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I Want to Watch Michelle Malkin Cry

A long-expected day finally has arrived: Hispanics now outnumber White non-Hispanics in California, or will before spring turns into summer. The Golden State is the second state to achieve this, after New Mexico, but the Land of Enchantment is considerably smaller (and has always been its own socio-cultural-political curiosity), so this is a considerably more significant event.

Hispanics are not a majority in the state, just a plurality. They’re at an estimated 39%, to White non-Hispanics’ 38.8%. Asians are at about 13%, with African-Americans just under 6%.

Ruben Navarette has a slightly cheeky response to the news.

A state that was once controlled by Mexico, before Manifest Destiny came along and ordained that God wanted white folks from Kansas and Missouri to have it, is now heavily populated by the runaway children of Mexico and their offspring. An enormous swath of oceanfront property has been reclaimed without a formal declaration of war.

And somewhere Michelle Malkin, America’s most nativist immigrant-child is having a heart attack, or at least will probably pretend one to get more clicks. But Navarette’s talking about the irony of the situation, and here’s his real claim, the truth of which Malkin and her ilk (bad people always have an ilk, right?) refuse to accept.

Forget what you’ve heard about a reconquista: the fabled reconquering of the Southwest by Mexican-Americans on behalf of Mexico. That’s loco. Most Mexican-Americans are barely on speaking terms with Mexico. We (I am among them) understand that our neighbor had no room in its economy for our dark-skinned, uneducated parents and grandparents, who were forced to go north. Now, most of us reciprocate and have little room in our hearts for Mexico. Our loyalty is to the United States. Even if we were speaking to our Mexican brethren, we’d be conversing in different languages. Most Mexicans speak Spanish, and about 80% of U.S. Latinos speak English.

Cali-AgeEthnicThis is not a temporary event. Even absent further immigration, the differing direction trends of Hispanics and White non-Hispanics are only going to continue, based on the age demographics of the two groups

And of course this matters for U.S. politics, because California is the biggest prize in presidential elections, with 45% more electoral votes than 2nd place Texas. And after a couple of decades of both major parties fighting for the Hispanic vote, the Democrats are winning it hands down.
PewHispanic
Hispanics are still a smaller proportion of voters in California than White non-Hispanics, but with a younger Latino population, and an older White non-Hispanic population, Latino strength is only going to continue to grow.

But Republicans’ Hispanic problem is not limited to California. The Hispanic population of Texas—which as we’ve seen has the second largest number of electoral votes—is poised to surpass the White non-Hispanic population, perhaps by the time of the 2020 presidential election. And while Texas Hispanics are somewhat more likely to be Republican than Hispanics nationally, they still favor the Democrats.

TexPopGrowthThat’s 93 out of 270 electoral votes—over one-third—that potentially get locked in for the Democrats before the campaigns start.

Since at least the early ‘90s, if not before, political strategists have been looking at the growing Hispanic population and hoping to harvest it. Although the Democrats traditionally have been the party of ethnic minority Catholics (Irish, Italians, Poles) Republicans have long thought they might be able to win Hispanics over on “family value” issues, particularly abortion, which in the ‘80s became a wedge issue for divorcing Catholics from the Democratic Party (Reagan allegedly said, “Hispanics are already Republican, they just don’t know it.”) And any Southern Californian whose been to the park on a Sunday afternoon can attest to the family orientation of the Hispanic community.

HispanicAbortionBut it’s not going to work for the GOP. Hispanics aren’t wildly enthusiastic about abortion, but in a bit of politically wonky math, 77% identify as pro-life, and 72% identify as pro-choice. That is, large numbers of Hispanics identify as both. And support for legal abortion is highest among younger Hispanics and those who are second and third generation Americans.

They’re also relatively accepting of homosexuality, and they are more supportive than the general population of same-sex marriage. We normally don’t think of Hispanics as supportive of homosexuality. There is a tendency, I think, to focus on the conservativeness of Mexican culture, and perhaps to implicitly operate off the stereotype of the machismo that sometimes is prevalent in that culture. It’s time to start paying closer attention.

SSMHispanicThis is going to be a tough demographic battle for the GOP. I’m not a Democrat, so I’m not rejoicing, I’m not a Republican, so I’m not gnashing my teeth, and I’m not a Hispanic so I have no personal stake in the outcome. But I am sitting on the sidelines with a big bucket of popcorn, watching with great interest to see how this all plays out.

