It is often said by Democratic party politicians and pundits that “demography is destiny” when arguing that the changing ethnic makeup of the United States will result in a permanent majority for their party for the foreseeable future.
We were meant to get a preview of this in Texas during the past election cycle. That failed to materialize. And with the choice of Wendy Davis as gubernatorial candidate, and of abortion as the cause célèbre, it felt instead like demagoguery was destiny. With that type of focus on abortion, Democrats will have increasing difficulty with the changing electorate.
A survey by Public Religion Research Institute was released last Friday that shows how Hispanic millennials are far more pro-life than their white counterparts. “How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health” reported that 54% of Hispanic millennials responded that they believed abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, compared to 45% who believe it should be legal.
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More than a quarter of the Hispanic respondents said that abortion was a critical issue to them, the largest percentage of all the ethnicities. They were most likely to view abortion as morally wrong. 55% also said that abortion should not be covered by most healthcare plans.
The issue of the changing electorate was echoed in an article written by Democratic strategist and former Clinton political director Doug Sosnick this titled “America’s Hinge Moment.” It was primarily an elaboration on the “States of Change” report produced by the Center for American Progress, American Enterprise Institute, and The Brookings Institution. The report focused on the ascendance of the millennial vote and ultimately of the minority vote in a future, minority-majority America.
Sosnick says that America is undergoing a paradigm shift with a scope not seen since the Industrial Revolution. He doesn’t specifically mention the words “Latino” or “Hispanic,” but says that this “shifting reality” is due to immigration specifically from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. As evidence of this tectonic shift, he lists as examples the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.
Let’s take Virginia as an example and the two last big contests in the Commonwealth. In 2014, Ed Gillespie lost to Mark Warner by less than one percent of the vote despite the presence of a Libertarian on the ticket. In 2013, Republican Ken Cuccinelli lost to Terry McAuliffe by only 2.5%, again with a Libertarian on the ballot who garnered 6.5% of the vote.
Consider also the analysis of Allison Kipicki and Will Irving of the New York Times showing that the Latino vote was inconsequential in Obama’s 2012 victories in several states, Virginia included.
These recent, extremely narrow victories for Democrats are not solid evidence that changing ethnic makeup has moved the political needle. Virginia already has a a mostly Democratic past (Republican gubernatorial victories there have been the exception rather than the norm, even in the last decade), and there many other factors at play.
This is not to say that the ethnic makeup of the United States is not changing. That is true. But all of this shows that pro-lifers have a great deal to be optimistic about. If we continue our work of identifying, informing, and activating pro-life people, then our country is about to experience a groundswell of young, pro-life voters.
To call something “the Latino vote” is to mistakenly make a singularity of a diverse and changing population. The issue of abortion could well prove this point.