Saturday, October 15, 2016

Race and gender

Nate Silver, who I deeply respect and read frequently released a picture earlier this week showing how the election would look if only men or only women voted this year, to a difference that set off the internet, at least the part of the internet made super liberal people, who tend to be most of my friends.

However, as is so often the case in news, there is a much deeper level to this than meets the eye.

Looking at exit poll data from 2012 we can see that the "gender gap" is very different from what most people imagine it as.

First, Nate Silver is correct about how women voted in 2012, here is the map for reference:

In 2012 (for states which data is available) women voted like so:

This does show some significant swing states in the women vote for Clinton. Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, and potentially a few other states which CNN did not conduct exit polls in 2012.

Nate Silver also demonstrates in the male vote that they are overwhelmingly voting for Trump.

In 2012 however, the male vote regardless of race would have looked like this:
So, according to the latest projections, Trump is projected to pick up the male vote Michigan and Colorado and retain the men in all the other states which Romney won the male vote in 2012.

This gender divide picture changes however when you take into account both race and gender.

White men voted like so:
This shows a large number of massive swing states for Republicans if only white men were allowed to vote. Romney would have won every state (for which I can tell given data limitations) except Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Every other state for which I could find data would have voted for Romney in 2012. This would be approximately 494 electoral college votes for Romeney, leaving only 44 for Obama.

Is the gender divide what changes American politics? Well, white women voted like so:
This would have given Romney many important states, including Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Romney would have won 349 electoral college votes if only white women were eligible to vote. More than enough votes to carry the nomination if voting were limited to white voters only.
With Obama carrying only the northwest and New England given a white only vote, Romney would have won 479 electoral college votes. A landslide victory without question.

The only reason Democrats can win nowadays is with minority voters who form a voter bloc. For every state with data, I find Democrats easily winning the majority of Latino and Black voters, both men and women. The Democrats have become a massive coalition of minorities and white allies since President Johnson, and that is their ticket to winning. This is why Republicans work for voter ID laws, which limit minority turnout. With their opposition to programs which raise people out of poverty, who tend to be disproportionately minority due to centuries of discrimination, there is no wonder why minorities have flocked to Democrats with their support of education, health care, and other essential services that prevent people from falling down completely. 

This is why it is important when studying gender or race to check to see if there is not a lurking variable behind what seems like an easy correlation. The real reason we see more women voting for Democrats is not simply from significant numbers of women flocking to the Democratic party, but from a higher voter turnout among minority women versus minority men. The gender divide is small, but the difference in turnout between minority men and women is large enough to tilt national elections. With millions of African American men incarcerated for minor crimes across the country they are ineligible to vote which does not give the male demographic the Democratic boost needed to also side slightly to the Democratic Party.

For the future this has major consequences for American politics. Hispanic/Latino Americans are growing as a percentage of the population, partly through immigration, and also through a higher birth rate than white Americans. It is now impossible for Republicans to win the Presidency without being accepting and open to these Americans, and they are likely to lose important states such as Arizona and Texas, and Florida is going to be out of reach within 10 years as the demographics shift.

The Republican Party right now is a reactionary party, and Donald Trump represents this reaction from the far right of American politics to a new America which is more diverse than at any other point since independence. With Nate Silver currently giving Clinton an 81.9% chance of winning the election with 322 electoral college votes under their Polls Plus Forecast, this strategy is clearly not working and if Democrats vote down the ballot this year it could be a total catastrophe for the Republican party.

Until the Republican Party becomes less racist the Democrats will retain the Presidency. It is time to focus down the ballot, end gerrymandering and kick the Republicans out of state legislatures as soon as we can. That will probably be in 2022 assuming that there are ballot initiatives in 2018 and 2020 to reform or end gerrymandering. The current initiative in Maine for IRV has the potential to spread across the country like how gay marriage in Maine and Washington spread across the country in the blink of an eye. With ranked voting and multiple members per district in more states, the Democrats and major third parties (eg The Progressive Party) will gain power, forming coalitions and increasing opportunity for everybody. Hopefully these efforts will spread like wildfire, we can change the law to allow (or even require) members of congress to be elected using ranked voting and then we will have governments which reflect the wishes of the people.

This is the foreseeable future of American politics. The racial divide is real and the biggest determinant of which party wins.

CNN Exit Polls 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment