Demographic trends — the steady decline of the share of the population made up of non-college whites, from 86 percent in 1940 to 48 percent in 2007 – have made winning these voters by increasingly large margins crucial to the Republican Party, while diminishing the Democratic Party’s need for their support.
The 2012 election will be another test of strength in the decade-long competition between this white voting bloc — which dominated in 2002, 2004 and 2010 — and such ascendant Democratic constituencies as Hispanics, college-educated women and young voters, who flexed their muscles in 2006 and 2008. ...Thomas Edsall, NYT
It's simple if you think about it. America, a nation of immigrants and constant change, is not kind to those who, by nature, fear and dislike change. Hispanics who have come to are used to change. They've changed cultures, language, and have learned a new landscape. College-educated women are women who, by their very nature, have expanded the roles women play in society. They are eager for change, able to deal with it. Young voters are at the age when life is all about change and growth.
"Non-college white men" understand that their world is changing. Their response is, understandably, fear. They will vote for anyone who wants to maintain the old system. The anger, fear, and division they experience is fed by their political party.
Romney and the Republican Party must achieve the highest possible turnout level among whites. Republicans, including Romney, have adopted anti-immigration stands that have extinguished the possibility of boosting margins among Hispanics. Asian Americans have become increasingly Democratic, self-identifying in public opinion surveys as Democratic rather than Republican by a 52-32 margin. African Americans remain reliably loyal to the Democratic Party by an 86 to 8 percent margin.
Romney is particularly vulnerable to a campaign designed to suppress turnout because his support is more tepid than Obama’s.
A New York Times/CBS poll released on Wednesday found that 52 percent of Obama voters back their candidate strongly, compared to 29 percent of Romney voters. In addition, a third of Romney’s voters say they are voting for him because of their dislike of Obama, while only 8 percent of Obama voters are primarily motivated by their hostility to Romney. ...Thomas Edsall, NYT
This editorial from Leonard Pitts appeared in a number of "heartland" newspapers. It argues, reasonably, that vote suppression ultimately tends to hasten the decline of the Republican party.
Demographic trends do not favor the Republican Party. As the Center for the Study of the American Electorate observed in a 2008 report, the GOP is either out of contention or seeing an erosion of support in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the West, the mountain states, the industrial Midwest and even parts of the South. With its growing Latino population, even Texas may be lost to the party before too many years.
"Within the next few decades," says the report, "white Americans, the only demographic subgroup from which the GOP draws significant numbers of voters, will be in the minority."
So while the party posits these laws as a way of fighting voter fraud — a nearly nonexistent problem — it takes little imagination to divine a more sinister intent. Sometimes you don't need imagination at all. ...Leonard Pitts, Chicago Tribune
Pitts suggests a system that eases the way for all legitimate voters without forcing them to go through the current arcane procedures to get a picture ID. This would broaden the voter rolls and force the GOP to speak to a much broader group of voters, something that the Republican party needs to do if it wants to survive and have any meaning.