No longer your father’s electorate

No longer your father’s electorate

The Los Angeles Times

Paul West, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Even more than the election that made Barack Obama the first black president, the one that returned him to office sent an unmistakable signal that the hegemony of the straight white male in America is over.

The long drive for broader social participation by all Americans reached a turning point in the 2012 election, which is likely to go down as a watershed in the nation’s social and political evolution — and not just because in some states voters approved of same-sex marriage for the first time.

 On Tuesday, Obama received the votes of barely 1 in 3 white males. That too was historic. It almost certainly was an all-time low for the winner of a presidential election that did not include a major third-party candidate.

“We’re not in the ’50s any more,” said William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer. “This election makes it clear that a single focus directed at white males, or at the white population in general, is not going to do it. And it’s not going to do it when the other party is focusing on energizing everybody else.”…

… “Obama lost a lot of votes among whites,” said Matt Barreto, a University of Washington political scientist. “It was only because of high black turnout and the highest Latino turnout ever for a Democratic president that he won.”

Obama planted his base in an America that is inexorably becoming more diverse. If left unchecked by Republicans, these demographic trends would give the Democrats a significant edge in future presidential elections.

Latinos were an essential element of Obama’s victories in the battlegrounds of Nevada and Colorado. States once considered reliably Republican in presidential elections will probably become highly competitive because of burgeoning Latino populations, sometimes in combination with large African American populations. North Carolina, where Obama won narrowly in 2008 and came close this time, is one. The Deep South state of Georgia is another. Texas and Arizona in the Southwest are future swing states — by 2020, if not sooner…

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