December 6, 2023

Our Ticking Ethnic Time Bomb

If Republicans want a future, they are going to have to pick up more support among non-white Americans.

The new projections for the U.S. population from the U.S. Census Bureau show dramatic ongoing changes in the ethnic makeup of the nation.

In 2022, the percentage of the U.S., per the report, that was non-Hispanic white was 59%. In 1980, the U.S. population was 80% white.

The report projects the percentage of the nation that is white continuing to shrink, dropping to 45% by 2060, 37 years from now.

Aside from concluding that, over time, the American population will be increasingly culturally diverse and colorful, there are profound political implications to this ongoing ethnic shift.

The Republican vote is disproportionately white. The Democratic vote is disproportionately not white. An ongoing shift of the population toward non-white demographics means that, assuming no change in voting behavior of these various groups, electing Republicans will become harder and harder.

Consider that in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected president, 88% of voters were white. Reagan captured 56% of the white vote, and Jimmy Carter got 36% (there was a third party candidate in that election, John Anderson, who got 8%).

In the last presidential election in 2020, 67% of voters were white.

Donald Trump captured 58% of the white vote, and President Joe Biden 41%. Biden won majorities in all other ethnic categories: Black, Hispanic, Asian, other.

If the electorate in 2020 was 88% white, as it was in 1980 when Reagan was elected, it is most reasonable to assume that Trump would now be serving his second term.

It is also reasonable to assume that the ongoing shrinking of the white vote was one relevant factor in Trump’s loss in 2020. When he won in 2016, flipping five battleground states by razor-thin margins, the white vote nationally totaled 70%. This dropped 3 percentage points in 2020 to 67%.

It’s clear that if Republicans, and those who care about the Republican agenda, want a future, they are going to have to pick up more support among non-white Americans. Is this possible?

One core factor separating Democrats and Republicans is belief in government.

In a recent Gallup poll, 64% of Democrats, compared to 20% of Republicans, expressed “a great deal or a fair amount of trust” in the federal government to solve domestic problems.

We may conclude that non-white Americans, compared to white Americans, choose more rather than less government to solve their problems.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation recently compiled comparative household median income data for the nation.

In 2022, median national household income was $74,580.

Median white household income was $81,060. Median Hispanic household income was $62,800. Median Black household income was $52,860. Lagging income is clearly a major problem in America’s communities of color.

Hoover Institution economist John Cochrane calls “sclerotic growth … America’s overriding economic problem” and points out that it’s economic growth that drives income.

The U.S. economy grew at an average rate of 3.5% annually from 1950 to 2000, per Cochrane. If it grew over those 50 years at 2% per year, around where it has been for the last 15 years, income would have been 54% lower.

What causes “sclerotic growth”? Too much government.

We need major reeducation in the nation’s communities of color that big government is not their friend.

The federal government is now sucking up 25% of the U.S. economy. The Congressional Budget Office now projects average growth over the next 30 years at 1.6% per year.

Not a pretty picture, and lower-income Americans will suffer the most.

The title of one of my books is “Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It.”

The Civil Rights Movement was a fight for freedom. Unfortunately, too many Black Americans have used their freedom to choose the government plantation.

Now this is a challenge not just for Blacks but for the whole nation.


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