Thursday, August 12, 2021

Making Sense of the Census

 The bad news for reactionaries is that for the first time in American history, white people are rapidly becoming outnumbered by black and brown people and people of Asian descent, but especially by those identifying as mixed race, who now represent the majority of younger people surveyed.

The good news for reactionaries is that the fastest-growing metro area in all of America is The Villages of central Florida, a planned retirement community made up almost exclusively of well-off conservative white people. They might also take heart from the rapid growth in Phoenix, an historically conservative city in an historically conservative state.

The bad news for reactionaries is that the denizens of The Villages are old, and young people in general are giving them fewer and fewer grandkids. Not because the childless all hate kids, but because they can't afford them due to education debt, low wages, unaffordable housing and lack of medical care - especially in the age of Covid.  And so, when the Villagers and their ilk die off, black and brown and Asian and mixed-race people will outnumber white people by even greater percentages.

 As far as Phoenix is concerned, the climate crisis alone ensures that the lack of water will force the denizens of the desert to move sooner rather than later.

The only thing that might keep white reactionaries still believing that they rule supreme by superficial dint of their skin color will be if elderly Florida resident Donald Trump (or, god forfend, a younger smarter reactionary) wins back the White House and a GOP Congress abolishes the Census for good and all, thus completing the disenfranchisement of black, brown, Asian and mixed race people for good and all. They can make up their redistricting maps the same way that Trump once used a black sharpie to draw a fake hurricane trajectory on a map.  If they can only stop counting inconvenient people, then maybe we will cease to exist!

From the New York Times:

The data offered the most detailed picture of race in America since the last decennial census in 2010, —and they are also the basis for redistricting, a process in which state legislatures redraw voting lines based on changes in their states’ populations.

The increase in the numbers of people who identify as Asian and Hispanic was less dramatic than in previous decades, but still much more robust than the increase in the number of Americans who checked the box for white or Black.

The good news (or so they think) for the liberal side of the gerontocracy is that will now glom on to their shallow identity politics platform with an even greater vengeance. Their challenge is to prevent increasing numbers of leftist or socialist black, brown, white, Asian and mixed-race candidates from winning seats in Congress and in state legislatures while still professing to fight against the structural racism and classism that they themselves continue to champion and perpetuate, if only by orchestrated inaction. To "moderates" like them, it doesn't matter that black and brown people comprise the majority of the unvaccinated, largely because they have no paid time off, no reliable transportation and less "access" to the Internet - not to mention the historical lack of medical care in general. It's so much easier for these political leaders and pundits to blame ignorant white anti-mask cultists for the spread of Covid, rather than their own failure to enact Medicare For All, loan forgiveness, guaranteed income/living wage of at least $25 an hour, and subsidized child care.

One snippet of good news for the poor and working class is that just like their GOP partners in crime and political theater, these corrupt Democrats are also getting older by the day. In some rare cases, they might actually retire from public service even as, thanks to their own guaranteed no-cost health care, they defy the plummeting life expectancy rate in the richest country on earth.

The bad news for the poor and working class is that red-state Florida and Texas stand to gain the most House seats in redistricting, while the blue states of New York and California stand to lose the most. 

New York and California, despite their Democratic majorities, are losing voters precisely because they have set the records for the most extreme wealth inequality in the United States. Once the eviction moratoriums expire, this juxtaposition of billionaires and homeless people will become more glaringly obvious than ever. It will be harder than ever for liberal elites to point their enlightened scolding fingers at Florida and Texas and claim moral superiority just because they ever so occasionally deign to elevate brown, black, Asian and mixed race people to their own ranks, using them as cynical token cover while the planet burns and they fly their private jets to one another's yachts and transactional birthday parties.

Perhaps the worst news of all for the historically marginalized minority communities whose numbers are growing is that they will not be able to keep their precarious communities together long enough to draw new voting districts, as the housing and eviction crises get worse by cruel design. Solidarity among people is simply not in the interests of the billionaire class. They can remain obscenely rich only as long as too many people remain obscenely poor.


Annie said...

All the anti-vax anti-maskers who end up getting the Delta variant of Covid are in for the shock of their lives when their medical bills come rolling it. The sad truth is that too many people just don't heed warnings until it hits home. If risk of death and long term disability doesn't get through to them, the crippling medical bills they'll be saddling their family with should. Money talks louder than the CDC.

