Written by Robert Warden
There was a very informative article in 538 from 2018, which I bookmarked but did not write about at the time. Now is the time to write about this topic, which is how our government would look if only one demographic group of voters were allowed to vote. The actual categories used included white versus nonwhite, as implied in the title of this post, but also, men versus women voters, and college-educated white versus non college-educated white voters were compared (https://fivethirtyeight.com/…/what-if-only-men-voted…/).
While the cultural divides that exist in the United States among voters, should not be a surprise to anyone, the graphs in this post spell them out in glaring red and blue colors, based on data from the 2018 midterm elections. In this analysis, author Geoffrey Skelley compared the results in each district of the House of Representatives by the demographic variable in question.
To start off with the least polarized comparison, Skelley shows that if only college-educated white voters were allowed to vote, Democrats would be projected to win 233 House of Representatives races, while Republicans would have won 202 of them. Thus, even among white voters, college-educated people now favor mostly Democrats. (This was not always the case, and has only flipped from a majority supporting Republicans, to Democrats in recent years.) If only white people without a college degree voted, it would result in a massive Republican landslide election, with Republicans winning 268 districts, to 167 for Democrats.
Also, Skelley compared the votes in each district by gender. When this was done, the blue-red divide became a bit starker even. If only women voted, Democrats were projected to win 275 districts, to only 160 for Republicans. If only men voted, Republicans would have been projected to win 249 districts, to 186 for Democrats. Keep in mind, that women were not allowed to vote in the United States, until 1920, just over 100 years ago. Nonwhite men actually were allowed to vote before women, as long as they were not slaves. I shudder to think what America would look like now, if only men were still allowed to vote.
Finally, we get to the crux of this topic, which is Skelley’s analysis of districts by race. Unfortunately, Skelley did not do a breakdown by district for white voters overall, but divided whites into college-educated and non college-educated as described before.
However, we know that in election after election, more white people overall vote for Republicans than for Democrats, as can be inferred from the information already described. In fact, Trump in last year’s election, won among white voters overall by 10 percentage points, which, given his unpopularity, is probably less than most Republican politicians have been winning the white vote by, for the past couple of decades, if not longer.
In stark contrast, if only nonwhite voters were allowed to vote, Republicans would quickly become close to an extinct political party. Nonwhite voters favored Democratic candidates in 388 districts, with the Republican candidate only winning in 47 districts. That is probably enough of a wipeout to make the Republican Party functionally a non-entity, and likely result in its rapid demise. (I speculate that the demise of the Republican Party would quickly lead to the ascendance of a progressive alternative party, although this remains in the realm of speculation at this point.)
The importance of these results to the health of our democracy (which is not very good at this time, by various measures), is evident in the current behaviors of Republicans, most of whom have apparently abandoned any premise of supporting democracy, in favor of raw power grabs and voter suppression attempts. These are not people who have the health of our democracy in mind, whatever they might say about it. Frankly, this is yet another reason that I feel we need to chuck the Republican Party on the scrap heap of history ASAP. Not only are their policies harmful, but they are anti-democratic.
The question arises, in an instance such as the above scenario, in which Republicans are virtually wiped out by non-white voters: Would this lead to tyrannical rule by Democrats? Of course, Republicans would argue that would be the case. They practically argue that even with a closely divided government, as it is. However, as I indicated already, I don’t think that would be the case, and I think history supports the notion that an alternative to the Republicans or Democrats would soon emerge – or perhaps multiple alternatives even.
My position is that nonwhite voters have been saving our nation from a tyranny of conservatism, lead by conservative Republicans, for several decades now – dating back at least to the time of Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” which began in 1968. The data on this are very clear, as are the policies of the party that most white voters have supported since then.
However, the situation is not is simple as it might appear. I suspect, and there is some data to indicate, that some white voters vote for Republicans out of spite. That is, they vote for politicians which favor policies that hurt nonwhite people, out of resentment and prejudice. These particular voters, do not want nonwhites to succeed in the United States, it appears, so much so that they will vote for politicians with harmful policies because they don’t want policies that help nonwhites to be enacted. Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. Perhaps they would vote differently, back in the bad old days when only white people (or men) voted. This might be the best explanation I can think of, to explain why so many white people vote for policies that are against their own self-interests. Of course, Republican messaging and propaganda have a lot to do with this, too, so there are multiple causes, as usual.
This brings me to the “Republican Crazy Train” aspect of this post. One might wonder, “What’s so crazy about voting for Republicans?” Well, when people are voting against their own interests to “punish” people of other races, that is pretty crazy. When Q-nuts like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert (wasn’t she the woman who cut off her husband’s penis? Oh, that was Lorena Bobbitt) are winning congressional races in predominantly white districts, that is pretty crazy. When a substantial portion of the white electorate refuses to acknowledge the validity of an election, and believes that violence would be justified in order to reverse the results, that is pretty crazy. It’s time to start taking the racism-driven, dysfunctional voting patterns among white people in this nation, very seriously – as in fact a threat to out nation’s democratic institutions and well-being.
Finally, I wish to thank the nonwhite voters of the United States – whether Black, Hispanic, Asian, Polynesian, or whatever — and the women voters as well, for helping us save our democracy and lead our nation forward in the future!