This is the second part of two posts analyzing and challenging the idea of a “permanent Democratic majority.” The previous part can be found here.
A “Permanent Democratic Majority”
The previous post argued that the “permanent Democratic majority” – the idea that growth in Democratic-voting Hispanics will lead to Democratic dominance – depends on two assumptions. It outlined critiques of each assumption, and potential counterarguments against these critiques.
Here is my personal view on what will happen with each assumption:
Assumption #1: Hispanics will continue voting Democratic.
If Hispanics are like previous waves of immigrants, they will trend Republican just as white ethics have. This is something which has been extensively discussed in the previous post.
The great catch here, however, is race. Take away the country of a Hispanic immigrant, and can you tell the difference between that person and a non-Hispanic white person? Are Hispanics, in other words, truly a different “race” from whites? If the answer is yes, then they may continue to face discrimination, which will motivate them to continue voting Democratic. If the answer is no, they will follow the path of white ethnics.
This is an incredibly complicated and controversial question, and something that different people will say different things to.
Here is what I believe. Remember that this is not a professional analysis but merely the opinion of a politically interested blogger. The answer is both yes and no. From what I have personally seen, some Hispanics cannot be differentiated from whites if you take away their immigrant background. For others, however, it is very difficult to say that they are white – even if they are fully Americanized and do not speak a lick of Spanish. This reflects the mixed-race history of Latin America.
So the Hispanic population will probably remain more Democratic than, say, the German population. Some Hispanics - those who can be taken as white – will begin voting like whites. Those that can’t will continue to vote more Democratic.
Interestingly, this is why I believe that the future of the Democratic Party is bright amongst Asians. Take away the country of an Asian immigrant, and it is still very obvious that said person is not white. That fact will drive Asians toward the Democratic Party, especially the children of Asian immigrants.
The second assumption – “White movement to the Republican Party will not overwhelm Hispanics” – is more troublesome. The white vote will probably continue to tread Republican, as it has for half-a-century. There is no reason to see why it would stop, especially given the growing numbers of non-white minorities in America. Whether that tread will overwhelm other factors is something that this blogger frankly has no idea about.
A New Wave of Immigrants
There is one final consideration that must be taken into account.
Pretend, for a moment, that Hispanics follow the path of previous immigrant waves: they assimilate into the melting pot of America and steadily tread Republican.
Not all is lost for the Democratic Party, however. America, after all, is a land of immigrants – one of the most welcoming in the world, even with the current anti-immigrant sentiment that led to the defeat of the DREAM Act.
There will almost certainly be another wave of immigrants. These immigrants may be from Africa; they may be from eastern Europe; they may be from India; they may be from southeast Asia; they may be from anywhere in the world.
When that next wave of immigrants comes, they will almost certainly follow the same path previous immigrants have. They will face the same challenges – the same anti-immigrant sentiment, the same complaints about different-looking, non-English speaking foreigners. Some complaints may even come from Hispanics.
Then the Democratic Party will have a new constituency of immigrants, just as it has Hispanics today and had white ethnics in the 19th century. Then it will continue defending the rights of immigrants and receiving their votes, as it has throughout history.