There’s no other way to spin this poll; the Republican Party has a severe diversity issue on their hands. Of course, this won’t stop them from adding possibly even more seats in the House and perhaps maintaining control of the Senate – but it won’t give them the White House. Barring some miraculous turn out the vote event in 2016 where the left shakes off their collective apathy, the GOP will stay in power and just enough electoral votes will keep their presidential candidate out of the Oval Office once again.
A major contributing factor to the gridlock and hostile partisan atmosphere in Washington today was revealed in a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll. The results speak for themselves:
Ninety-five percent of self-identified Republican primary voters are white. That’s among the findings of the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, as well as that 74% of all Americans age 18 and older are white, a figure that tracks with census data. This means that heading into 2016, the Republican primary electorate is dramatically less diverse than the country overall. The GOP primary electorate is even less diverse than the country was in 1916, when 91% of the voting-age population was white, according to historical census data. (Source)
Many Republicans will point to lawmakers like Mia Love, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott or Ted Cruz and say, “Look, we’re a party of diversity!” But when you look at the polling data, it’s clear that it isn’t a diverse demographic that is picking their candidates. (In case you’re wondering, Bobby Jindal was not included because not even his own state wants him any more, let alone the Republican National Committee.) Instead of trying to be more inclusive and welcome more people under the big tent, Republicans like Senator David Vitter are pushing legislation that further promotes the image of the GOP as being the party of old, white people with no workable ideas and a whole lot of animosity for folks who aren’t like them.
While getting even some of the most extreme candidates elected to state legislatures and Congress remains a relatively easy task, short of a horrific scandal befalling a Democratic presidential hopeful, there’s almost zero hope of a Republican taking the White House. The GOP just cannot do it these days based on the national demographics which they represent less and less every election cycle. This is a party that says that racism is dead in America, then turns around and accuses minorities or the government of being the oppressors of whites, Christians and heterosexuals, which conveniently happens to be a big portion of their base.
So how is it that Republicans keep winning and how do they send people to Washington like Tom Cotton, who makes Michele Bachmann or Louie Gohmert seem relatively sane in comparison? Why do we see a party that represents an ever-shrinking portion of the United States waging all-out war on decades of progress for women’s reproductive rights and worker protections? How do they manage to hold power in Congress despite single digit approval ratings and the inability to govern better than a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum? This is a Republican Congress that can’t even pass a bi-partisan, anti-trafficking law because they just had to slip an amendment in about abortion. That’s how completely beholden to their extremist base they are, so why isn’t America relegating this party to the junkyard of history?
It’s actually pretty simple. All Republicans have to do is continue to turn out the vote in swing districts while counting on the apathy of the left. Sure, we get all hopey and changey when there’s a presidential election (at least the last two times), but then we forget or don’t bother to show up for local or state elections. Change isn’t built from the top down, it’s built from the bottom up. Unless we start participating in local and state politics instead of just showing up every four years, then we can continue to watch our rights eroded thanks to a small block of Republican primary voters, and our own apathy.
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