We keep hearing that the Republican Party is in danger of becoming extinct. Not only is the GOP alienating millions of voters and standing by policy positions in the face of heavy opposition, their base of voters is literally in decline, as are the ratings of conservative media.
The latest chart of the day via Wonkwire shows population distribution among various age groups from 1905 to the present day but also projects age distributions up to 2060. What does this have to do with the decline of the Republican Party and right-wing media? By 2025, just 12 years from now, the largest age group in America will be those under 40 years of age. And that spells doom for the GOP and their various propaganda arms.
Here’s the chart:
Voters over 50 largely supported Republicans in 2008 and 2012, with their primary supporters being over 65. 52% of those 50-64 voted in favor of conservatives in 2012. That percentage ballooned to 56% among those 65 and older, a demographic which comprises of 17% of voters in America.
But over the last three presidential elections in 2004, 2008, and 2012, the youth of America has become ever more powerful in deciding who will run the country and what policies will be implemented. According to the Huffington Post, young people aged 18-29, also known as millennials, represented almost 20% of vote in 2012 and 60% of them voted Democratic. In 2004, millenials comprised 17% of the vote and 18% in 2008. That means this group is growing and that’s very bad news for Republicans, whose main base is comprised of mostly older white males.
It’s a stark thought, but it is reality. As the conservative base of voters pass on to the great beyond, millennial voters are taking over in far larger numbers. In other words, the Republican Party could be damn near extinct in a matter of a couple decades, and so too could conservative media.
According to Pew Research, the average age of a listener to conservative radio is 67-years-old. Meanwhile, the average age of Fox viewers is 65. Both averages fall in line with the age group that supports Republicans the most. Fox News has recently seen a large ratings decline among younger viewers, which doesn’t bode well for the conservative channel in the future as their main audience dies off.
Another aspect in the changing demographics that will affect the GOP in the years to come is the rise of Latinos. It is already projected that Texas could turn blue by 2025 because the Latino population is beginning to outnumber whites there and in other red states, particularly Florida. And given the fact that 71% of Latinos voted Democratic in 2012, Republicans must be terrified of the population changes that are occurring across the country. The rise in Latino voters also corresponds with the rise of millennials as the millennial generation is more diverse than any other past generation of Americans.
In contrast, the GOP is supported by an older generation of Americans who factor race into their choice at the voting booth. According to Gallup, those who are 40 and older consider the race of candidates when voting and they tend to vote more for Republicans. However, among minority groups of all ages and millenials, race hardly plays a role at all. Considering that most Republicans live in a Southern state, it would seem that the 50 and older crowd yearns for an era when minorities were discriminated against and their voices were suppressed. That lines up perfectly with what Republicans are doing in states they control.
But the Republican Party cannot possibly last much longer by catering only to their extreme aging white base of voters. Millennials are poised to take over America’s compass and if the GOP doesn’t act to attract them soon, it will be too late.
On a myriad of issues, young people are far more progressive than the older generations. Advocates For Youth reports that millennials overwhelmingly support abortion rights, marriage equality, and more access to contraception.
The Center For American Progress also reveals that millennials support labor unions, progressive tax policies, and gender equality and fall on the liberal side of many other issues.
More than two-thirds of millennials support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
- More than 60% reject creationism.
- More than half support separation of church and state.
- Over 80% support universal health care.
- 91% support raising the minimum wage and ensuring it keeps up with inflation.
- Over 90% support bigger investments in education funding.
- Over 75% support renewable energy and 60% support protecting the environment.
- Over 70% support increased regulation of business.
In issue after issue, millennials reject the current conservative stance. In short, Republicans are in danger of losing an entire generation of American voters because they refuse to compromise or change their positions.
America’s future certainly looks much brighter now. The current conservative base is one that longs for an America that no longer exists. America is being left behind by the rest of the developed world because conservatives refuse to let America move forward to compete. Conservatives want America to compete by taking us backwards to anti-worker, anti-health care, pro-discrimination times. But when millennials take charge, things will change whether conservatives like it or not. Because in the end, there won’t be enough of them left to stand in opposition. So if the GOP wants to be relevant in the future, they will have to change their tune on many issues, thereby alienating the extreme but declining voices in the party, or risk political peril for generations.