The Political Story of a Changing America

Politics at Olin is weird, mostly because we really just don’t talk about it much. Given the overwhelmingly liberal tilt of our student body, this is not terribly surprising. We are often just yelling into an echo chamber, but this comes at a cost. While many Oliners are politically engaged and reasonably knowledgeable about political issues, we lack a real depth of understanding of politics in America. It is my plan to change this. I want to tell you all a story, the story of how demographic changes shape the modern American political landscape and what the future of American politics may look like because of it.

But let’s back up a second first. Who am I? My name is Diego, and for those of you who haven’t met me, I am a junior studying mechanical engineering. I am also doing my AHS concentration in political science. American politics is my obsession – to an unhealthy level. I am absolutely fascinated by it, and I want to share this all with you. I am, like most Oliners, a solid liberal Democrat, but to be clear, I am not here to preach liberal policies. I want to talk about American politics on a deeper, more fundamental level than any single policy.

In 1970, 87.5% of all Americans were white. By 2010, that number was only 72.4%. It is projected that by around 2042, America will have become a majority-minority country. That is, white Americans will no longer be a majority of the population. In 2013, non-white infants outnumbered white infants for the first time in US history. The ratio of white births to deaths has continued to decrease while immigration is skyrocketing. All of this means one thing: America is becoming more brown, and quickly. No amount of policy or politics can change this, but the effects of these changes on American politics and society cannot be understated. In the oft derided, but telling, words of conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, “They’re changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

Over the course of this semester, and potentially the next, I will be writing a series of articles for Frankly Speaking. The topic is going to be the future of American politics as seen through the lens of demographic change. This article is just a preview of what’s to come. This is a complicated topic that cannot be summed up in a single article; there are a multitude of topics we need to understand before we can look at the future of American politics holistically. Next month, we’ll be diving all the way in with a look at asymmetric politics and the fundamental differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. After that, expect articles on human reactions to demographic changes, the future of both the Democratic and Republican parties, and constitutional hardball. I’m going to throw a lot at all of you, and much of it is going to be quite wonky and in-depth, but these demographic changes have already had a profound impact on American politics, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Finally, this is not a one sided discussion. I want to hear what you think! I am studying away in Singapore this semester, so unfortunately you cannot yell at me in person, but if you have something you want to add, or something wasn’t clear to you, feel free to shoot me an email or message.

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