Apr 7, 2010

The Changing Demographics and the Backpedaling of the US Conservatives

I read just recently that for the first time ever we're about to have more non-white babies born in the US. It can happen this year, or the next few, but the fact is that the demographics of this country have changed and will change more.  Is this politically significant?

There's lots of speculation about the prospects of the Democrats in the upcoming election in November. Some Repubs are salivating, believing that they could capture the House, at least. They point to the MA special Senate election where a Repub (Scott Brown) took over Kennedy's seat.  There may be a big Repub gain but I'm willing to say it now, way in advance. Assuming there's no new war or terrorist attack, the election will hinge on the state of the economy. 

The conservatives and their loud mouthpieces are creating a lot of noise by being against president Obama and Congressional Dems. They have no new ideas besides worn rhetoric about "freedom" ,"states' rights", security, etc. And, they want to repeal what the Dems have passed through Congress since 2009. A recession or a bad economy with high unemployment isn't good for any incumbent. There will be loses for the Dems, but they may not be catastrophic.

The conservative base is much more excited right now. The doom and gloom--including rhetoric that can lead to violence--can serve them politically in the short term. It's not a good long-term strategy.  

What is the Impact of Political Campaigns?

Campaigns do the following. Energize the party loyalists, bring home the voters that have supported the party before, discourage the opposition from voting, and, most importantly, make connections between the voters' preconceived notions and the candidate or the party.  

Here's a fact: Most people don't change their minds during a campaign. They may look for reasons to vote in a particular way, but being educated about the issues and then rationally deciding what to vote for is a myth we like to tell about our citizenry. A masterful campaign is to make connections between voters' preferences and the candidate. 

Here's another interesting fact: There is more partisanship in the US that we're being told. Even the majority of "independents" have strong leanings. They may occasionally vote for the other party but they tend to identify more with one that they frequently vote for. Some of the INDs are true swingers and often decide elections. They are low-information voters and can be undecided right up to the election if they're exposed to a balanced bombardment from the two sides!

INDs and Swingers have another trait: they tend to prefer a strong leader who may be wrong to a weak leader who may be right!  This is why many of us have been extremely critical of Obama for wasting a whole year trying to be a ..community organizer from the White House.

The Future Has Begun

Ah, I almost forgot about the demographics.  Can you identify any main plank in the Republican platform and core policy proposals that has a long-term future with the changing demographics? Also, if other advanced democracies provide some kind of an example, can you identify those US conservative stances that will be adopted by the majority of Americans in the near (or distant future)?  Things like outlawing of abortion, more theocracy, no regulation of the marketplace, no social safety net, military might over diplomacy, environmental issues, climate change, immigration, rejection of science and the scientific method? Just wonderin'