Yes, There Will Be a Social Revolution in America
Is it time for an American Spring?
November 13, 2012
What lies ahead in the United States, by force of demographics as well as due to a highly imbalanced income distribution at present, is a dynamic shift away from the country’s established political and economic power structure. That structure has been amazingly white and male-dominated to date.
In its place, we will see a multiracial society emerge that makes the most of its diversity. The social innovation lies in effecting that takeover of the country in a peaceful, non-bloody manner.
At a time when 93% of the growth in national income has been going to the richest 1% of Americans, according to economist Emmanuel Saez, and when average household incomes have been stagnant since 1988, it is clear that the economic balance sheet of U.S. society needs to be structured differently.
To be sure, that is the scenario which the Republican coalition, from Fox News to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, is ardently seeking to prevent.
However, no matter how desperate they may become, Republicans are fighting a rearguard battle. They can only seek to delay the inevitable. In that process, they are bound to become increasingly a party of true believers, mostly based in the American South and gated communities elsewhere.
But even that is not a sure thing. With shifting demographics, reliably Republican states such as Texas and Georgia could be in play for the Democrats in future presidential elections.
The Republicans’ main appeal is to the shrinking segments of the electorate. Nonwhite voters make up 28% of the U.S. electorate, and rising.
The Republicans are trying to comfort themselves with two different scenarios that they see as a way out of their predicament. The first is the Marco Rubio option, a messianic, quasi-Obama savior that will help them transcend ideological boundaries and tap deep into the minority voting pool.
The problem with that option is not just that it’s old hat (“Obama’s done that, we have been there as a nation”). It’s that a Rubio candidacy runs counter to the long-standing Republican criticism of Obama as a neophyte president with no executive experience and only a few years of service in the U.S. Senate. (Rubio has served in the U.S. Senate since January 2011.)
Also, tapping a standard-bearer who happens to be minority without publicly throwing the most vocal firebrands from the Republican Party (e.g., Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh) won’t substantially change the GOP’s image. It would be like putting lipstick on a pig. Few minorities would feel comfortable in a party that tolerates, and is afraid of offending, those types of spokespeople.
The second scenario is that most minorities, especially Asian and Hispanic ones, are essentially social and fiscal conservatives in the GOP mold. They can thus be tapped into as a reliable voting bloc if only the Republicans elected to focus a bit more on that voter pool. In other words, “it’s communications, stupid.”
That argument overlooks one important fact — that immigrant communities, as their economic status improves, lose much of their traditional conservatism and are keen to develop their own modern, open-minded lifestyle.
The biggest hurdle for the Republicans is that the entire narrative of the nation is changing in front of their own eyes. The United States is moving to a racially integrated society that, unlike all other major economies, is amazingly diverse in character.
That trend is no longer limited to major metropolitan areas, but increasingly also affects smaller towns in predominantly rural areas of the country. In those areas, often the only sense of economic and social dynamism that is to be had, given the overall slow-growth economy, stems from making the most of the underlying ethnic diversity.
In other words, as it comes to terms with being a post-racial society, the United States can finally reconnect to its true birth potential — of being, by its very nature, the most globalist society on earth.
While charting that course will be difficult, it is clear that values such as education and inclusiveness, rather than religion and military security, are going to carry the day.
Broadly speaking, the latter two “values” have traditionally been associated with socially and economically insecure communities. That used to be the immigrants. But they are seeing a new morning in America — and it is definitely not Ronald Reagan’s morning that they have in their sights.
In contrast, whites without an excellent education are liable to see nothing but stagnation, stagnation and stagnation. That is very demotivating — and stands in stark contrast to the sentiment in the large U.S. immigrant community that still remembers the lesser prospects they had in their home countries.
They are determined to make the most of their new life on American shores. In the process, they are bound to give America a healthy new dose of its belief in its future potential again — but it is definitely a nonwhite, non-Republican vision they have in mind.
As it comes to terms with being a post-racial society, the United States can finally reconnect to its true birth potential — being the most globalist society on earth.
The reason for the "no revolution" scenario was that economic benefits were always distributed fairly enough that there was no need to topple the established social order.
Tapping a standard-bearer who happens to be minority without publicly throwing the most vocal firebrands from the party won't change the GOP's image.
Immigrants are seeing a new morning in America — and it is definitely not Ronald Reagan's morning that they have in their sights.