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Earl Ofari Hutchinson Headshot

America's Non-White Majority Won't Remake the GOP Anytime Soon

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The latest census report confirms what has been an unstoppable trend for the past two decades. That America is well on the way to becoming a majority non-white nation. With fewer white babies being born than Latino, black and Asian babies, that may come a lot sooner than the targeted year of 2042, which demographers repeatedly cite. The ethnic remake of America is already having a huge impact on land use, housing, social services, schools, and industries in countless small and medium sized towns, and rural areas that since the country's birth have been exclusively or predominantly white.

The GOP knows that. And the brutal reality for the party is that more minorities in America's population will continue to translate into bigger numbers for the Democrats at the polls. That pattern has been locked in place for the past decade. This is a prime reason that President Obama is President Obama. He was the biggest beneficiary of the happy confluence of demographics and politics in 2008 when an off-the-chart number of black, youth and Latino voters marched to the polls to help put him over the top in the handful of battleground states that for the past three decades have either voted solid GOP in the presidential race or tilted toward the GOP.

Former President Bush grasped the significance of the mounting non-white numbers and the potential peril to the GOP in 2000. He briefly flirted with the notion of overhauling the GOP and making it an ethnically diverse big tent party. He schmoozed, pandered to and courted Latino voters and organizations. It worked. He ramped up the number of Latino voters and that helped his election bid in several states. In 2004, he repeated the tact with Latino and black evangelicals. It worked again. He got more than 40 percent of the Latino vote, and a small but significant bump up in the black vote. This was just enough to tip Ohio, Florida and the White House back to him.

But Bush's diversity pitch was an aberration. The GOP quickly reverted back to form in the 2008 presidential election and especially the 2010 national elections. It ramped up its standard attack on big government, tax and spend Democrats, and screamed for a scrap or gut of entitlement programs, and tough military preparedness. Its theme pitch was the old wink and nod mix of code terms to rile the racial juices of conservative whites who still see government and Democrats as synonymous with pandering to minorities.

The steady uptick in minority population numbers, if anything, will push the GOP to step up its relentless campaign to beat back the ethnic tide from the voting booth as long as possible. Through the front door the GOP will continue to pitch government as evil to its base in the heartland and the Deep South states, with subtle and in some cases open race baiting of Obama to drive home the point. Through the back door it will do everything it can in key states to dampen the minority vote. In 2008 in Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina, the GOP's purge of thousands from voter rolls illegally drew a flurry of media and public attention. The crude, dubious, if not outright illegal, stuff to suppress votes such as the absence of polling places in minority neighborhoods, ballot and vote machine irregularities, using lists of foreclosed homes to challenge voter's residences, rigid time lines for filing voter applications, the lack of information, misinformation or deliberate disinformation about voter registration forms and materials has also drawn plenty of media attention over the years.

Armed with a Supreme Court decision in 2008 upholding Indiana's rigid voter registration law which requires government-issued identification, such as a driver's license, a passport, or a state or military ID card, the GOP quickly swung into action in other states and required rigid proof of identity. In every state, where the GOP has taken over majority control of state legislatures and the governorships, it has or tried to quickly impose the most restrictive voting requirement it can legally get away with in these states.

Then there's the Help America Vote Act passed in 2002. It's supposed to help streamline the voting process and make registration easier. But the act is a two-edged sword in that it permits voters who have been rejected for borderline legal reasons to cast provisional ballots. However, these ballots are set aside and it could take days or weeks, not to mention court and legal challenges before determinations can be made about which ballots can be counted. There will be thousands of these ballots and the overwhelming majority will be from black and Hispanic voters.

The GOP will pay faint lip service to diversity, and will showpiece a handful of black conservatives and Latino GOP state elected officials to make the point that it's serious about diversity in the party. No one is fooled. The party's actions and record are stark proof that it will do everything it can to stay a white man's party as long as it can. More non-white babies being born than white babies in America won't change that.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour heard weekly on the nationally network broadcast Hutchinson Newsmaker Network.
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

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