07.11.2012   20:04

Barack Obama’s new majority

America is ‘browning’, as Frey puts it, as a result of high immigration levels from Latin America and Asia and the fact that an older white population is having fewer children than immigrants and their children. (If talk of ‘browning’ and ‘white decline’ makes you uneasy, please relax. It’s perfectly respectable in American politics, provided you don’t suggest that there’s anything wrong with such trends.)

A glance at the CNN exit polls shows why this matters. Romney had a 20-point lead among white voters, but among ethnic minorities his defeat was emphatic. Obama won by 44 points among Latinos, 47 points among Asians and 87 points among African-Americans. A Republican party that relies upon white votes is a Republican party that ought to be anxious about its future. That is not to endorse the immediate response of most commentators that ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform is the obvious solution to the party’s problems. The final tipping point will not happen for some decades, but the Census Bureau has pointed to one intermediate point: for the first time, whites represented a minority of all births (49.6 per cent)....

The coming majority implies a different set of political priorities for the US government. A younger, poorer, less self-reliant electorate, rooted mainly in minority communities, is likely to demand a larger welfare state, greater regulation, more unionisation, higher government spending and higher taxes, initially ‘on the rich’. These demands will run counter to the interests of older Americans of all races, who are currently the main beneficiaries of high spending and low taxes. And the claims of both will inevitably be noticed by the watchful interests of the international investing community and America’s creditors such as China.

An irresistible political force is about to meet an immovable economic object — on the edge of a vertiginous fiscal cliff.


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