Polls and voting patterns have made it pretty clear that white men have permanently moved away from the Democratic Party. The trend is strongest in the 30-45 demographic, which is the youngest in which people become seriously politically engaged, so it appears to be accelerating. The crash of fertility amongst liberal whites that started in the late 1970s is showing up in young white male voting preferences even in the 18-30 demographic (they are growing more conservative), but they are inconsequential compared to older, more reliable voters, and will only solidify the trend in coming years as they settle into familiar routines (80% of children end up voting like their parents).
This has led to more predictable white male bashing from the left, which is what started the move away from the Democratic Party in the first place, and is beginning to manifest itself in the racial and gender makeup of elected Democrats. For the first time ever, it is predicted that white males will cease to be a majority in the House. The Senate, which has longer terms and is less prone to turnover, remains majority white male in the Democratic Party, but this is simply because it is a more staid, conservative institution.
The presidency, for its part, may have already permanently switched. In fact, even in the 1990s, Bill Clinton was something of an anomaly, and might not have won without Ross Perot to siphon off a substantial portion of the white male vote. But George Bush senior was one of the old-guard Republicans; an elite, Yankee throwback from the pre-Reagan era when Republicans lacked populist appeal (this is one of the concerns about Mitt Romney, and why Newt Gingrich enjoyed some enthusiastic support despite his slim chances in a national election).
Since Bill Clinton’s presidency, the Democratic coalition of minorities, women and urban elites has kept the party fairly strong, despite some setbacks, and Republican stupidity regarding the economy and war handed them another presidential victory, in which white males voted underwhelmingly for John McCain, who ran essentially on a “more war” platform.
But things are different this year, as the economy has failed to improve during Obama’s first term, and politics has become a zero-sum game in which the loser really loses and the winner merely treads water.
According to reports from last December, the Obama campaign has already decided to toss the working-class white male from the Democratic coalition, focusing instead on urban elite whites and white females to add to the overwhelming support he gets from minorities. The campaign has made this obvious recently through offering socialist incentives explicitly to white females, while deliberately leaving white males out. The result has been that a large gap has opened up with white male voters, who now overwhelmingly oppose Obama and the Democratic party.
Although the fact that the Republican party has become, for all intents and purposes, the white male party, is sometimes echoed in media outlets (usually in a disparaging manner), it isn’t stressed enough, and the implications are either ignored or said to be favorable to Democrats. This is because most of the white males who write opinion or work for the media are part of the shrinking white male elite — the white males who actually do have white male privilege. These white males (and females) tend to live in deep blue cities where the Democratic Party has adapted to the caste society that characterizes urban America. Their lifestyle depends on maintaining the delicate ethnic and economic balance that holds the Democratic coalition together. This balance simply does nothing for rural, small-town and working class whites, who derive no advantages from it. Ironically, white people who hire brown servants and send their children to private, mainly-white schools, are more likely to vote Democrat than those who mow their own lawns, take care of their own children, and send their kids to public school. As fewer and fewer American whites can afford the increasingly expensive middle-class urban lifestyle, they drift away from the Democrats.
The gender gap between white males and females can be explained almost entirely by feminism and the goodies it provides white females. When the Republicans were the more feminist party in the 1950s, women voted more Republican than men. It’s a simple matter of pandering, and it works. But how well does it work, and for how long will it continue to work?
The rise of the white feminist in American politics was aided by white men from the beginning. Women were only included in the Civil Rights Act through the efforts of a Southern segregationist. The first woman on the US Supreme Court was appointed by a white male. A white male drafted the Violence Against Women Act. White males instituted universal suffrage, passed sexual harassment laws, extended affirmative action to white females, enacted Title IX, etc. The list goes on and on. White men have done more to enfranchise white females than women themselves.
The question this brings up is how things will play out when white males no longer dominate the Democratic party, and women find themselves fighting against white males rather than being the beneficiaries of their paternalism. We have to remember that white females are a minority in the Democrat coalition, yet they have most of the more powerful positions. Can white females maintain dominance in a majority minority coalition? Will black and Hispanic males continue to submit to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi? Will black and Hispanic females, for that matter, accept white female dominance of their political party?
Probably not. When given a choice between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, minority voters overwhelmingly chose the male candidate. Race trumped gender. If we are to be honest with ourselves, the benefits white females received from white males during the Civil Rights era were another example of race trumping gender. To compare the travails of the bored white housewife with those of the southern black man is ridiculous, and I’d assume downright insulting from a black male point of view. Nevertheless, white men did their best to extend every favor minorities received to white females as well. If they had the choice, would minorities have done the same? Not a chance. The only reason Obama panders to white women is that the US is still a majority white country, and he needs their vote.
But the strain in the coalition will eventually become hard to handle. Without senior white males around to protect and foster them, white female Democrats are going to be stuck in a difficult place. Although they share a few common goals with minority Democrats, their current leadership will be called into question. There’s still time for a white woman to win the presidency on the Democratic ticket, but as the Democrats become majority minority that window is closing fast.
A number of white liberals believe that the increasing minority share of the US population will doom the Republican party, but that would only be a sure thing if we were to assume that white voters will continue to vote as they currently do for a long time to come. The reality is that white voters are far from a static bloc, and if the parties really do split along racial lines, as they have in the South, the Republican party will remain strong. It is starting to look more and more as though this may indeed happen on a national level.
Pacific and Northeastern states may continue to feature white male Democrats for some time to come, but rural states and minority majority states like California will likely see fewer of them as time goes on. It is often said that California leads the nation in trends, but that appears to have changed. California has led itself, for all intents and purposes, right out of the US into nearly foreign territory.
The implications for political feminism are likely to be profound. As the political divide in the US becomes increasingly racial, gender politics will play a smaller role. If a white female Democratic presidential candidate cannot even earn an endorsement from the ultra-feminist Oprah Winfrey, how could she hope to win the support of any minorities at all? And if she doesn’t have the support of white men, what exactly is her base? Childless, college-educated, single, professional white women? Not exactly firm ground for national office.
Unless women can somehow transfer feminism to the Republican Party (a longshot), it will be politically dead in the water within a decade or so. It is often repeated that demographics is destiny, but people tend to see the trends only in the simplest terms. The outcomes of demographic changes are a lot more nuanced than imagined even by our supposedly clued-in pundits. The increase in the minority share of the US population will certainly have profound implications, but given the size and cultural depth of white America there is not going to be some ultimate multicultural triumph that eliminates race from the equation.
Before the Ming dynasty, China was a far more cosmopolitan, multicultural society than it is today. It was as likely to be ruled by Altaic people as ethnic Chinese, and non-Chinese enjoyed immense influence and power from time to time. But during the Yuan dynasty, the Mongols introduced legislation that explicitly discriminated against ethnic Chinese. It was the first official, administratively implemented affirmative action program on the record. The result was that the Chinese population shrunk and lost a great deal of power, but ultimately Chinese emerged as a politically unified, far more conservative force. During the subsequent Ming dynasty the Chinese once again asserted their control and China became the most powerful, wealthy empire on earth until the dawn of the 19th century.
It remains to be seen how demographic matters will impact American politics, but it is likely that a racial divide in national politics will have a unifying effect on white America, and ethnic politics will take precedence over other issues. Feminism, homosexuality, religious differences and the like will decline in importance as racial divisions grow. All of these relatively petty issues can only flourish in times of white hegemony, and that hegemony is almost gone. We are looking at a new era in which race will subsume inconsequential intra-ethnic differences, and feminism will inevitably lose relevance.