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Brown is the New White: America's Racial Transformation and the Future of U.S. Politics

It’s too late. There’s nowhere to run. Moderate White Americans have joined forces with moderate non-White Americans in a voting bloc that’s a clear majority. And it only gets worse from here. Or better, depending on how you look at it.

At the City Club of Cleveland: a Citadel of Free Speech, on Friday January 10, 2014, Steve Phillips, of PAC Plus, presented fulfillment of the fears of conservative Caucasian Americans in an equation:

29 + 26 = 55

Yes, 64% of America is still White, but progressive Whites constitute 26% of the country, and the non-conservative non-White population is about 29%.

And we’ve all heard the statistic that by 2050, White Americans will be outnumbered by non-White Americans.

Steve addressed the implications of this “demographic revolution” towards a “new majority” for both politics and policy.

He explored that through census data we see that the South and Southwest US is becoming the new political battleground. We saw in Colorado in 2010 that 19% of the voters of color were able to hold the progressive ground against the groundswell of Republican political action. He showed that soon 24 states in the South and Southwest will soon have 19% voters of color, and when that happens, those states, traditionally fervently bastions of White conservatives, will provide progressives the critical mass to enjoy hegemony.

In fact, he said, if Texas turns from Red to Blue, it will be “nearly impossible” for a Republican to win the White House for 20 years.

He cautioned that while the Tea Party is currently distracting Republican centrists, it’s likely that the Tea Party fervor has peaked. We see Republican Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey -- while he’s had a painful week – has made huge progress in “meticulously distancing himself from the reactionary elements in his party,” and even recently bringing immigration reform to his state.

Policy-wise, this shift may force politicians to cater to those underserved populations such as Latinos, 35% of whom lack health insurance.

Smart politicians should also use raising the minimum wage to appeal to poor Americans of all ethnicities – Phillips says the party that figures that out will rule for years to come.

Phillips closed by calling attention to his title, “Brown is the New White,” which he said gets attention because it addresses “deep-seated fears and insecurities” about change in our great Nation. America need not fear: as non-Whites increase in numbers, they also increase in education, wealth, and their values increasingly resemble those of White Americans. Phillips quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

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