The 14th Amendment isn’t going to save us from Donald Trump. Nor is a ruling in New York state that he defrauded multiple banks and insurance companies over a ten-year period. Nor are the 91 charges against him in his four criminal indictments. Nor is another ruling by a New York judge that he raped E. Jean Carroll and is liable for $5 million in civil damages. His base loves him for every scam he pulled, every norm he trashed, every law he broke.
There may be red state after red state across the South and Midwest voting for Trump every time he says “jump,” but there aren’t enough of them, and they don’t have enough electoral votes. What will save us are our numbers. Republican presidential candidates have won the popular vote only once in the last 35 years, when George W. Bush beat John Kerry in 2004. In every other election, Democrats won the popular vote, even when they lost the election overall because of the electoral vote count. Put simply, there are more of us than there are of them.
What we’re going through today, right at this moment, are the beginning rumblings of the ground beneath the feet of Republicans that will become an earthquake in 20 years, when demographers predict that White people in this country will reach minority status. For a long time, they said it was going to happen in 2050, now they say it will be 2045, but check this out: non-Hispanic White Americans under 18 are already a minority.
And it’s happening from both directions.
There are more non-White babies being born at the same time that there are more White people dying. They’re dying for all the reasons people do – heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, diabetes, emphysema – and now they are also dying because of the political party they belong to. Nate Silver reported on his Silver Bulletin Substack on Friday that the death rate from COVID in red states is 35 percent higher than in blue states. A study from Yale University published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July found that Republican-leaning counties in Ohio and Florida had excess death rates from COVID that were 43 percent higher than Democratic-leaning counties. Silver pointed out that the methodology behind the study was simple math: Researchers cross-checked voter registrations against death records, county by county, and added them up. After COVID vaccines became widely available early in 2021, “Republicans began having considerably higher excess death rates,” as compared to Democrats, Silver reported. Note that the study was done by comparing people by party registration. The people dying from COVID were voters, and more Republican voters than Democratic voters died by a large margin.
Republicans know this, and they are terrified by it, or at least they should be. This isn’t a normal shift in death rates that could be attributed to ecological factors or more people in one party than the other working in higher risk jobs. This statistical anomaly was brought on by the Republican Party on its own members as they opposed vaccines and started scare mongering about “the government” putting microchips into you using COVID shots. Some Republicans even spread the utterly bogus rumor that more people were dying of the vaccine than of COVID. Too bad they can’t interview the corpses. Maybe that would change their minds.
This is not a good trend for the Republican Party, because politics is a game of numbers, and the numbers are going against them.
Republicans know they have had only one candidate win the presidency by a majority vote since 1988. They know the numbers are against them. They know people of color will be a majority in twenty years. That’s why they appointed Supreme Court justices who would deliver Shelby County v. Holder for them, the decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and led to a tsunami of voter suppression across the country. What do you do when the number of your voters is going down? Why, you make it harder for the voters of the opposing party to vote. What do you think the panic in the Republican Party over immigration is about? They know immigrants coming over the Southern border aren’t taking jobs from American citizens. They know immigrants don’t commit more violent crime than American citizens – in fact, it’s the opposite. What scares Republicans is that the immigrants who crossed the border yesterday fleeing oppression and poverty and seeking asylum and opportunity will become voters not tomorrow, but soon enough. And they will remember who was on their side as they struggled to better their lives and eventually become citizens.
So will young people reaching voting age this year and next year and the year after that. They’ll remember which political party was pushing enormously unpopular restrictions on abortion, which party had banned books in school libraries in their high schools and colleges. Already the 18 to 29 vote nationally goes to Democrats by a 28-point margin, 63 percent to 35 percent. And young people vote. A study by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life found that 27 percent of young people between 18 and 29 cast votes in the 2022 midterm elections. The same study found that the aggregate youth voter turnout was 31 percent in 10 of the most electorally competitive states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Another piece of very bad news for Republicans.
Republicans know that they will eventually have to appeal to voters with policies that don’t turn them off and turn them against their party, but they’re not there yet. You would think that having won the war over abortion at the Supreme Court, Republicans would be celebrating their win and resting on their laurels. But no, they’re doing just the opposite. They are attempting to make abortifacient medication illegal, to ban buying it online and having it shipped by mail, and some states are even attempting to pass laws to make it illegal for women to travel out of state to get an abortion. Right now in the Senate, Tommy Tuberville is holding up the promotion of over 300 general officers because he opposes a Pentagon policy that allows female soldiers to take leave and travel away from the posts to which they are assigned to get an abortion when they are posted in a state that forbids the procedure. How do you think that makes women who serve in the military feel about the Republican Party?
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This kind of regressive, authoritarian politics is costing Republicans votes, and because their party is led by the Authoritarian in Chief, Donald Trump, they are stuck. Even voter suppression is working against them – look at the results of the 2020 election in Georgia and Arizona. Look at the overall results of the 2022 midterms, usually a blow-out for the party out of power. They failed to retake the Senate and held onto the House by a margin that has plunged the Republican Party into such disarray that they are on track to shut down the federal government this weekend because Speaker Kevin McCarthy cannot control his caucus with the narrow majority Republicans hold over Democrats in the House.
Republicans are holding onto red states with gerrymandered majorities, but their control is slipping, and it is beginning to weaken in presidential election years. Georgia isn’t going to go to the Republicans next year. Neither is Arizona. The abortion issue is beginning to turn reddish but competitive states like Ohio into toss-ups. Abortion is also costing Republicans votes of women in the suburbs and across the board in states like Kansas, which recently voted to keep abortion legal in the state by voting down a state constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal. Voters affirmed by referendum abortion rights in 2022 in California, Michigan and Vermont, and turned away statewide referendums that would have further restricted abortion rights in Kentucky and Montana.
Even if Republicans wanted to do something to appeal to voters more broadly, they are hamstrung by what we call the Trump base – voters in thrall to the man more than to the party. That base is White, and it’s old, compared to voters in general, and they are headed into two decades when this country will get increasingly younger and less and less White.
This is not a good trend for the Republican Party, because politics is a game of numbers, and the numbers are going against them. It’s good news for Democrats that there are more of us than there are of them, but only if we turn out and vote. We can’t sit back and let the actuarial tables and the issue of abortion carry the day for us. There is power in numbers only if we exercise it with our votes. It’s either that, or we won’t have a vote that’s worth anything anymore. Stand up and be counted. Vote.
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