If you think that immigration is no longer major issue for the 2020 election, think again.
The COVID-19 hysteria may be all over social media and TV, but the political implications of mass immigration remain relevant.
For those who actually study trends and understand basic math, mass migration does not bode well for the GOP’s long-term electoral prospects. A new Pew Research report titled “The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the U.S. Electorate” brings light to America’s changing demographics and how it could potentially impact the 2020 election and beyond.
One of the first key findings in this study is that the portion of non-Hispanic White eligible voters dropped substantially from the time period of 2000 to 2018. 10 states witnessed double declines in their shares of White eligible voters. In that same time period, Hispanic voters have grown in their share of the electorate in virtually all states. This trend is most apparent in the Southwestern United States, where states such as California, Nevada, and Texas have experienced significant demographic shifts in the Hispanic percentage of their respective electorates in the last two decades.
Battleground states such as Florida and Arizona have also been hosts to changing demographics. In the Sunshine State, two out of ten eligible voters were Hispanic in the 2018 election. For some perspective, this was nearly double the percentage in 2000, according to the Pew report. In the new battleground state of Arizona, Hispanic adults comprised approximately one-quarter (24%) of all eligible voters in 2018, which represents an 8-point increase from the 2000 numbers.
Pew has a concise eligible voters graphic for readers to chew on:
Indeed, there exist differences in terms of not only partisan voting patterns, but also turnout rates among racial and ethnic groups in America. White voters tend to not only vote Republican more consistently in the last 40 years, but they also have higher turnout rates when compared to Hispanic and Black voters.
Hispanics are a curious case because they’re am ethnolinguistic group not so much a racial group. In other words, Hispanic could be potentially White, Black, and Amerindian or even be some kind of mix of those groups. Also, Hispanic nationalities are diverse and carry some variance in voting patterns. According to Pew Research Center’s 2018 National Survey of Latinos, Hispanic eligible voters of Mexican or Puerto Rican origin, tended to identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party. This lies in contrast to Cubans who tend to identify or lean towards the Republican Party. As far as the numbers go, 65% of Puerto Rican Americans support the Democrat Party, while 59% of Mexican Americans supported the Democrat Party. On the other hand, only 37% of Cuban Americans support the Democrat, whereas 57% of Cuban Americans support the Republican Party.
For Asian American voters, there exist some differences as well between the party affiliations of different Asian nationalities. On one hand, Vietnamese Americans are more likely than the average Asian voter to support the Republican Party. By contrast, Indian Americans tend to be a more loyal Democratic voter base.
Due to demographic changes in the country, electorates of certain states are changing. Florida has traditionally been known for its sizeable Cuban population, which has contributed to numerous Republican victories. In the last decade or so, Hispanic demographics within the state have already started to change. For example, Puerto Ricans are now the fastest-growing Hispanic group, and are beginning to match Cubans in size when it comes to the percentage of the total Hispanic electorate in the state. In states such as California and Nevada, Mexican Americans, who are a solid Democratic vote, are the predominant Hispanic origin group.
Turnout rates are pretty important when talking about electoral politics. White adults, generally speaking, have the highest voter turnout rate of any groups. Approximately two-thirds of eligible White adults (65%) voted during the 2016 election. Black adults tend to have historically high rates of voter turnout, relatively speaking. However, the 2008 and 2012 election cycles were exceptions in which Black voter turnout matched or surpassed Whites. In contrast, Asian and Hispanic adults tend to have lower voter turnout rates historically speaking. Half of these respective groups reported voting in the 2016 elections. Similarly, White and Black adults are more likely to say than Hispanic and Asian adults that they are registered to vote.
America’s growing non-White electorate is largely the result of second-generation Americans – American-born children of migrants — reaching voting age, in addition to immigrants becoming eligible to vote through naturalization. So, there exists a clear turnout gap between legacy Americans and minority migrant groups and their progeny.
When it comes to growth in the electorate, Hispanics are leading the way. Hispanics alone made up 13% of the U.S.’s overall electorate in 2018, which represents a nearly twofold increase since 2000, when the Hispanic eligible voting population was around 7%. Thanks to the growing size of the Hispanic population, Hispanics are expected to be the largest minority group among U.S. eligible voters in 2020 for the first time in a presidential election. They have in effect surpassed Blacks as the largest minority group in the country.
Non-Hispanic White eligible voters have been in decline across all states in the nation. This is not a new trend and has been in motion for some time. Though some states have witnessed steeper declines in their White electorate compared to others. From 2000 to 2018, 10 states experienced a 10-percentage point or higher decline in the share of White eligible voters. For example, the White share of the electorate dropped by 18 percentage points over the span of nearly two decades in Nevada.
Similarly, California has witnessed a notable decline in the White proportion of the electorate, plummeting by 15 percentage points since 2000. As a result, California went from a majority White electorate in 2000 to a minority White electorate in 2018 (60% in 2000 to 45% in 2018).
Florida and Arizona witnessed noticeable declines in the shares of non-Hispanic White eligible voters. The White segments of the electorates stood at three-quarters in 2000, but then fell down to six-in-ten in 2018. To a lesser degree, four other battleground states – Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin— also saw reductions in their White eligible voter bases.
Florida is one state to watch out for due its swing state status. Its White share of the electorate has dropped by 13% since 2000. In this period, its Hispanic proportion of the electorate went up 9 points, going from 11% of eligible Florida voters in 2000 to 20% in 2018. The Black base of the electorate went up 2% and the Asian base rose by 1% in this same period.
Arizona is one state that many people view as a rising battleground state. It has also been host to a changing electorate as demonstrated by how Hispanics comprise roughly 24% of all eligible voters, thus marking an 8-point increase since 2000.
Long-term, Texas is going to be one of the states to watch. While not a swing state, it has also undergone some noticeable demographic transformations. In 2018, Hispanics made up three-in-ten eligible voters — an 8% increase since 2000. The White share of the eligible voter base dropped 12 points, going from 62% in 2000 to a slim majority (51%) in 2018.
Taking all these numbers into account, we now know that the demographics of the country are changing largely due to the Hart-Cellar Act and subsequent migratory reforms that have expanded immigration. As immigrants and their progeny integrate themselves into the voter pipeline, the politics of the nation will change. That’s based on voting patterns and how minority groups view issues such as free speech and the Second Amendment.
Let’s not kid ourselves. As the country becomes less White, the freedoms Americans have held dearly will go down the tubes. It’s a numbers game, people.