Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Consider this: Barack Obama lost the White vote in 2008 (43% to 55%) and he lost it again in 2012 by an even wider margin (39% to 59%). That's right, America's first Black President was neither elected or re-elected by the majority of Whites in America.
Let's talk sheer numbers. 129,446,841 people voted in 2008 (source), and 126,849,296 voted in 2012 (source). In 2008, Whites comprised 74% of the electorate, which comes out to roughly 95 million voters. In 2012, Whites comprised 72% of the electorate, which comes out to roughly 91 million voters. In short, White voters, while still the vast majority of the electorate, are on the decline.
Meanwhile, in 2008 Blacks, Latinos and Asians comprised 13%, 9%, and 2%, respectively, which comes out to roughly 16.8 million Black voters, 11.6 million Latino voters, and 2.6 million Asian voters. In 2012, Blacks, Latinos and Asians comprised 13%, 10%, and 3%, respectively, which comes out to 16.5 million Black voters, 12.7 million Latino voters, and 3.8 million Asian voters. Although the number of Black voters effectively held constant, Latinos and Asians increased, bringing the total number of minority voters up from approximately 31 million people in 2008 to about 33 million in 2012.
And how are minorities voting?
Of the 16.8 million Blacks who voted in 2008, 15.9 million (95%) voted Democratic and just under 700,000 (4%) voted Republican. Of the 16.5 million Blacks who voted in 2012, 15.3 million (93%) voted Democratic and just under 1 million (6%) voted Republican.
Of the 11.6 million Latinos who voted in 2008, 7.7 million (67%) voted Democratic and 3.6 million (31%) voted Republican. Of the 12.7 million Latinos who voted in 2012, 9 million (71%) voted Democratic and 3.4 million (27%) voted Republican.
Of the 2.6 million Asians who voted in 2008, 1.6 million (62%) voted Democratic and just under 1 million (35%) voted Republican. Of the 3.8 million Asians who voted in 2012, 2.7 million (73%) voted Democratic and just under 1 million (26%) voted Republican.
So not only are Latinos and Asians growing in numbers, they're also trending more Democratic. The Republican party knows this and has been trying to make inroads with minorities, especially Latino voters. Then along comes Trump with this repeated attacks on Latinos, and calls for a nation-wide ban on Muslims. Islam, by the way, is a fairly popular religion in Asia.
In theory, Trump's "strategy" is possible. There are, after all, about 90 million White voters out there. When you add up all of the minority voters who voted Democratic in the 2012 election, that number comes up to about 27 million. If the minority vote holds steady at its 2012 levels, then Trump would need to drive the percentage of White voters who vote Republican up to about 63%. It's possible, but not likely. That would mean no more than 37% of White voters could vote Democratic.
And all of this is not even taking into account the impact these demographics have on the swing states in the electoral college map and the path to 270 which already favors a generic Democratic candidate over a general Republican candidate. The GOP is right to try to distance themselves from Trump now, but honestly that should have been happening many months ago before he got the nomination. Anything can happen in a General Election, so we can't know with any certainty how voters will turn out this November. But given these factors, it is difficult to see how Trump is helping himself or his party by alienating the minority vote.