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66 thoughts on “I Want to Watch Michelle Malkin Cry

  1. I really do not want to see her cry. I really, really don’t. I can’t think of much that would be less appealing. But if she does cry, thank god her makeup is good-enough quality and won’t run black streaks over her face.

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    • The photo of Malkin that I’ve seen accompanying her column always reminded me of a Vulcan. Like she should have greenish skin, pointy ears, and go by the name T’Chelle. It’s hard to fit “crying” into that image.

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  2. I’m not sure to say about the actual results.

    Non-Hispanic whites will probably still have a structural advantage for a while because of economic wealth and other factors. I am not sure how long this will last though.

    I wonder if the GOP will start courting Asians in California. Asians apparently feel that affirmative action screws them over in the UC system especially at Cal.

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    • Considering the math I don’t see how Asians could possibly be wrong about affirmative action screwing them over in the UC system.
      Race based AA is a problematic policy to begin with and when it starts regularily churning out results like directly harming the interests of one historically persecuted minority to “help” another persecuted minority then you can understand why circular firing squads comparing who was more persecuted are in danger of forming.
      Frankly I still don’t get why we don’t simply switch to class or income based AA instead.

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      • Because even though African Americans have higher poverty rates, there’s a greater absolute number of poor whites, so income/class-based AA could end up helping them and not leaving enough seats for poor black students.

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      • Even if that’s true, the Asian-American community in general has a pretty strong sense of history, which means they’re not likely to take kindly to movements that are similar to those like the ones that ended up with the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924.

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      • Prof. I can see that as being a serious problem but without the same circular firing squad mentality forming I am struggling with a solution.

        Nob, I agree the Asian-American community has a strong sense of history which is probably why they strongly dislike the idea of having their children locked out of universities and thus are not supportive of race based AA.

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      • Maybe, but “locked out” of universities is a relative thing, vs. the more concrete discrimination faced by immigrants from efforts to legislate them into second class status. Again, the history of discrimination on that front is MUCH more raw than children going to a tier 1.5 school instead of a tier 1 school.

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      • In addition to James’ point, the wealth, social, and geographical differences between white families and black families are pretty major even if you’re controlling for income. Ta-Nehisi Coates had some excellent posts on this; two points I remember are that black families tend to have much lower wealth than white families even if they’re middle-class in terms of income (due to housing discrimination, redlining, and such), and that middle-class and even wealthy black families are very likely to live in low-income neighbourhoods, whereas white families are not.

        TNC describes things far better than I can – here’s one of his posts on the subject: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/09/a-rising-tide-lifts-all-yachts/279978/

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      • I doubt it’s that simple. Centuries of slavery followed by a century and a half of discrimination are going to have a wide range of effects, many of which aren’t simple to measure or to slot into some model.

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    • “Non-Hispanic whites will probably still have a structural advantage for a while because of economic wealth and other factors. I am not sure how long this will last thoug”

      It’s not honestly deniable that the GOP is betting heavily on voter suppression. They can keep Texas red for a while, by suppressing the Hispanic vote. They can probably keep several other states consistently red, by suppressing votes.

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  3. When I see people engage in hand-wringing over demographic changes, I wish it were because of things like election outcomes. But it isn’t. If it were just about losing popular support, they’d evaluate how they can gain that support. No. It’s about white people, men, whomever losing their ill-gained power.

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  4. “They’re also relatively accepting of homosexuality, and they are more supportive than the general population of same-sex marriage.”

    I wonder how much of this is the age demographic profile of the hispanic population. *Young* people favor same sex marriage much more than old people, and the hispanic population skews a bit young – and that there are far more old white people in America than any other kind of old people due to simply who was here 50 years ago.

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    • , i suppose that’s some of it, but I think it really boils down to the difference between “family values” as a political talking point and “family values” as practiced by actual families.

      I don’t consider myself Hispanic from a racial standpoint, but my mother’s mother’s mother immigrated from Mexico, and her cultural influence has had a out-sized influence on our family dynamics.

      My great-grandparents had five children. My grandparents had seven. Family is big, defined in broad terms, and supportive: Of course not everybody is absolutely friendly all the time, but there’s an expectation that you’re supposed to be friends, and you’re supposed to provide a support structure.

