NEW YORK – Are centrist Republican senators supporting passage of comprehensive immigration-reform legislation playing the role of unwitting dupes in a Democratic Party plan to control the White House with a tidal wave of Hispanic immigration?
The question is being asked increasingly by conservative Republicans as S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, backed by Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Marco Rubio, gets ready to follow the debt-ceiling debate to the floor of Congress.
Democratic strategists believe the bill will add more than enough Hispanic immigrants to U.S. voters rolls to give the Democratic Party the electoral majority needed to win the White House the next two decades, starting with 2016 and continuing for the next five scheduled presidential elections.
The Washington-based Center for Immigration, CIS, released Thursday a study that should trouble knowledgeable Republican Party presidential hopefuls.
Based on projections published by the Congressional Budget Office, the CIS study estimates that should S. 744 become law, more than 17 million new potential voting-age citizens would be added to U.S. voting rolls by 2036, in addition to the nearly 15 million that current levels of legal immigration will add by 2036.
“Current immigration policy is adding millions of new voters each decade,” pointed out Steven Camarota, the CIS director of research. “The Gang of Eight bill will add millions more. This is one of the most important consequences of immigration. Will it result in voters who need or want more government services? Or, will it reshape American foreign policy? There has been almost no discussion of the impact on the electorate.”
But the trend has not escaped John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, the authors of the 2002 book “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” They join a growing group of demographers and political scientists who continue to advise Democratic Party politicians that a growing Hispanic population marks the dawning of a new progressive era, assuring the Democratic Party control over presidential elections for the foreseeable future. It would replicate if not surpass the hold the Democratic Party had on the White House in the last century, beginning with FDR’s victory in the 1932 presidential election.
Obama’s hold on Hispanic voters
Hispanics voted for Obama over Romney by 71 percent to 27 percent, according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center.
It represented a gain in Hispanic supporters for Obama since 2008, when Hispanics voted 67 percent for him, compared to 31 percent for McCain.
George W. Bush registered the strongest Republican share of the Hispanic vote since 1980 when in 2004, he drew 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, versus 58 percent for John Kerry.
Clearly, the support George W. Bush showed for U.S. relations with Mexico and the support he and McCain gave to passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation during Bush’s second term cut into the historic affinity Hispanics have had for the Democratic Party.
The Pew Research data also supported the contention that Obama’s national vote share among Hispanic voters was the highest seen by a Democratic candidate since 1996, when President Bill Clinton won 72 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Moreover, the Hispanic vote represented 10 percent of the electorate in 2012, up from 9 percent in 2008 and 8 percent in 2004.
The data also showed Hispanic support for Obama was key to victory in several swing states:
- In Florida, Obama carried the Hispanic vote 60 percent to 39 percent, an improvement over 2008, when Obama won 57 percent of the Hispanic vote, compared to 42 percent for McCain;
- In Colorado, Obama carried the Hispanic vote by a wide margin, 75 percent to 23 percent, again bettering his performance in 2008, when Obama won the Hispanic vote in Colorado by 61 percent to 38 percent;
- In Nevada, Obama won the Hispanic vote 70 percent to 25 percent, doing less well than in 2008, when Obama won the Hispanic vote by a 76 percent share.
In 2012, Hispanics made up 17 percent of the vote in Florida, 14 percent in Colorado and 18 percent in Nevada. Obama also won 68 percent of the Hispanic vote in North Carolina, 65 percent in Wisconsin, 64 percent in Virginia and 53 percent in Ohio.
Combining African-Americans at approximately 13 percent of the electorate in 2012 and Hispanics at 10 percent of the electorate, Obama had a solid advantage on 23 percent of the electorate, virtually 1 of every 4 voters.
So, in the 2012 presidential election, with roughly 110 million votes likely to be cast, Obama ended up gaining from African-American voters 95 percent of the 14.3 million votes they cast, for a total of 13,585,000 votes.
