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White Men, Go to the End of the Line!

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Burnett     Permalink
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In 2012, Democrat Barack Obama won reelection with 51 percent of the vote compared to Republican Mitt Romney's 47 percent. Obama's victory was the result of a formidable coalition of racial minorities and progressive Whites, particularly single women. In 2016, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is to prevail, they must recreate the same coalition. And, White men will be the smallest faction.

As reported by Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin in "The Obama Coalition in the 2012 Election," Obama achieved victory, "by carrying 93 percent of African American voters, 71 percent of Latino voters, 73 percent of Asian American voters, and only 39 percent of white voters."

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In his recent book, "Brown is the New White," Steve Phillipsclaimed Obama's victory symbolizes a new American majority: "Progressive people of color now comprise 23 percent of all the eligible voters in America, and progressive Whites account for 28 percent of all eligible voters."

The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate must mobilize the new American majority. If they do, they won't need to carry blue-collar white men to win. In 2012, Obama got the votes of only 35 percent of white men.

The groups Clinton or Sanders needs to carry are African American voters, Latino voters, Asian American voters, and progressive White voters -- particularly single women.

African American Voters: In 2012, 13 percent of voters were African American. Teixeira and Halpin noted, "[Obama's] support among African Americans was" overwhelming this year (93 percent")." Steve Phillips observed, "African Americans are the most loyal and consistent Democratic voters in the country." They are 23 percent of the Democratic vote.

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Latino voters: In 2012, 10 percent of voters were Latinos. Teixeira and Halpin reported, "Hispanics increased their share in line with their growing share of the eligible electorate." Steve Phillips noted, "Latinos are now the largest group of color in the country, "making up 17 percent of the total U.S. population and 46 percent of all people of color in America." Phillips predicted more Latinos will vote in 2016; he estimated that if they have the same participation rate as in 2012 (less than 50 percent) they will be 14 percent of the Democratic vote.

Asian American voters: In 2012, 3 percent of voters were Asian American. (2 percent were of "other" race: Native American, Pacific Islanders, Arab Americans, Iranian Americans, or mixed.) Steve Phillips forecast that if, in 2016, they have the same participation rate as in 2012 (greater than 50 percent) they will be about 8 percent of the Democratic vote.

Progressive White voters: In 2012, non-Hispanic White voters were 71 percent of the electorate. In 2016, because of differential growth rates that share will decrease to 68 percent.

Of particular interest are the unmarried White women. Teixeira and Halpin reported, "President Obama did especially well among unmarried women in 2012, carrying them by 36 points (67 percent to 31 percent)... Unmarried women also made up a larger share of voters in this election--23 percent."

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Extrapolating from 2012 numbers, in 2016, White non-Hispanic voters will constitute approximately 56 percent of the Democratic base. 17 percent will be unmarried White women. 16 percent will be married White women. 12 percent will be unmarried White men. And, 10 percent will be married White men.

Ranking Democratic segments. In 2016 the key Democratic voting groups will be:

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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