I had the pleasure of chatting in person with a regular commentator of tdaxp today. The conversation began with Bush’s State of the Union address, but eventually turned to the issue of comparative racial and the difference between blacks and latinos. That is, the different between black group-level political strategy and latino group-level political strategy has been symbol v. substance.
For the past 50 years, most self-identified black movements have focused on highly symbolic victories. Brown v. Board of Education is a great example of this. In one swift movement, the Supreme Court declares separate but equal is inherently unequal. A bumper-sticker slogan for the ages. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are the legacies of this strategy, focusing on symbolic grievances to achieve symbolic victories (plus funding and jobs for their organizations and hangers-on).
During the same period, Latino politics seems to have been focused on one big gain: immigration. National-level latino politics seems to focus on making more latinos. I can’t recall a latino analog of Jesse Jackson, but efforts by latinos to enlarge their voting bloc have been tireless for more than a generation.
For now, the results show that substance is more important than symbolism. The continuing poor standing of blacks on most measures of welfare, combined with the continuing integration of latinos after three generations in the country, is compounded by the growing population imbalance. According to the 2000 census, 12.3% of Americans are black while 12.5% are Hispanic. There is every reason to believe the gap has grown larger in the years since then.
America’s transition from a secondly black to a secondly latin country will not have the same consequences has the lack of a Catholic majority in Lebanon of the Sunni’s loss of control of Iraq. But it won’t be without consequences, and a likely one is a change to the mythic past.
But that is a post for another time…
“The Future of the Electorate, Part Two,” by Chris Bowers, MyDD, 11 June 2005, http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/6/11/19592/2804.
Chris Bowers of MyDD runs the most intelligent, honest, self-critical partisan blog I know about. Earlier I mistook his frankness for strategic despair. It is not. It is a straight attempt to diagnose problems with the unsuccessful Democrat Coalition in order to fix them.
The latest bad news for Democrats..
Reading this piece led me to wondering about he age breakdown of the Latino vote. While we all know that Republicans gained among Latinos from 2000 to 2004, we also know that Democrats gained among younger voters from 2000 to 2004. Considering this, I thought that if Democrats had gained among young Latinos, which seemed reasonable considering their gains among other young voters, that they might actually be gaining among Latinos where it counts. It has become something of a truism around these parts that an individual’s voting patterns are fairly well locked after participation in three election cycles, so if Democrats were gaining ground among young Latinos and the Latino population itself was incredibly young, then it really wouldn’t matter if much that Republicans were gaining among Latinos overall. However, NAES quickly burst my bubble:
Latino Swing By Age
Dem Margin 2004 Dem Margin 2000
18-29 +22 +40
30-44 +6 +20
45-64 +28 +34
65+ +22 +38
While Democrats still won Latinos by a healthy margin in 2004, the greatest Latino shift toward Republicans actually came within the 18-29 age group. This is horrifying news, and must be rectified immediately.
Another interesting observation from our partisan demographer…
As a side note to this piece, I would also like to point out that over the past fifteen years, the population of the Unites States has increased by roughly 48 million people. I have previously documented the rise of non-Christians in the US, which have accounted for roughly 75% of our population growth since 1990. If Latinos have also accounted for more than 40% of the population growth in the Unites States since 1990, as the census bureau claims, that means demographic groups that are both Christian and non-Latino are actually experiencing a combined negative growth rate. This must especially be true for white Christians.
So if the Republican Party is gaining among Latinos, the religious right PMP/4GP hybrid network is threatened by a shrinking white Christian population. To oversimplify, this means that the Religious Right needs to grow in absolute terms among non-whites at least as fast as its white component is shrinking?
Can they pull it off?
My money is on the 4th Generation Crusaders.