To listen to pundits like Rush Limbaugh, one would think that the Republicans had died and gone to heaven. Getting a strong majority in the House and picking up several seats in the Senate certainly sends a message. But they shouldn’t get too comfortable.
The Republicans had their big day because Whites were a larger percentage of the electorate than in 2008 and because they were more inclined to vote for Republicans. Comparing the CNN exit polls for House races in 2008 and 2010 is revealing. In 2008, Whites were 74% of the electorate and voted 53% Republican, 45% Democrat. In 2010, Whites were 78% of the electorate and voted 60% Republican and 37% Democrat. (The White category includes a substantial percentage of Jews and Middle Easterners who do not identify as White and tend overwhelmingly to vote Democrat.)
Almost all the difference in participation was because Blacks comprised only 10% of the electorate in 2010 while in 2008 they were 13%. Latinos and Asians comprised about the same percentage of the electorate in 2008 and 2010. Again, overwhelming majorities of all non-White groups voted Democrat: Black (2008: 93%; 2010: 90%); Latino (2008: 68%; 2010: 64%).
California is the exception that proves the rule. California voted in Democrats for Governor and Senate by large margins, but in both cases a majority of Whites voted Republican. Out here on the left coast, Whites comprise only 62% of the electorate and, although they favored Republicans, they didn’t do so by enough to offset the very large minority vote for Democrats. In fact the CNN data imply that Carly Fiorina would have had to get 65% of the White vote in order to win. Doable, but not in a state like California where the White voters are to the left of Whites in other states—Nancy Pelosi and all that.
So the election is yet another indication of the racialization of American politics. The Republicans can’t afford to get too comfortable as the White share of the electorate continues to catch up to California—probably declining to around 70% in 2012 (~65% when corrected for people classified as White but of non-European descent). In 2012 Blacks will once again be out in full force to try to reelect one of their own and they will be joined by an ever-increasing population of non-Whites which the Republicans are doing nothing to stop. I certainly would not bet the house on an Obama defeat in 2012, especially if the Republicans pick an inept candidate. (Sarah Palin comes to mind.)
And it’s unlikely Republicans can get a much higher percentage of Whites to vote for them. Many Whites are so immersed in the leftist counterculture that there is no hope that they would ever abandon the Democrats. A great many other educated Whites are part of the hopelessly liberal educational establishment or they are government workers. Many benefit from the leftist entitlement zeitgeist themselves. And many, especially the young, have become multicultural zombies, having grown up with MTV and intellectually seduced by their college professors. These people may well become Republicans when they get a family and start looking for a mainly white suburb where they feel comfortable with the schools, but by then they’ll be part of a permanent electoral minority.
Yet the only idea the Republican establishment can come up with is to try to get non-Whites to vote for them.
State Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring said the election results confirmed that party leaders and candidates needed to build stronger relationships with non-whites, and not just before an election.
“The reality is that Democrats have strong relationships with urban and immigration communities that Republicans have not had, and that must change,” he said. “It is not only a matter of politics; it is a matter of mathematics.”
But Nehring stressed that he was not advocating a change in Republican policy. “Republicans have stressed for decades that we support legal immigration and oppose illegal immigration,” he said. “Despite saying that, that message has not resonated. It is not only a matter of how we talk about this issue, but how other people hear us.” (See here.)
Accepting legal immigration is just a slower form of death than accepting illegal immigration. The reality is that the Democratic Party has become the power center of the non-White coalition. The fact that Asians are voting overwhelmingly Democrat is a good sign that identity politics, not economics is the name of the game. The CNN poll shows that Whites of all social classes voted Republican in the House races, and non-Whites of all social classes voted Democrat by even larger margins.
The Republicans have become the party of implicit Whiteness.
So despite soothing words from Jonah Goldberg that demography isn’t destiny (designed, I suppose, to advance the neocon agenda of getting Republicans’ minds off immigration), identity politics is alive and well. White anger has fueled the Republican resurgence but hasn’t made any fundamental changes that would ward off their inevitable minority status.
Because the Republicans are what they are, their mid-term surge will not result in meaningful change that could possibly save them in the long run or assuage the anger of the White people who elected them in the short run. The anger will continue to build because the Republicans are doing nothing to attempt to preserve a White America.
I predict that Whites are going to become increasingly frustrated with their options. A key event could be the election of 2012 if Obama is reelected even though 65–70% of Whites vote against him. Whites are then going to have to say to themselves that this Republican/Democrat thing is not working at all. Perhaps then an explicitly pro-White political movement such as the A3P could begin to make serious progress.
Or perhaps without explicitly saying so, the Republicans will understand that they have to actively attempt to preserve a White America by ending legal and illegal immigration. One can only imagine what a furor that would cause. Certainly they could not avoid charges of racism by citing the dismal economy as an excuse to stop all immigration. For the multicultural left, the imperative for demographic transformation trumps all other considerations.
Either way, we live in interesting times.