Trouble ahead for Republicans as America looks more like the world, less like 18th century Europe

by John MacBeath Watkins

A Pew poll has confirmed what we talked about in this post: The relationship between the binding element of the Republican coalition and race.

Which may help explain why the average Republican is getting older, and demographics are working, over time, in favor of Democrats. Consider this chart from the Pew poll:

As Ronald Brownstein notes:

"On the day after Barack Obama's sweeping victory in 2008, veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg described the modern Democratic coalition as diverse America and the whites who are comfortable with diverse America"
"Among the whites who find the increasing number of newcomers troubling, Obama's approval rating in the new Pew survey stood at just 21 percent with 70 percent disapproving. The president runs much more strongly among whites comfortable with the changes: 45 percent of them approved, while 47 percent disapproved."
And guess what? The people uncomfortable with the changes occurring in this country tend to be older, white, and Republican.

If you're part of the Republican coalition, you have to realize that for a while, you can win at the polls by turning out the people who feel as you do, but eventually, they will be outnumbered, as people adapt to what America is becoming.

And what is America becoming? It's looking more and more like the world, and less and less like 18th century Europe.

Some Republicans have responded to the changes by reaching out to groups that are increasing in size, such as George W. Bush and Rick Perry reaching out to Hispanics. In states where Hispanics are a big voting bloc already, that makes a lot of sense. In states where ethnic panic is still a bigger factor, it's a non-starter, which is why Perry's Texas version of the Dream Act offended so much of the Republican base.

At some point, Republicans will have to adapt to the reality that whites will not much longer be a majority in this country, and they will do so. But there's going to be a painful transition in the meantime, with division and culture wars afflicting our politics.

Republicans have seen what happens when they don't adapt. Robert "B-1 Bob" Dornan, one of the most conservative members of the House, lost his seat to a Hispanic woman, Loretta Sanchez, because Orange County, Calif., legendary for its conservatism, had gained enough Hispanic voters to oust him. Dornan anticipated some of the current Republican memes, claiming that illegal immigrants had voted in the election and caused him to lose it. He ran against her twice, once winning with the help of signs proclaiming that Hispanic voters should be ready to prove their citizenship at the polls. Personally, until my passport is renewed, I won't be able to prove my own citizenship, so you can see the problem.

People like Bob Dornan could get elected with the help of ethnic panic until some point was passed where the Hispanic community and others comfortable with them became a majority. We're likely to see this played out on the larger stage as what occurred in Orange County happens to the country as a whole.