Why Whites Will Abandon the GOP “Grey Older Party”
As you are certainly aware, the new consensus among most Republicans and conservatives is that they don’t need no stinking Latinos (don’t get huffy on me; this is OK, because it’s a clever movie reference, and in any case it’s aimed not at Latinos, but at stupid Republicans) and will soar to victory on the strength of the white vote. People like me have spent a lot of airtime and ink these past couple of weeks arguing over whether this can work. But what’s interesting is this. There’s an assumption embedded in the argument that no one disputes: namely, that whites will always be as conservative as they are now and will always vote Republican in the same numbers they do now. This assumption is wrong. White people—yep, even working-class white people—are going to get less conservative in coming years, so the Republicans’ hopes of building a white-nationalist party will likely be dashed in the future even by white people themselves.
Back in March, the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute released a big poll on immigration. Those findings are interesting as far as they go, but the questions and results went beyond that. It’s the first poll I’ve seen that breaks the white working class into four distinct age groups (65-plus, 50 to 64, 30 to 49, 18 to 29) and asks respondents attitudes about a broad range of social issues. And guess what? White working-class millennials are fairly liberal!
Click on the above link, scroll down to page 44, and look at the charts. On most questions, white working-class respondents in all three other age groups yielded results that were pretty similar to one another’s, but the youngest cohort was well to their left.
On most questions, white working-class respondents in all three other age groups yielded results that were pretty similar to one another’s, but the youngest cohort was well to their left.
White working-class young people back gay marriage to the tune of about 74 percent. Another 60 percent say immigrants strengthen the United States (the totals for all three other age groups are below 40 percent). About 56 percent agree that changes immigrants have brought to their communities are a good thing. Nearly 40 percent agree that gays and lesbians are changing America for the better (more than double the percentages in the other three age groups).
They have different views because they’re different people: only 22 percent of white working-class millennials are evangelical, compared with 32 percent as a whole and 42 percent of seniors. And an amazing 38 percent of the group call themselves religiously unaffiliated.