GOP strategists have revealed that the Romney campaign is attempting to garner 61% of the white vote. Admitting the future realities of America’s racial demographic, one strategist said of the strategy, “This is the last time anyone will try to do this.” Obama, on the other hand, is aiming for 80% of the minority vote, according to The National Journal.
One shouldn’t be so surprised about Romney’s Great White Hunt. Sure, Romney enjoys some minority support with his GOP policy, but Romney’s white bread version of capitalism is very attractive to, well, white people. Especially to those business owners who, through very effective propaganda, believe their success is constantly under assault by the Democrats, and the boogeyman Barack Obama, who’d like to steal all their hard-earned cash and give it to deadbeat welfare queens and Medicare/Medicaid vampires.
What Americans following the election should be interested in here are two things: 1) What it would mean to get 61% of the white vote, and 2) what the future holds for the GOP, and how a number of policies are being argued to counteract reality.
To address the first, briefly, if Romney manages to get 61% of the white vote, he will have equaled or surpassed GOP presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In 2008, John McCain garnered 55% of the white vote. If Romney succeeds in the 2008 white voter turnout, what will this mean? Well, either that the GOP will have been quite good at driving voter turnout at the grassroots level, or that white voters are really pissed off and grassroots efforts are irrelevant.
With the voter turnout remaining relatively static over the last few decades—somewhere between 50 and 55%, though 2004 and 2008 were exceptions—get-out-the vote drives don’t really seem too effective. Instead, voters from either party seem to be more motivated to stop a candidate or end a party’s control, as we saw in 2004 and 2008, respectively. And this, too, will likely be the conservative white voters’ motivation in 2012: stop Obama at all costs.
Now to the future of elections in America.
With minority populations only set to increase exponentially in the next few decades, the GOP is presented with a problem. The Hispanic population is set to rise to 29% of the US population in 2050. African-American population growth is expected to level off, while the Asian population will grow from 5% to 9% over the same period, according to the Pew Research Center. Those should be troubling statistics for the GOP.
Is it any wonder then that the GOP is so anti-immigration (the wall, deportation, zero amnesty, etc.), or is hell-bent on pursuing voter ID laws, stopping election day registration, and ending early voting, which many believe will discourage the minority vote? This isn’t pure coincidence. By the same token, one could argue that the Democrats are pro-immigration and anti-voter ID laws for the inverse reason: it will inflate their voter base. Despite this courting of the minority vote, the Democratic philosophy here is the better one—there is no reason to demonize immigrants, and voter IDs really aren’t necessary because the degree of voter fraud is so marginal as to be insignificant. Attacking immigrants and crafting voter ID laws will only drive the majority of minority voters into the welcoming arms of the Democratic party.
If the GOP wants to play the voter ID game, then obtaining IDs must be made simple and cheap, and should be passed in a non-presidential election year, like 2013. Until then, Romney’s Great White Hunt is the GOP’s best strategy, because minorities sure as hell aren’t buying into his brand of elitist, white male capitalism.
[Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman]