Our political parties have an alarming problem with white middle-class voters.
Both parties failed to connect with them in this presidential election — from rural voters in the Midwest, Plains and Allegheny Mountains to Iowa’s “Reagan Democrats” (who did not show up for Republican Mitt Romney), as well as along the Appalachian Trail from New York to Mississippi (which rejected Democrat Barack Obama).
Many pundits point to high turnout by minorities and young people as the key component of Obama’s victory.
But Sean Trende, an analyst at RealClearPolitics, points to a problem that flew under the radar: White voters did not turn out, and they did not turn out in significant numbers.
Based on preliminary numbers, Trende estimated that, on Election Day, about 91.6 million votes were cast by whites, 16.6 million by blacks, 12.7 million by Latinos and 6.3 million by other groups (not all final counts are in yet).
Compare this with 2008, when there were 98.6 million white voters, 16.3 million blacks, 11 million Latinos and 5.9 million from other groups.
Assuming 7 million white votes were outstanding, he estimated that “the African-American vote only increased by about 300,000 votes, or 0.2 percent, from 2008 to 2012. The Latino vote increased by a healthier 1.7 million votes, while the ‘other’ category increased by about 470,000 votes.”
What stands out to Trende is the decline in the number of whites for both parties.