to convince you of the serious threat to the Republican Party, just consider this. If the 1992 voter demographics had remained constant through 2008, with each demographic keeping support for either party constant, John McCain would have won comfortably. Instead, he lost the election by nine and a half million votes.

The growing influence of minority voters and especially Hispanics is already being felt in other crucial ways. In 2010, Harry Reid secured another six-year term in the Senate despite underwater approval ratings, which would have been impossible without his commanding lead among Hispanic voters. Despite a 53% disapproval rating, the Majority Leader has been returned to the US Senate, where he is President Obama’s most powerful ally. In Colorado another reliable supporter of Barack Obama, Senator Bennett narrowly won reelection as well, with overwhelming support from Latino voters.

There is also grim news for the GOP outside of racial demographics. Barack Obama overwhelmingly won the youth vote in 2008, carrying voters between 18 and 29 years of age by more than 60%. To put that margin into context, he carried young adults by a healthier margin than he won Massachusetts, known as the most liberal state in America.

John McCain and the Republican Party showed some strength with senior citizens, winning 55% of the elderly vote. That’s an important area to do well in, because elderly voters are also the most likely to show up at the polls, especially in midterm elections. But who can the GOP turn to as senior citizens are gradually replaced by younger voters who overwhelmingly backed our President? Republicans had better hope that young adults aren’t in the Democratic camp to stay.

The 2010 midterms were important and consequential, but Republicans take too much comfort from their results at their own risk. The GOP was able to do well in a midterm election in which 42% of eligible citizens voted, that was marked by a mobilized conservative base and economic angst. But as the demographics trend away from Republicans, the party of Reagan may need to get adjust to competing in a nation that looks less and less like Ronald Reagan’s America.

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Comments 14 comments

lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

This current crop of Republicans really do not even resemble Reagan. Yeah,they use his name for "street cred", but as far as policy-wise? They are clueless. This is a country of 3 billion people....you need money to run it. The more money you have, the better it runs.

Reagan raised taxes when he faced reality...as did Bush 1. Being tied to an axiom of "no taxes" is childish when you are dealing with A COUNTRY for god's sakes! This is not a PRIVATE for profit enterprise!! All gain goes to the very few, while the rest of the country dies of neglect?

Taking taxes out of the system only leads to one thing: Higher Cost of Living, Lower Quality of Life. More fees, higher fines, lesser services, and the continual down-grading of our country.

I read yesterday that after California took gvt money out of their school system, they went from being number one, to down at the bottom.

Is this what we want for America? Really?


lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

Robert Reich

"Occupiers: Demand tax hike on superrich to fund ed at all levels -- early child, K-12, affordable college. Financial cap into human cap."


American Romance profile image

American Romance 5 years ago from America

Lets change the vocabulary here, for now on let us call the super rich and wealthy ( Job Creators) insert that into every sentence you want when speaking of the ones who made this country great! Poor people do not create jobs, I think we can all agree on that! Somehow liberals have blinded the American public into believing that wealth is negative! So lets do what the libs always do and change the vocabulary!

Minorities are growing, they will vote Democrat so they can stay on the proverbial tit so to speak! Republicans need to reform entitlement programs so these people will get out and work and pay taxes,............then you will see a shift towards conservative viewpoints! ........its always funny how college kids are liberal until they see the taxes taken from their first paychecks!


lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

Can you support your thesis that the super rich are job creators?

Since 2000, they have become wealthier, yet jobs left America in droves....

Creating jobs in other countries does nothing for America....nor does housing their money in foreign banks...

Millions of jobs left AFTER they got their tax cuts.....please explain how they are job creators.

Rather than hoarders out for themselves, who took American jobs away for their own private benefit.--THEN get tax cuts on top of it!!!

Not job creators, money thiefs.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

I don't think the Democrats are safe with this economy. No one no likes going hungyr, homeless without a job. Actually I don't think either party is safe in this economy.

JT


lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

A rising tide lifts all boats...Obama said that.

Boehner is willing to work together.

