America's Political Shift: The Opposite of the Narrative

On the Precipice of a “Majority-Minority” America: Perceived Status Threat From the Racial Demographic Shift Affects White Americans’ Political Ideology
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that racial minority groups will make up a majority of the U.S. national population in 2042, effectively creating a so-called majority-minority nation. In four experiments, we explored how salience of such racial demographic shifts affects White Americans’ political-party leanings and expressed political ideology. Study 1 revealed that making California’s majority-minority shift salient led politically unaffiliated White Americans to lean more toward the Republican Party and express greater political conservatism. Studies 2, 3a, and 3b revealed that making the changing national racial demographics salient led White Americans (regardless of political affiliation) to endorse conservative policy positions more strongly. Moreover, the results implicate group-status threat as the mechanism underlying these effects. Taken together, this work suggests that the increasing diversity of the nation may engender a widening partisan divide.

This is the exact opposite of "the narrative," the story that the media fits news events into. The narrative says the GOP needs to become more like the Democrats and attract minority voters, shift its politics to the left if it hopes to win in the future. Reality says the opposite; white voters see the Republican party as the white party, and since the Republican party is conservative, they express greater conservatism. Given that those changes will increase and become more apparent in the future, the Republican party is going to become more conservative, not less, and that will help them win elections.

Even this story fits into the narrative though. What is happening is not so much a "perceived status threat" as the victory of identity politics. In fact, I'd argue that whites would not be increasingly conservative if whites were allowed organize politically and socially, the same way Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans organize. More on this at the end.

America's New Demographics

Whereas in the 1960s, America was 85% and 10% black; in 2050 America will be 47% white, 30% Hispanic, 13% black and 9% Asian. The main dividing line in American politics is increasingly race and ethnicity, with religion also playing an important role. In California, the latest battle was between Hispanics and Asians. Friction lingers among Asian-Americans over affirmative action debate.

Since the Democratic party aimed to win the growing populations of minority voters, this leaves the Republican party as the white party.

How Democrats Can Compete for the White Working Class
For Democrats, one of the more worrisome findings that Democracy Corps turned up is that these voters are far more suspicious of government than the general public. This is in contrast to Democrats generally, who are by most measures far more pro-government than the rest of the electorate, according to American National Election Studies,

Democracy Corps found that less well-educated whites agree, by a huge 46.2 percentage point margin, with the statement “When something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.” This is 11.6 points more than all voters.

Similarly, the general public agrees that “It is the responsibility of the government to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves” by a 19.5 percentage point margin, while whites who did not go to college agree by half that.

Asked to choose between two statements — “I’m more concerned we will go too far in cutting spending and will cut off programs that middle- and working-class people rely on” or “I’m more concerned we won’t go far enough in cutting spending and our deficits will continue to grow” — all voters came down firmly on the side of worrying about cutting too much, 58-42. The white, noncollege voter was evenly split.
Toss in the demographic numbers and it is not hard to see what is happening. White voters are beginning to see themselves as a group, the same way African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics see themselves as groups with group interests.

The above author is optimistic though:
The declining commitment of white noncollege voters outside the South to conservative values has been masked, politically and culturally, by the continued ferocity of sociocultural and racial conservatism among working class whites in the South. But insofar as the second demographic transition is taking hold among these voters in the North, the Midwest and the West, Democratic prospects may well be better than national polling data suggests.

This article disagrees:
Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men
Now, as chairman of the Democratic Party in Oakland County, Michigan’s second largest, Mr. Houston is finding out how difficult it can be to persuade other white men here to support Democrats, even among the 20 or so, mostly construction workers, who join him in a rotating poker game.

...... Even in places like Michigan, where it has been decades since union membership lists readily predicted Democratic votes, many in the party pay so little attention to white working-class men that it suggests they have effectively given up on converting them.
And now it may be too late.
Some white men have proved to be within reach: single men, college students and graduates with advanced degrees, the nonreligious, and gay men. But working-class married men remain hardest to win over and, unless they are in unions, get the least attention — to the dismay of some partisans.
The unions were explicitly racialist in their policies throughout U.S. history. If race does become the dividing line, unions will also break apart.

The problem for Democrats is that as whites increasingly join the rest of the country practicing identity politics, they are increasingly becoming non-white.