From Hispanics, Obama ended up gaining 71 percent of the 11 million votes cast, for a total of 7,810,000. In 2012, Obama gained approximately 62 million votes, meaning that approximately 40 percent of the votes he needed for victory came from a combination of African-American and Hispanic voters alone.
Put another way, Mitt Romney could well have begun the presidential election campaign against Obama calculating he would get very little support from one quarter of the electorate, almost regardless of his campaign message.
The emerging Democratic majority
In their 2002 book “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” journalist Judis and sociologist Teixeira predicted a fundamental realignment of the voters to produce a new emerging Democratic majority that they say based on progressive values and a post-industrial view of America.
The Democratic majority would bring together the following demographic groups: white working class and middle class Democrats; minorities, including blacks, Hispanics and Asian-American voters; women voters, especially single, working and highly educated women; and professionals, including highly educated tech specialists.
“These are products of a new postindustrial capitalism, rooted in diversity and social equality, and emphasizing the production of ideas and services rather than goods,” Judis and Teixeira wrote. “And while some of these voters are drawn to the Democratic Party by its New Deal past, many others resonate strongly to the new causes the Democrats adopted during the sixties.”
The new causes included lifestyle issues such as support for abortion, acceptance of same sex marriage and “a new postindustrial metropolitan order in which men and women play equal roles and in which white America is supplanted by multiracial, multiethnic America.”
On page 70 of their book, the authors produced an electoral map of the United States in which the configuration of the states looks remarkably like the battleground between Obama and McCain in 2008 and between Obama and Romney in 2012.
Supporting the contention that a new Democratic majority is emerging, Obama won both elections by margins sufficiently large that the GOP did not contest the elections on issues of voter fraud.
The disappearing white voter
The demographic reality is that the white population of America will be a minority population within the next 30 years.
- The white portion of the population is expected to peak in 2024, at 199.6 million, with the non-Hispanic white population projected to fall by nearly 20.6 million from 2024 to 2060.
- Meanwhile, the Hispanic population is expected to more than double, from 53.3 million in 2012 to 128.8 million in 2060.
- The black population is expected to increase from 41.2 million in 2012 to 61.8 million by 2060, growing from 13.1 percent of the population in 2012, to 14.7 percent in 2060.
- The Asian population is expected to double from 15.9 million in 2012 to 34.4 million in 2060, moving from 5.1 percent of the population to 8.2 percent of the population in that period.
- The total minority population, comprising approximately 37 percent today, is projected to increase to 57 percent in 2060.
White Americans are expected to be a minority for the first time in 2042. While the non-Hispanic white population will remain the nation’s largest group, no group will make up a majority.
In the immediate future, increased Hispanic immigration into the Southwest is likely to make the Western states of Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico increasingly Democrat-voting blue states.
Demographers with progressive political opinions have viewed the demographic changes enthusiastically, believing “the potential for true progressive government is greater than at any point in decades,” with the electorate making a commitment to a progressive vision of government, international values, and economic and political policies “that could transform the country in a way that has not been seen since FDR and the New Deal.”
Writing of Obama’s reelection in 2012, Teixeira, one of the first to identify a new emerging Democratic majority, and his colleague John Halpin, both currently senior fellows at the Center for American Progress, wroteimmediately after the election, on Nov. 8, 2012: “Obama’s strong progressive majority – built on a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, cross-class coalition in support of an activist government that promotes freedom, opportunity, and security for all – is real and growing and it reflects the face and beliefs of the United States in the early part of the 21st Century.”
In glowing terms, Teixeira and Halpin credited Obama’s win to a message that “everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.” Teixeira and Halpin praised Obama for the stimulus bill, for the bailout of the auto and financial sectors, for passing Obamacare and for expanded rights for women, Latinos, and gay and lesbian families.
Making their message clear, Teixeira and Halpin added a warning for the Republican Party: “The GOP must face the stark reality that its voter base is declining and its ideology is too rigid to represent the changing face of today’s country.”