Get the cult out of there....we are back in business. IMO


American Romance profile image

American Romance 5 years ago from America

lovemychris, Before I answer the question I must ask you to define super rich? If we are talking about Gates, and Zoros, (two of the richest in the world from YOUR team) then raise taxes on them if you feel better,.........Ok what did you accomplish? Did getting an extra half a million dollars from their paychecks put a dent in the 15 TRILLION dollar debt? There are only a handful like these guys, ITS A LIBERAL LIE and A TRICK! Obama isn't going after the "SUPER RICH" cause theres not enough there to get! He is going after those making over 250 thousand a year! I make that and all ready pay 30 percent in taxes! Thats THIRTY THOUSAND dollars for every 100! How much more should I suffer? I got a 15K pay raise the other day and I only get 400 dollars more in take home per check! Once you get in a certain bracket the govt doesn't allow you to keep it! Therefore we need to tax the poor! We have 50 million on welfare, lets be easy on those poor people and only tax them 100 dollars each per year! We just raised 500 million in revenue? and no one got hurt! There are not enough rich to ever pay off our debt!

lovemychris,

You are very bright, so why don't you get this? where does that chip on your shoulder come from? Let me tell you another secret, If you continue fighting to ruin the rich in this country, ..............then you have put mechanisms in place that insure YOU can NEVER be rich.......and with that we lost the American dream forever!................welcome in Cuba


Mark Sparks profile image

Mark Sparks 5 years ago from Charlottesville, Virginia Author

@lovemychris and American Romance: I like the lively debate on this thread, but what did you guys think about my view that demographic changes may bring about a Democratic era soon? That's what I'm really curious about.

@ JT Waters: Neither party is safe in this economy, but it seems the economy is the only reason Republicans have any chance at all. The incumbency advantage is powerful, and social issues just don't have the resonance they used to.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Hi Mark,

Have you seen all the occupy movements? And you don't think the social issues have relevance? Did you watch the GOP debate? They are missing alot on substance.

JT


lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

I am not trying to ruin the rich, but they SURE are trying to ruin the middle class!

Superrich are those 400 families who have more than half the rest of us.

Super rich are corporations who make billions, yet due to loop-holes, get tax refunds.

Super rich are hedgefund managers who make millions, yet pay tax at 15%.

If you are telling me that $250,000 is now middle class....then how do you think we in the lowwer ranges feel? And why are policies designed to cut US off?

You don't want to pay more....you're off the hook: They raised the 3% hike to one mil and up.

Now I am waiting to see what programs of theirs the R's are willing to cut...because so far, all I see targeted are poor families and senior citizens.

Of course, women--they want to cut off at the knees, in every way. This cult needs to go....for all our sakes.

BTW--Oh Cult members....yoohooo..you give Israel 8 mil A DAY....and you want to take from MY mom?


American Romance profile image

American Romance 5 years ago from America

lovemychris,

Obama promised yesterday to cut medicare, not the Rs! PS hedgefund managers pay the same rate as everyone else, those invested INTO the hedgefunds only pay 15%, WAIT before you go off on me, remember this to get the money to put into a hedgefund those same people payed 35% taxes on their money! This is what the liberals fail to clear up to those like you that they want standing in the cold for them protesting! No one wakes up with millions to invest, first you have to earn it and pay taxes on it!

Now some corporations do have silly loopholes, they get them by lobbying congress to pass laws ENABLING them to use those loopholes! Most famous for this is fannie Mae, to democrats, Unions to democrats, GE to democrats, GM to democrats..........are you catching on? Then the same democrats demonize them so you believe they are not associated in that slime! The CEO of GE works for Obama on some committee, he got billions in Stimulus, used it to open a plant in Korea, Bet CNN or the NY Times ever mentioned that one to you?

Now allow me to help you, what policies are designed to cut YOU off? and what exactly are you being cutoff from?


lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

No way...you did not answer my question.

What policies of theirs are the R's willing to cut?

Obama put medicare on the table in the spirit of compromise.. ..what are the GOP giving?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Mark Sparks- Excellent Hub with important information. I think the demographic shifts are going to play a larger and larger role in American politics. Good Hub.

lovemychris- You have the correct statistics and the correct interpretation.... The rising tide does not lift all boats equally - that ridiculous platitude was proven false long ago.

ncreasingly wealthy individuals and corporations do not reinvest in America' they ship jobs overseas and place huge sums of profits in off shore accounts to avoid paying taxes, while the middle class pays taxes and seen wages stall and even fall while profits continued to climb.

This is a travesty and a shame. More Americans ought to be indignant about this.


Mark Sparks profile image

Mark Sparks 5 years ago from Charlottesville, Virginia Author

Thanks for the read, phdast7. One reason I'm excited to see the 2012 results is because I think it might b a sort of inflection point in American politics, with those changing demographics marking a new era.

@JT. Yeah, I've seen the Occupy movements. They're understandable, though sometimes I disagree with their methods.

What I mant was that social issues aren't as politically potent as they were in decades past. Gay marriage, stem cells and even abortion seem to be becoming less and less important to the electorate, and thats changing American campaigns

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