Demographics Is Destiny

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Elections are won by demographics. No soup company blindly dumps cans of its newest “Turkey Coconut Bouillon with Nutmeg and Omega 3″ in Aisle 6 of the supermarket without testing to see what demographics such a hideous concoction might appeal to. Will the product appeal to lesbian single mothers, divorced Asian firefighters or eccentric Latvian millionaires? Politics is no different.

A political party has its base, definable groups who groove to its message, who eat up the red meat that its candidates toss their way. It has the demographic groups which will always vote for it and those who might swing its way. It knows them by race, gender, age, class, sexuality, home ownership and a thousand other statistical slices of the pie. It has those numbers broken down by states, cities and neighborhoods so that it has a good estimate of its chances in a given place and time based on the demographics of the people who live there.

This kind of information is helpful for winning elections– but showing up to play the electoral hand you’re dealt is for suckers. And by suckers, I mean conservative parties.

Breaking down the demographics is like looking at the cards in your hand. Once you’ve done that, the only remaining variable in a static game are your opponent’s cards. With election demographics, players can see all the cards everyone has. That makes the game static. Hands will inevitably be won or lost… unless you can draw some new cards.

The most obvious way to play the demographic Game of Thrones is with gerrymandered districts. A gerrymandered district is shaped to include a majority of the winning demographic leading to a nearly automatic victory for the party. It’s the political equivalent of stacking the deck.

Gerrymandered districts are of dubious legality, except when shaped to create a majority-minority district, in which case it becomes an obligation under civil rights laws. This stacks the deck, creating permanent sinecures for some horribly incompetent politicians and permanent seats for the Democratic Party.

But that is just a matter of rearranging the cards in the deck. What if you could bring in cards from outside the deck? What if you could change the value of some cards? Then you would be on the way to being the best cardsharp in Washington D.C. or London or Paris.

Sure you could win elections by creating a few gerrymandered districts, but you couldn’t win a country that way. To do that, you have to change the national demographics.

Suppose you were running our fictional soup company and you discovered that “Turkey Coconut Bouillon with Nutmeg and Omega 3″ isn’t popular with key demographics. The only people who like it are unemployed Pakistani immigrants, lesbian single mothers and divorced Asian firefighters.

Sure you could take a shot at putting out another flavor, but damn it, you like this one. And you also spent your entire advertising budget for the next three years promoting it, and thanks to your ad campaign, everyone now associates your company with “Turkey Coconut Bouillon with Nutmeg and Omega 3″. And if people don’t like it, then your company is doomed.

You could try to change people’s minds, or you could try to change the demographics to ones that favor your soup. To do that, you would have to bring in a lot of Pakistani immigrants, create a poor economic climate, promote divorce and homosexuality, and create some public sector jobs.

Luckily, no soup company can do that sort of thing. But governments can.

That’s the neat thing about governments, if they want to change national demographics, bring in more immigrants, create more single-parent families and more unemployment, they can do all those things easily.

Suppose that your statistics show that unemployed people are more likely to vote for you than the employed. Then your goal would be to shift as many of those who ordinarily wouldn’t vote you from the ranks of the employed to those of the unemployed. And once they were on benefits, they might just come to support you, even though you were the one who maneuvered to deprive them of their employment.

That sort of thing is childishly easy to do if you happen to have a government and a party with extensive partnerships with progressive non-profits and powerful think-tanks and foundations.

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  • Alvaro

    This is spot on. It is *possible* to manipulate the people into voting for you, but much easier to bring in more and more people likely to vote for you, no matter how bankrupt and discredited your ideology is.

    Research showed that some 80 percent of all immigrants in Norway vote for leftists, who are more likely to support generous welfare benefits. Since they are already in power they can cling to it forever by opening the borders – and they are doing just that.

    I guess you'll find the same phenomenon all over Europe and also in the USA.

  • Stephan

    Barack Obama will take your tax dollars to finance a solar soup company and Michelle Obama will force feed you with “Turkey Coconut Bouillon with Nutmeg and Omega 3″.

  • Western Spirit

    We lost our money in the last great pillage of the American people. Now that I'm broke I'm still not going to vote for Obama and the Democrats.

    Suggesting Ann is racist is ignoring reality.

  • Western Spirit

    We lost our money in the last great pillage of the American people. Now that I'm broke I'm still not going to vote for Obama and the Democrats.

    I think people who are new to this country have no allegiance to it and willingly suck it dry to their advantage.

    • Indioviejo

      Hey, I agree with you 100%. I have seen the same phenomena here in Miami, were at least 60% of the population is Latino and vote Democrat. The first Cubans who came as refugees from Communism, were strong anti-communist and anti Democrats. Later migrations are filled with communist infiltrators. The same pattern can be observed in Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, etc. But then BOTH parties are responsible for our immigration mess. Ronald Reagan gave illegals amnesty in 1986, but failed to secure the border, and if he didn't do it, the later presidents saw no need to fix that problem.

    • A. Keen Observer

      They come here because they don't like the corruption and lack of opportunity in their home country and then proceed to create their home country in their own neighborhoods here. Then they work to create their home country in the rest of the U.S. And then they complain about the corruption and lack of opportunity here.

  • bobevers1

    mr greenfield..you are one of the best essayist i
    have ever seen. supreme intellect.

  • Goemon

    This is why I'm convinced those on the right must congregate into a select few states. Being spread out all over USA makes our votes and beliefs useless when matched up against liberal useful idiots and scheming sociopathic radical leftists with all the money and influence available to them. Some people think we can when by "waking up" people but there's too many people that will just refuse to come out of their bubble until the time some U.N. peacekeeper is corn holing their 80 pound starving body in a re-education camp.

  • cynthia curran

    Hispanics tend to vote that way so do Asians. Indians the richest Asians may vote Democratic because the Hindu Religion can make one a pacifistic and the Indians that tend to be more non-Christians seen the Republicanism also as the party of Christians another reason why they vote Democratic

    • Lady_Dr

      Here's a thought – a dear friend, Hindu from India, went to graduate school in a very liberal state. I think that everything my friend knows about American politics was acquired there. Look at that demographic. Are Indians (mostly Hindu), mostly graduates of universities in liberal territory? OF course that fact that most of them spent time in ANY American university would tend to make this population liberal. But it would be interesting to know the facts on this.

  • cynthia curran

    Depends on the state, actually in the south Republicans usually do better with whites with higher income. In Texas the higher income whites vote more republican. A lot of the Blue Collar Whites don't vote since both Republicans and Democratic flood the labor market with immigrants and Republicans and Democratics also outsourced jobs. Republicans usually get whites outside of Kentucky and West Virginia with some college to Ba while Dems get whites that are high school dropouts or have graduate degrees. I saw a chart and in the state of Texas whites under 30,000 voted Dem while Whites making 75,000 and above voted Republican.

  • topeka

    brilliantly succinct…

    though I would quibble with the idea that it is unforeseen by conservatives. My granny knew this stuff backwards and forwards when I was a kid.

    the truth is – we have not had the power. the best we've been able to do is find politicians who just cheated us a little or held the line. To be fair – anyone going up against the Left is likely to be borked… and if they invade your bedroom that does not count (but we have to pay to kill other people's babies…)

    one other point – they invent ideas – such as hating blacks … people fall for the nonsense … and then when they are through with the idea … then it's our fault. e.g. illegal migration. The whole point of it's racist to opposite is to assure that in the future it will be seen as racist to not pass out instant citizenship to any Democrat demographic…

    … but the Racist limitations on Cubans, Filipinos, and others likely to vote Republican… hey that will be our fault too.