Detailing The Demographic Evolution Of The American Electorate
It is no secret that the demography of the American electorate is changing. As it turns out, these trends will continue to matter. An incredibly detailed new report, “America’s Electoral Future,” released today by the Center for American Progress, in collaboration with the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, goes in depth to explain exactly what could happen to the American political landscape and makes the case that demographic shifts will play a critical role in future presidential elections from 2016-2032.
So what exactly is happening to the makeup of the American electorate? According to the report, two key things: first, the younger part of the electorate is becoming more racially diverse; and second, the older part of the voting population is growing more rapidly given the aging of the Baby boom generation. To see the different ways demographic shifts could shape the political landscape, check out this interactive election oracle.
The authors emphasize that while demography is a key factor in shaping America’s future, it must be considered in relationship with other factors such as voter preference, current issues, and candidate selection. The report does not intend to predict electoral outcomes, but it does paint an insightful picture of what lays ahead for both parties in coming elections. The study runs six simulations to show how shifts in race, age, and generation—both on the state and national levels—could affect election outcomes in presidential races until 2032.
Both Republicans and Democrats face considerable challenges in adjusting to the foreseeable changes in the makeup of the American voting bloc. While Democrats may continue to benefit from changing demographics, they face an uphill battle among aging white voters, especially in slow-growing Midwestern and Rust Belt swing states.
By contrast, Republicans face a clear vulnerability amongst the nation’s growing minority populations, especially with Hispanic and Asian populations. States traditionally considered Republican strongholds, such Georgia and Texas, will see considerable increases in the percentage of eligible voters of color in 2016. And on the other end of the spectrum, the number of states where whites exceed 80 percent of eligible voters should be reduced from 23 states in 2016 to just 11 states in 2032. As a majority of the report’s scenarios show, even under assumptions of increased support amongst white voters, the GOP will need to shift its focus towards appealing to diverse voters.
BOTTOM LINE: Demographics are not destiny, but they will have a significant impact on the American political landscape. This new report presents a vision of a transforming America that when translated into political terms has serious implications for candidates who fail to see eye to eye with a changing electorate. In coming years, both parties will have to adapt to compete for support from an increasingly diverse pool of voters.