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The Republican party's whiteness problem

By       Message Amer Zahr       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   6 comments

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In the 1988 American presidential election, 60% of white voters cast their ballots for Republican candidate George H.W. Bush. He ended up winning 426 electoral votes.

In order to take the presidency of the United States, a candidate must win in the electoral college. Don't make me explain the electoral college to you. Ok, fine.

Each state is allotted a number of electoral votes equal to its number of congressional seats (House Representative + Senators). Additionally, the District of Columbia gets three electoral votes. That gives us 538 electoral college votes (435 House members + 100 Senators + 3 for DC). A presidential candidate wins all of a state's electoral votes by winning more of that state's popular votes than any other candidate. So, in a two-candidate race, if a candidate wins 60% of the vote in California on election day, he/she gets all of California's 55 electoral votes. The same would be true if he/she won 65%, or 59%, or 50.0001%.

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In order to become president, a candidate must win more than 50% of the electoral votes, or 270 of the 538 available. How many states a candidate wins, or whether or not he/she wins the popular vote nationwide is irrelevant. In fact, if a candidate only won the majority of votes in each of the nation's 9 largest states, while losing the other 41 (and DC), he/she would become president. The electoral college is weird. Funky. Kooky. Bizarre. But this article is not about the electoral college. It's about something else.

As I was saying, in the 1988 American presidential election, 60% of white voters cast their ballots for Republican candidate George H.W. Bush. He ended up winning 426 electoral votes, or 79% of them. That margin of victory is quite impressive.

In the 2012 American presidential election, 59% of white voters cast their ballots for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. He ended up winning 206 electoral votes, or 38% of them. That margin of defeat is quite upsetting. Barack Obama won only 41% of the white, while taking the 332 electoral votes Romney didn't win. President Obama won 83% of the black vote, 71% of the Latino vote, and 73% of the Asian vote. Barack (Hussein) Obama also won 100% of the Muslim American vote, and even though there are no official statistics to confirm that, trust me, it happened.

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For some time, the Democrats have done well among nonwhites in presidential elections. And not just sort of well. Really well. But that's not the whole story. According to the United States Census Bureau, by 2042, whites will constitute less than 50% of the American population. Nonwhite populations are growing, and the white vote is far less decisive than just 28 years ago. Couple that with the fact that nonwhites and second-generation immigrants (which are almost totally nonwhite) are experiencing higher rates of voter registration and participation, and you end up with an American electorate that looks fundamentally different and new.

Of course, the "brownification" of America, in and of itself, is not a problem at all (unless you believe in white supremacy). In fact, we should celebrate it. The Democrats seem to be doing just that, involving religious and ethnic minorities in their party and actually including nonwhites in leadership and advisory roles. The Republicans are conducting themselves in precisely the opposite way, blaming immigrants, scapegoating Muslims, and marginalizing people of color.

This is most evident during Trump's events.

Watching a Trump rally is like scanning over a package of Q-Tips. Trump's rallies are whiter than an episode of Friends. Wait, I have another one. Finding someone who doesn't look like everyone else at a Trump rally is like playing the easiest game of "Where's Waldo" ever. That's why it was so simple for every Trump supporter (and every camera) to find Rose Hamid a week ago at a Trump rally in Rock Hill, SC. You might remember Rose as the hijab-wearing Muslim woman who was escorted out of that Trump event for being a Muslim at a Trump event. She was not holding a sign. She was not chanting in protest. She was just standing there, like everyone else. Until everyone else saw her and collectively said to themselves, "What the hell is she doing here?"

About a month ago, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein described Trump's success as follows:

"The core of the Trump phenomenon is how much of the Republican base is deeply unsettled and antagonistic, I think, toward the culture and demographic change remaking America."

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That is a quite artful way of saying they are racist. The Republican Party might as well adopt a slogan that reflects its present ideals. I have a few suggestions:

Willfully white!
Continuously Caucasian!
Massively marshmallow!

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Amer is an Arab-American stand-up comedian. Drawing on his experiences growing up as a child of Palestinian refugees, he finds the humor in culture, politics, history, and everyday life. Amer has also produced and headlined in 2 of his own comedy tours, "1001 Laughs Comedy Tour" & "We're Not White!" Amer (more...)
 

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