Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Social Change at breakneck speed"

Ron Brownstein looks at the demographics of Reagan's 1984 landslide election against Walter Mondale to give us some idea of how much the landscape has changed.
When Reagan routed Democratic nominee Walter Mondale in 1984, the white working class dominated the electorate. White voters without a four-year college degree cast 61 percent of all ballots that year, and they gave Reagan 66 percent of their votes, the NJ analysis found. White voters with at least a four-year college degree cast an additional 27 percent of the vote, and 62 percent of them went for Reagan. Eighty-one percent of minorities backed Mondale, but they represented just 12 percent of all voters then.

By 2008, minorities had more than doubled their vote share to 26 percent. College-educated whites had increased their share to 35 percent. The big losers were whites without a college degree, who dropped from 61 percent of all voters to 39 percent—a decline of more than one-third from their level in 1984. That is social change at breakneck speed.
Comparing 1984 to 2008, noncollege whites dropped their vote share by 22% while college educated whites increased theirs by 8% and minorities by 14%. Overall, non college educated white voters went from being 2/3 of the electorate to just over a third.

I know we've been seeing this kind of information in varying forms for a while now. But that's as powerful a summary as I've seen.

1 comment:

  1. This deserves at least one comment, so I'll chime in.

    This is the most important political fact we are dealing with. The details--who wins which elections in the short term--are very important, but part of why I think we see the total insanity, manifested in unvarnished racist appeal, of the GOP is that they know as we do that they can't rebrand themselves to appeal to people of color after 40 years of the Southern Strategy. They need to change the rules of the game if they want to continue in the long-term to play. Thus, Citizens United, disenfranchisement.

    While we don't want to presume individual behavior from that of the group, I will go on record and say that white people as a group can be trusted to try to preserve white privilege at any and all cost. The lesser their share of the total electorate, then, the better our politics for everyone. Maybe at some point white people will collectively grow up and out of it, but not for a bit yet, I'm afraid.

    So, all in all, these are what we call "good numbers."