Demographics is NOT destiny

Paging Ronald Brownstein.

All of us who benefit from the current status quo have a moral obligation to change the status quo and make it fair to those of who do NOT benefit from it. Demographic change is not going to do it; we have to work. Calls for social justice go back to at least the ancient prophets. And, no, that does not mean unfairly advantaging Black folks; it means deconstructing the unfair systems set up in the past which continue to operate by inertia.

«Take away the noise of your songs;
        I won’t listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
        and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.»

— Amos 5:24


Another thing I’m mulling as I’m still digesting the results from last night: Democrats really can’t count on the country’s increasingly diverse electorate to automatically benefit them politically, particularly among Latino voters. Of course, we’ll do more digging into the demographic breakdowns of the race once we actually know who has won! Trump’s performance with Latinos wasn’t shocking. As Nathaniel and I wrote recently, Latinos’ ideology isn’t uniform and many voters whose families have been in the country for longer or have higher levels of education or income (or both) tend to be more conservative. This was not a group that was obviously turned off by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric leading into the campaign — and there were plenty of signs that his message was resonating among Cuban Americans in Florida in particular. I expect this is a theme we’ll be exploring further in the aftermath of the election, whenever that is!


Amelia, you couldn’t be more right to ponder this. This could present a counterargument to the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis, which argued that the direction of the country’s demographic growth would disproportionately help Democrats. One of the more fascinating examples of this is Starr County, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border, where 96 percent of the population is of Hispanic or Latino origin. In 2016, Clinton won Starr by about 60 points. But Biden only carried it by 5 points, a massive shift.»

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