Is Demography Still Destiny?

A friend who is aware of my interest in the link between demographic change and political change slipped me this article, Why Demography Does Not Equal Destiny.  You don’t hear much these days about demographics in politics since last November 9th, other than the talk about that new group that politicos recently discovered; the white working class.  Who are these guys and where did they come from?

So it’s no surprise there is a lot of handwringing among the Demographics=Destiny crowd.  The article summarizes its main points:

  1. Demographic change is not evenly dispersed in states and voting districts throughout the country.
  2. Voting behavior is not static. Voters more readily change which party they support than the demography-is-destiny models anticipated.
  3. Despite the large change in the demographic composition of the electorate, most voters still do not self-identify as liberals. In fact, liberals remain bronze medalists in the ideological breakdown of the electorate—ever since the question was first asked decades ago.

I don’t disagree with the generalities of these points.  In fact I share them to a degree and wrote about the snags and hiccups on the way to permanent Democratic rule over two years ago. Most voters are not liberal, at least they are not self-identified ones, and the purging of the moderate wing that began in 2010 has left the Democratic Party with few moderates for mainstream Americans to identify with.  Political decisions matter too, and President Obama’s decision to go make Obamacare, rather than “comprehensive immigration reform” his first massive push doomed his party to an easy opening for attack.  The Tea Party sprang up to fight Obamacare and the political cost for moderate blue dog Democrats to vote for it was the loss of their seats, leaving a smaller, and more left leaning Democratic Party in its wake.

So for the past few years, the Democratic Party has been hurt more by stupid political decisions than helped by Demographic change.  Nobody told them that they had to make a granny with 30 years of criminal investigations and corruption behind her the party’s nominee.

However…

Even though the Democrats nominated the worst candidate possible she still won the popular vote by 3 million votes.  That really brings truth to the old saying about yellow dog Democrats; they would vote for a dog if it was running on the Democratic ticket. But that goes to Point One; demographic change is not evenly dispersed.  No it isn’t.  Particularly when you consider that the Hillary’s popular vote lead is entirely attributable to California.  Without California, Trump won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes.  That’s the power of demographics.

California is the textbook case, and the canary in the coal mine on unbridled Demographic change. The Center for Immigration Studies did a study comparing California from 1970 to 2008. Just a few observations:

Legal and illegal immigrants went from 9 to 27%.

Went from 7th most educated workforce to 50th (that’s dead last for the California educated!).

Went from 25th in income inequality to 6th.

Conclusion?  If you try to replicate Latin America in California, don’t be surprised if you get something that looks very much like…Latin America; high income inequality, with a very wealthy and educated elite with a large poor and uneducated mass of people, and of course, one party rule. California has successfully duplicated the Mexican model. And California, which has for decades been the early adopter of future American trends, shows us what the entire country will look like in a few decades.

So yes, other things matter too, not just demographics, however as California demonstrates, all things being equal, over time demographic change is probably the largest single determinate.  Demographically speaking, as Ann Coulter pointed out, “If the same country that voted in 1980 had voted in 2012, Romney would have won a bigger landslide than Reagan did.”

In the Trump, Black Swan era, it’s easy to dismiss demographic change as having an effect on our politics, but there it is, chugging along, year after year, turning the United States into California.

 

 

 

A Reckoning

When it comes to anti white racism, I admit I’ve been pretty tolerant of it.  Mostly because anti white racism can be pretty funny so it’s hard to take seriously.  As anyone who has perused Salon, the website for white people who hate white people; can tell you, it’s sometimes hard not to get a good laugh out of it.  It’s hard to remember now, but at one time Salon used to be a legitimate and respectable magazine. But with stories like, White Men Must be Stopped, White Guys are Killing Us, America’s Angriest White Men, GOP base is still white and aging, and Time to Profile White Men; even the parody twitter account “Salon.com” has had difficulty topping the real articles and has often resorted to re-tweeting Salon’s real tweets.

Of course when real journalists do it, it’s slightly less funny, such as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, whose article, On a Welcome End to American Whiteness, cheers for the day of demographic apocalypse for white people in America.  Milbank sees the declining white population as an opportunity to redo American culture, to get rid of an “excess of individualism, short-term thinking and prioritizing of rights over duties.

Yeah, we wouldn’t want too many rights gumming up the works.

So I suppose I do fundamentally view a major difference between the comic anti white hatred of Salon, ranting Black Nationalists on Youtube, or various SJW’s on college campuses, and legitimate journalists positing their anti white racism in the public sphere without any backlash at all.

anand-giridharadas

That’s why I found myself someone shocked by the comments of New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas on Morning Joe this week. Giridharadas is one of those semi regular guests to the set of the MSNBC show that doesn’t, to my view, seem to offer anything particularly compelling in the way of opinion other than the mouthing of whatever the latest conventional wisdom is.  In the case of Giridharadas he also brings some sort of incomprehensible thing going on with his hair.  It’s like he’s stacked a couple of bird’s nests up there.  I guess that’s his gimmick.

So check out the video at this link of Giridharadas.

Or I’ll just transcribe the relevant comments.  When co-host and white male Willie Geist asked Giridharadas a question about what happens to the frustrations of the people who supported Trump post election, he responded thusly:

“I don’t want to wait for a leader to deal with this energy because I think how badly we went when we don’t deal with each other as human beings. I think every institution needs to do this. I would say to your point, this needs to be a two-way reconciliation, and here’s my suggestion for kind of each side. I think the elites we’re talking about who relate to understanding this pain, who didn’t see the roots of Trump, need to see it–need to re-engage with What American needs to understand what’s doing on.

I think the people who went that way and that Trump movement and perhaps supported things about women they don’t actually support or supported things about bashing Muslims that they don’t in their deepest of hearts support, need to think about the fact that globalization and all of that was hard on everybody. It wasn’t just hard on White guys. For some reason, women lost their jobs in globalization, Black and Brown people lost their jobs in globalization, and managed not to lash out. I think there needs to be a reckoning, frankly, with white manhood in this country.”

Geist’s reply?  “Interesting.”

Putting aside the idea that if globalization is so hard on everyone, why are we doing it, I thought the real take away was, I realized that these guys, the establishment elite types like Milbank and Giridharadas were serious.  They really do regard whites as some sort of problem, like an atavistic hold over that’s harshing everyone’s buzz.  It’s pretty blatantly racist, but it’s not a racism that anyone particularly cares about.

I’ve been writing about the increase in tribalism and identity politics for years, but it looks like it’s going for a new level.  Nothing good will come out of this of course, but now it’s not just that nothing good will come out of this in a general way, but now I feel like I’m being targeted personally.  Unfortunately Joe Scarborough recognized the rabbit hole Giridharadas was going down and sidetracked the conversation into one of “reconciliation,” I would have much rather heard Giridharadas elaborate on his point and find out just what exactly he had in mind with his reckoning “with white manhood.”

Although I think I’ll eventually find out.