A Reality Check for Tea Partiers—and a Reason to Dance

At 538 yesterday was a tidy summing up of the trecherous demographic waters facing the Republican Party as it moves into the next decade or two:

The Center for American Politics’ Ruy Teixeira, one of the top political demographers in the country, has a new paper out in which he examines the two major party coalitions, with a focus on the current and future prospects of the Republican Party. For the GOP, says Teixeira, things look grim, in large part because the country is becoming less white and more educated. He provides specific data showing how college educated voters are growing, and non-college educated shrinking, as shares of the electorate; likewise for the growing non-white v. shrinking white populations.

“The Democratic Party will become even more dominated by the emerging constituencies that gave Barack Obama his historic 2008 victory, while the Republican Party will be forced to move toward the center to compete for these constituencies. As a result, modern conservatism is likely to lose its dominant place in the GOP,” he writes, adding that “the Republican Party as currently constituted is in need of serious and substantial changes in approach.”

Got that? The GOP’s current traction comes from its emphasis on white racial and cultural appeals targeted to the non-college educated, and the country is, demographically, becoming less and less white and better and better educated. Put differently: Limbaugh/Fox Noise-style Republican nostalgia and stupidity-mongering has a clearly discernable cultural and demographic shelf life (thank God!), and it’s moving in on its expiration date.

A reason to dance, yes?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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11 Responses to A Reality Check for Tea Partiers—and a Reason to Dance

  1. TomH says:

    I’m shocked, shocked! that someone from a communist “think” tank would say such drivel. I guess all those inner city denizens who are dems have Ph.D.’s. I keep hearing more and more from Republicans who voted for Obama that they are very sorry that they did so.

    Have you even been to a Tea Party event? Most Tea Partiers probably know more American History and more about the Constitution than your average college educated fool who gets their opinions from the CLAMs.

    It’s certainly true that illegal immigration and motor voter work against the GOP in the short run. However, illegal immigration is much reduced thanks to Bernanke and the dems’ incompetent handling of the economy, which maintains a high rate of unemployment. And by the way, did you know that illegals don’t typically value higher education? Most of them go into business and they quickly understand that the GOP favors small business and lower taxes.

    Keep whistling in the dark. Conservatives have been winning primaries, defeating their more liberal incumbent opponents, whether the incumbent is a dem or repub.

  2. santitafarella says:


    That was a funny rant. Communist, huh?

    You sound like the very Birchite parody that is losing its currency (and remember, the broken wheel squeaks loudest).

    Teixeira has been around for a long time. He’s a New Republic-style liberal—not a communist—and he’s pointing to demographic data that lays out real trends (such as rising college education levels in the United States, and rising nonwhite populations).

    Facts and data matter. You can argue with the political conclusions to be drawn from the trends (maybe you want the Republican Party to be a nostalgia oriented, declining remnant, pure in ideology and generally unelectable). But at some point conservatives will have to ask: what do we do about the demographic numbers of the country (if we want to win elections over the long term)?

    Here’s the link to the full report (a PDF): http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2010/06/pdf/voter_demographics.pdf


  3. santitafarella says:


    One more thought: back in the early 1990s, the Republican Party in Califonia put its full heft behind an anti-immigration proposition. It’s politicians won that off-year (1994) election cycle by driving angry whites to the polls, but the long-term price paid in California was minority status in the governing of the state. Republicans, from that year forward, have found it enormously difficult to put together multiracial coalitions for winning elections. I submit that the national Republican Party is engaged in the same folly today. Two decades from now, the Tea Party movement will be seen as a symptom of the decline of the conservative Republican Party nationally, not its reinvigoration. Your current strategy might win in 2010—and maybe even 2012—but the writing is on the wall. The Republican Party, in its racial appeals and promotion of stupidities (anti-evolution etc.), has gotten in bed with the devil. The devil might give you another election cycle here and there, but the piper that you are following will be paid in full—in “keen a quivering ratio.”


