Out of the Margins: Shifting Demographics Change Face of US Campaigns, Part I

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Spiegel Staff, Nov. 12, 2012 (Photo-Gallery: The Changing Face of the US Electorate).

The United States, traditionally a land of immigrants, is on the verge of historic change, with non-Caucasian Americans poised to become the majority in the coming decades. Obama’s recent victory has already shown how demographic shifts will change the political landscape … //

… Most Diverse Nation on Earth: 

  • Obama knows that he is indebted to them. On election night the president, who sometimes gave the impression during campaign appearances that vying for votes was beneath his dignity, regained the lofty tone of his great speeches from the past. He said: “This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong.”
  • And then came Obama’s bow to those who had given him the majority vote: “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth.”
  • Seven out of 10 Latinos voted for Obama, and because they now make up 10 percent of all American voters, their political preferences are beginning to play a decisive role.
  • There are large Latino minorities in various parts of the country, and Obama captured 58 percent of their vote in Florida, 66 percent in Virginia, 80 percent in Nevada and 87 percent in Colorado. What applies to the Latinos also applies to the significantly smaller population of Asian-Americans, and it clearly applies to African-Americans, with 93 percent of them voting for Obama.
  • It will take further analysis to clearly understand the full impact of these numbers, but one thing is already clear: The 2012 presidential election illustrates, in a completely new way, how sweeping the forces of change are that are underway today in America. There is talk of the end of white America, and of the rise of immigrants to form a social force in their own right, and of demographic shifts that will forever change the political landscape.

A Shrinking White Majority: … //

… Fast-Growing Hispanic Population:

  • Since the Reagan era, the Republicans’ biggest successes were always the result of their ability to draw away traditional Democratic voters, especially white, blue-collar workers. They were able to do so, once again, on Tuesday, when 71 percent of white male voters chose Romney. But it was no longer enough to help the party succeed. Gaining the support of the majority of the shrinking white majority is no longer enough to win national elections in America.
  • That’s why demographics was the dominant topic in the days after the election, especially concerning the Latinos’ newly important role. Americans with Hispanic roots are currently the country’s fastest-growing group of voters, with 50,000 Latinos turning 18 — and becoming eligible to vote — every month.
  • The Democrats understood this trend better and earlier. At their convention, they portrayed themselves as the “party of openness.” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a man with Hispanic roots, said the convention “will be the most diverse in history, and we’re very proud of that. You’ll see people from every walk of life: rich, poor, black, white, Latino, Asian, Christians, Jews, Muslims … we’re all here celebrating this great vision of ours.”
  • African-Americans and Latinos spoke during prime time at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. They included the African-American governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, seen as a potential successor to Obama, California Congressman Xavier Becerra and Julian Castro, the young mayor of San Antonio and the son of Mexican immigrants, who is one of the Latinos’ biggest hopes in the Democratic Party.
  • The delegates, too, were more diverse than those at the Republican Convention. While 98 percent of the Republican delegates were white, 60 percent were white at the Democratic Convention, 27 percent were African-American and 13 percent were of Latin American descent. The world of the Democrats is “a noisy and ebullient carnival,” wrote the Washington Post.

Campaign Strategies: … //

… Whiter, Older, Angrier:

  • “Adelante, Estados Unidos”, or “Forward, United States,” was the name of one of the websites created by the Obama 2012 campaign. Another Obama site characterized the politics of Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, as “a step backward.” The Obama campaign also created Internet sites that enabled Spanish-speaking voters to calculate their taxes, in Spanish, of course.
  • Against this strategy, the Republicans looked whiter, older and angrier than ever before in their history. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican presidential contender in 2008, said on election night that the Republicans had done a “pathetic job” of reaching out to minorities. That was putting it mildly.
  • During the Republican primary, some of the things the candidates said about immigrants were downright toxic, including calling for criminalizing illegal immigrants. Romney, hoping to appeal to the right wing of the party, was notable for his especially harsh rhetoric on immigration.
  • Romney coined the ugly term “self-deportation,” which he used to express his hope that foreigners who had come to the country illegally would simply leave of their own accord. Joining forces with the country’s most radical governors, he supported the unrelenting pursuit of illegal immigrants, which included isolating them socially and doing everything possible to prevent them from getting paid jobs. As is now evident, his position also turned off “legal” US citizens of Hispanic origin.

(full text).

Part 2: Enough is Enough.

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Not Just on the Fringes: Far-Right Attitudes Increase in Germany, on Spiegel Online International, by kla, Nov. 12, 2012: Right-wing extremist attitudes are on the rise in parts of Germany, particularly in the east, according to a study released on Monday. Young people appear to be at the highest risk, the researchers warn. They are calling for greater social engagement and educational programs to combat the problem of xenophobia …;
(my comment: why leftists produce about themselves a picture of weakness, I mean a well meant approach to feminist values … oh, that’s fine, but the error is in the fact that feminity is still in our heads as somewhat (too) kind, weak, somehow submitted … so the rightists can occupy all the identities expressing strengths, steadiness, self defense, honor. We have radically to change female values if we want give people on the left side other identifications … heidi).

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