      That’s not really an environment that favors homophobia in this day and age. If gay family members are out of the closet, that familial closeness forces others to confront any prejudices. And once you’ve gotten over that big barrier from “the thing you do is evil” to “live and let live”, that value for families is going to push people all the way to “looking forward to your wedding” right quick.

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  5. One of the most interesting things about Michelle Malkin is that she went to Oberlin. This fact seems odd at first hearing, but really makes perfect sense. Her prose is exactly the sort of overwrought, jargony, mixed metaphor-heavy nonsensical jibber jabber that one might expect from an over-eager liberal arts college undergrad. It’s just in service of right wing talking points.

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  6. Damn you, James, and your clever titles. I was suckered into reading this at the prospect of an operatically-suffering Michelle Malkin, and was instead suckered into an analysis of changing secular population demographics.

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  7. The simultaneous pro-life / pro-choice thing doesn’t seem the least bit surprising to me – it’s more surprising that seemingly intelligent people can be surprised by it.

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    • I think that it’s consistent and humane thinking — a preference for responsible behavior that decreases unwanted pregnancy as much as possible (responsible meaning accessing and using contraceptives responsibly, not just abstinence); and recognition that sometimes things go wrong for reasons we should not judge; and that we value a culture of life, which also respects the life of the woman who finds herself pregnant.

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      • A lot of low income religious people have these beliefs, in my anecdotal experience.
        I praise them for continuing to value life, and also understanding that shit happens, and sometimes you can’t do what you’d like.

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    • I agree with both Dragonfrog and zic, but didn’t want to digress in my post. In the comments, though, is a perfect place for such a digression. My only surprise is that the combination is eo pronounced in a particular ethnic group. It’d be interesting to further explore what’s going on there.

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      • That is an interesting question – to what degree is that an exception among Latinos (and, as you noted in the article, since Latinos skew somewhat young and whites somewhat old, to what extent is does it remain if you correct for age).

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      • An oversimplification? In the press? How can that be?

        That’s pretty much what I was thinking – being both against people taking drugs and against drug prohibition by the state is finally getting understood. The same position with respect to other things including abortion seems more or less advanced depending on the issue, though it doesn’t seem like there should be much of a leap in logic from one to another.

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    • It’s surprising if you’ve been using pro-life as short for “thinks abortion should be illegal” and pro-choice as short for “thinks abortion should be legal”. It’s difficult to see how you can believe both of those.

      If the combination means wanting abortion to be legal but wishing it to be rare I doubt you’ll find a lot of self identified pro-lifers who would disagree. To the best of my knowledge no one is arguing that there should be more abortions.

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      • In a number of arguments I’ve seen, someone opens with “I’m pro-life…” and the question quickly comes “But what about rapeincestmotherslifeindanger?” and they say “well, of course *THAT*’s okay” and the answer comes, let’s all give it together: “Then you’re pro-choice”.

        Surely I’m not the only one who has seen that.

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    • None. In her first run I’d only been in Michigan a year, had no expectation of remaining here, and was commuting to Illinois, so I neither voted nor paid much attention,* beyond noticing that her opponent, Dick Posthumus had a personality to match his last name. (He did win admiration from me, though, because when he was asked what he’d do if he lost the election, he simply said, “I’ll go back to my farm.”)

      When she ran for re-election, even my Democratic friends agreed she didn’t really deserve a second term, but of course they weren’t going to vote GOP. I don’t remember if I voted or not, but I know I didn’t vote for her.

      *I don’t like to vote if I have no long-term commitment to a place.

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      • “The boundaries are rather imprecise”.

        Tell me about it. On one side of my family we can trace back to some of the original Spanish settlers in America. In fact there are descendants that are involved in a long-running, insanely-complicated and probably ultimately-fruitless legal action against the US Government, to get monies they believe they are technically owed as a result of treaties/deeds/land changing hands between the US Govt. and Spain (psst, nobody tell the Native Americans who were, you know, there first). But I don’t claim Hispanic ancestry (though I AM an excellent lover).

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    • Also, don’t assume that first language is the same thing as preferred language or language of fluency. Children born into Spanish-speaking homes in the US still typically speak English with as much or more fluency than they speak Spanish.

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