Published DateHas the bell begun to toll for the GOP?
The question arises while reading an analysis of Census Bureau statistics on the 2012 election by Dan Balz and Ted Mellnik. One sentence in their Washington Post story fairly leaps out: "The total number of white voters actually decreased between 2008 and 2012, the first such drop by any group within the population since the bureau started to issue such statistics."
America's white majority, which accounts for nine in 10 of all Republican votes in presidential elections, is not only shrinking as a share of the electorate, but it is declining in numbers, as well.
The Balz-Mellnik piece was primarily about the black vote. Sixty-six percent of the black electorate turned out, to 64 percent of the white electorate. Black turnout in 2012 was higher by 1.7 million than in 2008. Hispanic turnout rose by 1.4 million votes.
But from 2008 to 2012, the white vote fell by 2 million.
This is the crisis of the Grand Old Party: Minorities, peoples of color — Hispanic, black, Asian — gave 80 percent of their votes to Obama. And while the minorities' share of the electorate was 26 percent in 2012, minorities constitute 36.3 percent of the population. And their share of both the electorate and the population is inexorably rising.
Obama won only 39 percent of White America, lowest ever of any victorious presidential candidate. But he did not need any more white votes, when he was carrying people of color 4 to 1.
Any good news in the Census Bureau report for the GOP? Only this: The tremendous turnout of black Americans in 2012 was surely due to Obama's being under ferocious attack and in peril of being repudiated. Black folks turned out in record numbers to rescue the first black president. That situation will not recur in 2016.
Yet the bad news for the Republican Party does not cease. While the total Hispanic vote rose by 1.4 million between 2008 and 2012, some 12 million eligible Hispanics did not bother to vote. And when one considers that Romney lost Hispanics 71-27, any Democratic effort to get out the Hispanic vote is going to be problematic for the GOP.
Only 48 percent of eligible Asians voted. But when they did, they went 70 percent Democratic. Asians' numbers, too, are growing, and as more go to the polls, the GOP crisis deepens.
The Republican response to this gathering disaster?
Led by Senators Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Republicans are pushing for amnesty and "a path to citizenship" for the 11 to 12 million illegal aliens in the country today.
Who are these folks? Perhaps half are Hispanic, but 90 percent are people of color who, once registered, vote 4-to-1 Democratic. One would not be surprised to hear that the Senate Democratic Caucus had broken out into chants of "Go, Marco, Go!"
Setting aside the illegals invasion Bush 41 and Bush 43 refused to halt, each year a million new immigrants enter and move onto a fast track to citizenship. Between 80 and 90 percent now come from the Third World, and once naturalized, they vote 80 percent Democratic.
This brings us back around to the Electoral College. After Richard Nixon cobbled together his New Majority, the GOP carried 49 states in 1972 and in 1984, 44 states in 1980 and 40 in 1988. In four elections — 1972, 1984, 1988 and 2004 — the Republican Party swept all 11 states of FDR's "Solid South."
Such were the fruits of that evil Southern Strategy.
But when conservatives urged Bush 1 to declare a moratorium on legal immigration in 1992 and build a security fence, the politically correct Republican establishment fought tooth and nail to keep the idea out of the platform. So, where are we?
Eighteen states, including four of the seven mega-states — California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania — have gone Democratic in six straight elections. Two others, Florida and Ohio, have gone Democratic twice in a row. And white folks are now a minority in the last mega-state, Texas.
In Ohio, which produced seven Republican presidents, more than any other state, Republicans are dropping out, and may be dying out. "Eight years ago, blacks and whites voted at about the same rate (in Ohio)," write Balz and Mellnik. In 2008, "the participation rate for whites dropped to 65 percent, while the rate for blacks rose to 70 percent. Last November, the turnout rate among whites fell to 62 percent, while the rate for blacks ticked up to 72 percent."
From these Census figures, white folks are losing interest in politics and voting. Yet, whites still constitute three-fourths of the electorate and nine in 10 Republican votes.
Query: Is the way to increase the enthusiasm and turnout among this three-fourths of the electorate for the GOP to embrace amnesty and a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal foreign aliens? Or is it to demand the sealing of America's borders against any and all intruders?
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)