This article from a right-wing site notes how Democrats fielded many white candidates for the 2014 election. The Democrats’ 2014 Whitewash. The real story buried within is how the primaries played out. In Texas, the Hispanic districts voted for the Hispanic candidate; the white districts for the white candidate. However, the Hispanic candidate had no campaign, just an Hispanic surname. This is similar to the 2010 primary victory of Alvin Greene in South Carolina, who won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate despite having no campaign.

Although the left is considered pro-diversity, America's most left-wing cities are also its whitest cities, places like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis.

Among the media, academia and within planning circles, there’s a generally standing answer to the question of what cities are the best, the most progressive and best role models for small and mid-sized cities. The standard list includes Portland, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, and Denver. In particular, Portland is held up as a paradigm, with its urban growth boundary, extensive transit system, excellent cycling culture, and a pro-density policy. These cities are frequently contrasted with those of the Rust Belt and South, which are found wanting, often even by locals, as “cool” urban places.

But look closely at these exemplars and a curious fact emerges. If you take away the dominant Tier One cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles you will find that the “progressive” cities aren’t red or blue, but another color entirely: white.

In fact, not one of these “progressive” cities even reaches the national average for African American percentage population in its core county. Perhaps not progressiveness but whiteness is the defining characteristic of the group.
Don't look at what people say, look at what they do. Some whites are becoming increasingly conservative in response to changing demographics. Other whites are becoming increasingly liberal and moving to segregated cities that the liberal dominated media hail as the great cities of America.

From last week on Bloomberg: Why Are Liberal Cities Bad for Blacks?

The mainstream of American political discourse is confused because it cannot deal objectively with the changing face of America. It cannot deal with the fact that ideology is taking a backseat to identity or the fact that it appears the future is a fractured and segregated one. In part this is because "the narrative" tells a very different story than reality. As the shift unfolds in reality, American politics becomes more bizarre as the elite in politics and media try to hold power by turning up the volume on ideology. This extends all the way into foreign policy, where the bizarre antagonism of Putin is the top strategy at the moment due what is dubbed World War G.
Putin’s moves were not isolated events. They fit into a pattern of behavior over the past couple of years that deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West: laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as “foreign agents,” expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions.
The U.S. sought to strike a blow against Russia in Ukraine, a counter strike to Russia's success against Western cultural incursions. Instead of winning Ukraine, Putin upped the stakes by directly confronting the West and expanded Russian territory. (Not to mention the own goal by the Americans, whose actions elevated the far-right in Ukraine.)

Putinism and the Anti-WEIRD Coalition
I’ll elaborate what Putinism actually is, but before I do, it’s important to understand why President Obama and countless other Westerners cannot see what is right before them. Putin and the Kremlin actively parrot their propaganda, they are doing anything but hide it, yet we still cannot make it out.

This is simply because we are WEIRD. That’s social science shorthand for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic – and nobody is WEIRDer than Americans. In the last several decades many Americans, and essentially all our elites, have internalized a worldview based on affluence, individualism, and secularism that makes us unique, globally speaking. So much so that we seem unable to comprehend that there actually are opposing viewpoints out there.

Barack Obama, by virtue of his diverse ethnic and religious background and elite education, is almost an ideal stand-in for the WEIRD demographic, as he embodies so many things WEIRDos admire: education, affluence, diversity, progressive social views, etc. He comes close to being almost the perfect post-modern American, which perhaps is why so many Americans of that bent adore him deeply. Thus when President Obama says he detects no ideological rivalry with Putin’s Russia, he undoubtedly speaks the truth as he sees it.
This is also happening within America due to the demographic shift. The elite have their worldview, but increasingly the world and even the United States itself do not resemble it.

1 comment:

  1. It is difficult to say what is left, right, liberal and conservative in the USA. I think it is most accurate to just fit the majority of Americans into varying degrees of socialist, with the outsiders being libertarians. The "right" or "conservative" of America is just a socialist, not much unlike the Democrat / left / "liberal" counterpart. Each group has picked their specific sacred cows but the key is that all want to involve government dictate and centralized control with what they do.

    The NY liberal is far too similar to the southern conservative once you get down to the core philosophy of their politics.

    But the politics and nature of the governmental system of the USA is very divisive and its destroyed the family / culture of the country. Very sad to see the (predictable) end results of a bad governmental system.

    - Luke