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 Of the 11.2 million people Republicans no longer represent, 6.6 million, or 59 percent, are minorities.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.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    It’s called refighting the Civil War which seems to be what the Republican Party is all about these days. Of course they will lose once again.

  2. bill says:

    yet ironically we don’t see black democratic congressmen elected in white districts, yet white republicans will elect black congressmen- weird.

  3. walt moffett says:

    Sounds like the logical result of creating majority minority districts or design matters. Now how to fix a problem many incumbents (and their backers) don’t see is left to the reader.

  4. legion says:

    Well, as the GOP retreats further and further into it’s Retirement Bunker – as its core demo ages & does the same – there is very little left to pick from for candidates to represent such frightened, bigoted, undereducated, gullible rubes but dumb white guys. This is a feature, not a bug – as they become more desperate, they become more obvious.

  5. @bill: You miss the point.

  6. JKB says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    You have no clue about the the Civil War, do you?

    A little quick history lesson. The Republican party came about as the party to abolish slavery. The Southern Democrats wanted to extend the institution of slavery. The Northern Democrats wanted to leave it up to the individual states. The Southern Democrats, with Republicans few and far between in the South moved to secede. The Northern Democrats opposed Lincoln politically. After the war, with spoils to be had by Yankee carpetbaggers, the Northern Democrats kept their slavery attitude to themselves but let it out again decades later to keep Blacks moving into Northern cities dependent.

  7. Ron Beasley says:

    @JKB: You have no clue about politics the last 40 years. After Johnson and the Democrats passed the Civil Rights Law the Attwater/Nixon Southern Strategy resulted in the two parties doing a complete flip flop. The Republicans became the party of the old Confederacy.

  8. KM says:

    @JKB:

    You know, I looked at your post and honestly all I saw was Blah Blah whine Blah excuse Blah negative racial stereotype.

    Why do you single out Northern city Black as dependent? Because it fits with your view of the Civil War and its aftermath? How does the South fit into your little narrative – what with the century plus of crap that followed that wasn’t exactly beneficial to the people you disparage? Or is it because you’re still trying to prop up the idiocy that the party switch never happened? Somehow the South magically went from Dixiecrat to Republican with no culture change involved. They did a political 180 – either the Party of Lincoln isn’t anymore and you’re lying to make yourself feel better or they just jumped ship to a new group that fit their preexisting mental narrative – which you just pointed out was racist as hell at that point and they knowingly signed up. Which is it? (Hint: who favors states rights)

  9. KM says:

    Or tl;dr – Riddle me this JKB: are Southern Blacks in large cities that live in Red States “dependent” like their Northern compatriots?

    If yes – you admit that the South despite being Republican can’t throw stones from their glass house. You complain about Northern cities trying to keep people dependent but suffer from the exact same issues. Clearly party isn’t the issue in that case.
    If no – you admit the stereotype of welfare=Black dependency is bullshit as the welfare rates are well documented. Your complaints about “plantations” are just smokescreens to try and accuse others of what the South did in the past using a familiar concept. Clearly race isn’t the issue in that case.

    *insert Jeopardy theme* 30 seconds….

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bill:

    yet white republicans will elect black congressmen- weird.

    Not one, repeat, not one single Republican member of the House of Representatives, is black.

    “Oh but, Tim Scott the (R) senator from S Carolina is black.”

    Yeah. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back for that. Hope you don’t break your arm doing it.

  11. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @bill: You miss the point.

    Not only does it miss the point, but it exemplifies the way that certain GOP supporters conceptualize the Race issue.

    Not to mention the fact, it also doesn’t even match reality, given the recent election of Cory Booker and the election of Barak Obama, both as a Senator and then later as President.

  12. Rick Almeida says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “Oh but, Tim Scott the (R) senator from S Carolina is black.”

    Sen. Scott was elected to Congress (SC-1), but then appointed to the Senate by Gov. Haley. So the GOP was 1/242 when Scott was elected, because Democrats are the real racists.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    At this point I’ve gotten to the point to want to kick out the states of the Confederacy and do a repatriation of all crackpots to the South with a similar offer to all progressives in the South to move north. The South can have all the “the wrong side won the Civil War”, “slavery wasn’t so bad” “keep government out of my Medicare” idiots and send us all the people who believe in evolution.

    Anyone game? I feel like I’m dealing with a ten-year old who insists on sticking things into electricity sockets. At some point you have to give up and let him learn the hard way what 120 volts means.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    A little quick history lesson. The Republican party came about as the party to abolish slavery. The Southern Democrats wanted to extend the institution of slavery. The Northern Democrats wanted to leave it up to the individual states. The Southern Democrats, with Republicans few and far between in the South moved to secede. The Northern Democrats opposed Lincoln politically. After the war, with spoils to be had by Yankee carpetbaggers, the Northern Democrats kept their slavery attitude to themselves but let it out again decades later to keep Blacks moving into Northern cities dependent.

    How convenient of you to omit the political-electoral history of the past 40 years or so.

    You do realize that once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, Southern Democrats began an exodus to the Republican Party, and Republicans successfully parlayed racial resentment and a Southern Strategy into winning a wide majority of presidential elections from 1960 to 2004? You don’t? Never mind.

    But … please continue.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    Sen. Scott was elected to Congress (SC-1), but then appointed to the Senate by Gov. Haley. So the GOP was 1/242 when Scott was elected, because Democrats are the real racists.

    DOOHHHH!!! (facepalm) But OF COURSE!!! How silly of me.

  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @bill: In order to validate your opinion, you need to know information like how many majority-white House districts have a Cook Index of R+1 or higher versus how many majority-white House districts have a Cook Index of D+1 or higher.

  17. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: which actually would probably be a really interesting jumping point for a Poly Sci journal article, assuming that the existing literature isn’t already saturated with that type of analysis.

  18. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Take a look at this chart and get back to us on who is “dependent” in the US.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/08/americas-fiscal-union

  19. gVOR08 says:

    So…. There are no black Republicans in the current House, 20 women (against 62 Dem women), 5 R Hispanics (v/ 15 Dems), and I believe Eric Cantor is the only Jew. Remind me again why we call it the house of Representatives?

  20. bill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: i read it and saw the point, it’s a rebuttal of sorts. i left beasley’s attempt to change history (comment 1) alone too.

    @Gromitt Gunn: it’s just a cold, hard fact. keep the math for future fact manipulations.

    @mattbernius: what’s the race issue? we elected a black/white president and what does corey booker have to do with anything? do you vote for people based on their race primarily?