I predict the Refusniks won't just experience a deathbed conversion to vaccines, they or their survivors could soon become the biggest supporters of Medicare For All. They'll be ripe for the picking if the Dems can get their ass in gear.

But in terms of voter sentiment, this came out yesterday: 'INDEPENDENT VOTER REGISTRATIONS SURGE IN AZ AS PARTIES FALL'. As discussed in this article, it's a national trend as well. That's the only way the parties will change or die - if people keep jumping ship in the open primary states. Now's your chance Dems! Do or die. M4A is the ticket.

Mark Thomason said...

"the liberal side" as described here has another problem: the "non-white" do not see themselves as one group with common interests. Many see themselves as white, or near enough to share interests.

The old WASP has expanded to include Catholics such as Irish and Italians, and to include Jewish people, even to the extent that for awhile the Supreme Court was entirely Catholic or Jewish.

Groups are co-opted into the "white." Many WANT to be co-opted, or see themselves that way already, including many Hispanics. Asians are in many instances "honorary white" for purposes of education and employment.

There is no monolithic non-white vote bloc, despite the Democratic Party's determined push to have it viewed that way.

In fact racism itself is against Blacks is distinctive, not the same as the discrimination that does happen to other groups.

My late wife was Filipino, and my children are mixed. I see this in person, as it happens to them. They are abused by Blacks the same as if they were white, with baseless accusations of racism. My son's co-workers who include Japanese, Hispanic, Indian, and Muslim get the same accusation thrown at them, the Muslim even had a gun fired in the air in his face to emphasize his "racism" when he said the restaurant was closed, lights out, he could not serve the Black gunman.

There is no "People of Color." It does not exist. It certainly is not a voting bloc.

If overt "whites" are now 60%, they'll just co-opt more, as they have many times up to now. White now includes Irish, Italians, and many others excluded in the 19th Century, and that process will continue. Voting will show that too.

We are not seeing the demographics claimed, not in voting, not in "racism," not in real life at all. It is the fantasy of political junkies.

c1ue said...

This looks like just a rehash of the Democrat party "demographic path to domination" theory.
Except that Latinos tend to be religious/Catholic, Asians tend to be conservative in most beliefs outside immigration.
So not at all clear to me that race is the deciding factor when it comes to "reactionaries" vs. "liberated".

Anonymous said...

on Earth, not on earth! After all "Earth" is a proper noun and our Home Planet.

i.e., on Mercury, on Venus, on Mars, on Jupiter, on Saturn, on Uranus, on Neptune...

Pete V said...

Hi Annie,

Doesn’t the surge of independent registrations indicate an opportunity to move away from the two (one) party trap? Why look to the Dems! at all?

Anonymous said...

Kind of a late comment and not strictly related to this piece:

Just heard some talking head refer to the ideology of individualism (selfishness) that has evolved over the past 40 years. They are not allowed to use the term Neoliberalism on corporate media are they. Of course there is an issue of selfishness. But who are the most selfish? Duh.

Kat said...

Here are the results for the search for the word over the past year in the NYT:

Jay–Ottawa said...

After years of musing about it, I wonder whether rounding up unrelenting waves of votes for M4A among the general populace is the way to go. So much effort, so much indifference or incomprehension among us commoners. Most people counted in the census are too busy, too ignorant or too propagandized to follow the logic of M4A or a National Health Service.

Did the Brits after WWII ask the people in a referendum whether they wanted a National Health Service, or the French and other European countries? Without spending a second reading up about that point on Wiki or deeper elsewhere, I suspect that a few forceful elements of government simply passed the blessed public health laws while they had power, without bothering to mount campaigns to get majorities convinced to support the idea of a NHS –– and that from populations preoccupied with putting their lives back together following the war. Some call it dictatorship, some call it leadership.

President Johnson got the job done, or at least started, by diktat mostly. There are arm-twisting leaders like Johnson, but there are also influential groups like the AMA and the PNHP that get things done through pressure on the few who do have the power of diktat. With regard to M4A or a national health service for the USA, the one single group that could establish a NHS, if it wanted, is the medical establishment, those doctors who are and always will be the lords of medicine.

Forget about rounding up a hundred million adults to press for M4A with pickets and letters to Congress. We've seen how well that goes for almost a century. Just round up most of the docs for a US NHS and you'll get it in short order. Laying siege to their guild will be a lot simpler than laying siege to the whole population. The center of the medical establishment is the target, not the rainbow of circles around it.