Monday, 16 January 2012

Newt Gingrich fights back Juan Williams skepticism on race

It is Martin Luther King Day, and a good time to look at how racial politics is being played this year when the first black president in U.S. history is seeking reelection.

The big news about racial politics in 2012 is that generational politics are now a critical factor in any analysis of America’s longstanding racial divide.

Young people, disproportionately minorities and immigrants, are growing in numbers. These people of color, younger than 18, are already a quarter of the population. And when you add in people under age 32, younger people make up half of the nation. They are big fans of Democrats and President Obama.

Meanwhile, those 65 and older constitute only about 15 percent of the population. But they are overwhelmingly white and much more politically active. They don’t like Obama. They are a boon to the GOP.

Those white seniors don’t like being branded as racists for their dislike of the first black president, but as Time magazine recently reported, the seniors’ disapproval of the black president is “dramatically higher” than among younger white people.

A Pew poll showed voters younger than 30 favored Obama over the probable GOP nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 61 percent to 37 percent. Seniors favored Romney over Obama, 54 percent to 41 percent.

That Grand Canyon-wide gap between more racially diverse younger Americans and solidly white older Americans is also evident in every analysis of public reaction to Obama’s signature legislation — health care reform. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found a stunning 50 percent of seniors opposed to the plan.

On the other side of the racial and political divide, there is little chance that black voters will support a 92 percent white Republican Party trying to oust the first black president. The GOP’s only hope among the ever-increasing number of young and minority voters is to win over the fastest growing racial group in the United States — Hispanics.

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