A Look Back Into Voting History of Minorities

By Juan Haines

A coalition of America’s minorities, voting with liberal Whites, could dramatically change the nation’s political landscape, a progressive author says. However, disenfranchisement laws diminish the impact of the largest minority group, African-Americans.

States throughout the country have varying laws that play a role in taking away a person’s right to vote. In California, the right to vote is only temporarily denied to those serving a sentence for serious felonies.

Steve Phillips, author of Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution has Created a New American Majority (2016), goes back into history, breaking down elections and voting patterns to demonstrate the relevancy of a coalition of like-minded voters. That includes African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans and Native-Americans along with the traditional progressive White voters in what he calls the New American Majority.

America has a progressive, multiracial majority right now that has the power to elect presidents and reshape American politics, policies and priorities for decades to come.

He reports progressive people of color now comprise 23 percent of all the eligible voters in America, and progressive Whites account for 28 percent of all eligible voters. Together, these constituencies make up 51 percent of the country’s citizen voting age population, and that majority is getting bigger every day.

Brown is the New White is a critique of the progressive movement, in how it fails to grasp the changing demographics of the U.S. and issues related to the New American Majority. Instead, current progressive leaders concentrate on America’s longstanding preference for White people and how that preoccupation continues to influence all aspects of politics and society. Phillips explains why it is wrong for the progressive movement to “chase” White swing voters.

The book contends the New American Majority should focus heavily on racism, discrimination, injustice and inequality.

We don’t have to wait for every single person to fully understand and embrace every single racial or ethnic group to make progress toward greater racial and economic justice. In fact, we can’t afford to wait. We can work and win at the ballot box while we learn and grow in the movement.

One of the most striking of the claims in Brown is the New White is data that shows how the Democrats lost the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and, subsequently, lost the Senate in 2014. Philips attributes both losses to the Democratic Party ignoring issues relevant to the New American Majority. His analysis concludes they stayed home and did not vote, and that pointedly affected the elections.

Brown is the New White is instructional. Phillips says that progressives need to empower more people of color, listen to its constituency and take charge of the future as the New American Majority.

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