The Whitening of the House GOP
I was doing a little research for an article, and came across this from the Cook Report back in March:
As Congress has become more polarized along party lines, it’s become more racially polarized, too. In 2000, House Republicans represented 59 percent of all white U.S. residents and 40 percent of all nonwhite residents. But today, they represent 63 percent of all whites and just 38 percent of all nonwhites. In 2012 alone, Republicans lost 11.2 million constituents to Democrats (a consequence of not only the party’s loss of a net eight House seats but also the fact GOP districts had grown faster in the previous decade and needed to shed more population during redistricting). Of the 11.2 million people Republicans no longer represent, 6.6 million, or 59 percent, are minorities.
Part of this whitening in the GOP is the result of Democrats winning some heavily minority districts from Republicans in 2012, such as California’s melting-pot 36th District, Florida’s heavily Cuban-American 26th, and Texas’s heavily Latino 23rd. Republicans in these districts fell victim to a spike in turnout among Latino Democrats. But most of this trend has to do with conscious and exclusionary choices that Republicans—in addition to a few courts and commissions—made when they drew new maps. For example, using only 2010 census data, Rep. Daniel Webster’s Central Florida district jumped from 57 percent white to 66 percent white; Rep. Pete Sessions’s Dallas-area district leaped from 42 percent to 53 percent white; and Rep. Pat Tiberi’s Central Ohio district soared from 68 percent to 88 percent white. All three Republicans had relatively close races in the last decade but won easily in 2012.
This is not new or shocking information, but thought the specific numbers, especially as related to district make-ups, were worth noting. It certainly helps explain some of the party’s behavior, even in the face of changing national demographics.