    • TomH says:

      The liberals, in their promotion of stupidity (anti-God, etc.) have cut themselves off from a majority of the population. The hispanics tend to be religious, so a conservative emphasis on religion will attract them. I think that you are whistling in the dark. Obama didn’t win–McCain lost by supporting the bank bailout. Check the polling numbers just before McCain’s trip to DC and after. They switched by 8 points. People voted against McCain more than for Obama, where the switch occurred.

      The incompetence of Obama will only hurt dems. Bush did a far better job with the cleanup after Katrina than Obama did with the cleanup of the gulf after the spill. Obama’s inability to deal with unemployment will cost the dems dearly in the next two cycles. If repubs fail to get their act together and accomplish some of their promises, we may see some back and forth.

      I’m sorry, I just don’t see a major change in voting patterns. Hispanics are more likely to enter the military than other groups, so that shows their innate conservatism.

  4. Roger Salyer says:

    Wow, and you seem surprised that white people feel threatened when Leftists (Universal Humanity-types, either Liberal or Communist) indicate nothing but a desire for the former to be dispossessed? Fear-mongering? I think not.

    For my part I am doing my part by having white children, and teaching them accordingly. Now that’s a reason to dance!

    And I am also planning our exit strategy… while planning on taking my land with me! Elections aren’t everything.

  5. santitafarella says:


    You sound like David Koresh. I mean, seriously. America in the 21st century is not Masada. I’ve been living, as a white dude, in California all of my life. And I live in a county in California where whites are a minority, and it’s fine. People are people. All this Republican racial and religious paranoia is based on irrational fear of the human future. And I wouldn’t trade Los Angeles for any “whitopia” city in the country anywhere (like Boise). When I visit such cities I’m bored, bored, bored. Variety is the spice of life. LA is the human future. LA teaches the world that we can all live together well and peacefully (because in LA we generally do).


    • TomH says:

      “LA teaches the world that we can all live together well and peacefully (because in LA we generally do).” Except that you don’t. Look at violent crimes vs. national. http://losangeles.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm

      • santitafarella says:


        Your characterization of the link is distorted. It is true (for example) that LA’s murder rate is higher than the national average (which you would expect to see in a large urban area with significant pockets of poverty), but LA’s overall crime rate is substantially lower than the national average. In the areas broken off in your link, LA does less well than the national average on four measures, and better than the national average on four measures. Not bad for one of the world’s largest cities.


  6. Roger Salyer says:

    I also sound like millions upon millions of human beings throughout history. And David Koresh.

    Home v. Hotel One is a place where one has life. The other is a place where a revolving door of tenancy governs. You are absolutely free to prefer one or the other.

    Yes, I have many friends who feel as you do. And that’s fine.

    The question that I have is, is it okay if I have my particular place, just as you and they have your multicultural one? If so, then I choose one of my own. I do not mind at all if L.A. exists. The question is, will you tolerate Hunan Province China, Zulu land, or Mudhole Tennessee to exist?

    And I have to point out, the only reason that there is human diversity for you to value is that there are places to be from, places where one can develop a distinctive (and by definition, exclusive) group, folkway, and culture. A particular people in a particular place. There are thousands of ethnic groups in this world, and strangely enough, I think that this is a good thing. To have this, there must be borders, on the map and in the mind, else all is grey mass. Don’t be silly, you know this to be true.

    I am not a Republican. So I don’t care if they win elections or not. However, if they’re smart, then it sounds like they should make the repeal of the Immigration Act of 1965 front and centre. Cause the white vote may not make them win. But I won’t vote for someone who refuses to treat me with deference over some Socialist Kraut off the boat (Yes, there’s a story behind this.). Without our vote, the Repulicans are unlikely to win for a very very long time.

  7. Roger Salyer says:

    Oh, I just remembered. You meant that L.A., didn’t you? You’re not an environmentalist are you?

    Nor a fan of Port William or Wendell Berry I suppose.


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