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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tomasky: White Voters Likely to Bail Out of GOP

At The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky comments on the “new consensus among most Republicans and conservatives” that they need not fear the rapidly growing Latino vote because they’ll have even more white voters in the bag. As Tomasky explains:

…There’s an assumption embedded in the argument that no one disputes: namely, that whites will always be as conservative as they are now and will always vote Republican in the same numbers they do now. This assumption is wrong. White people–yep, even working-class white people–are going to get less conservative in coming years, so the Republicans’ hopes of building a white-nationalist party will likely be dashed in the future even by white people themselves.

Tomasky notes that Republicans are counting on the “less-educated white vote,” and notes of a Brookings Institution/Public Religion Research Institute poll on immigration attitudes:

…It’s the first poll I’ve seen that breaks the white working class into four distinct age groups (65-plus, 50 to 64, 30 to 49, 18 to 29) and asks respondents attitudes about a broad range of social issues. And guess what? White working-class millennials are fairly liberal!…Click on the above link, scroll down to page 44, and look at the charts. On most questions, white working-class respondents in all three other age groups yielded results that were pretty similar to one another’s, but the youngest cohort was well to their left.
White working-class young people back gay marriage to the tune of about 74 percent. Another 60 percent say immigrants strengthen the United States (the totals for all three other age groups are below 40 percent). About 56 percent agree that changes immigrants have brought to their communities are a good thing. Nearly 40 percent agree that gays and lesbians are changing America for the better (more than double the percentages in the other three age groups).

Tomasky adds that “only 22 percent of white working-class millennials are evangelical, compared with 32 percent as a whole and 42 percent of seniors. And an amazing 38 percent of the group call themselves religiously unaffiliated.” Further,

All in all, not your father’s white working class. Sure, their views will become a bit more conservative as they age and have kids and own property. More will start attending church, undoubtedly. But the striking differences between their views and those of the three older groups are consistent, they are uniform, and they are pretty vast. (The poll did not ask about their attitudes toward African-Americans, about which I’m curious; I would expect less though still meaningful departure from the older cohorts.)
…These young people grew up in the America of Will and Grace and the relentlessly multi-culti Sesame Street just as surely as children in Berkeley and Takoma Park did. They won’t vote like their counterparts who grew up in Berkeley and Takoma Park, but they–and certainly their kids–just aren’t going to be carrying around a lot of the racial resentments that their grandparents shoulder every day.

By the time the 2020s roll around, concludes Tomasky, “Finally, the Republican Party will be the party of true equality, having equally alienated every racial and ethnic group in America.” And if Dems smartly court these young white voters, that day could come even sooner.

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