The Census, You, and Me
Last week, the Census Bureau released its first sets of results from the 2020 census. Politically-minded folks on both sides of the aisle were quick to jump to conclusions about what these results mean for each party, particularly with regards to some long-term demographic trends. Today, we’re going to unpack some of those results and draw a few conclusions of our own.
Starting with what got alarm bells ringing in some circles: the Census Bureau found that over the last two presidential elections, Latinx, Asian-American, and multiracial voters grew as a share of the electorate, while white voters fell to 71% in 2020 from 73% in 2016.
To us, this initially felt like a good thing: the electorate is beginning to look more and more like the country. The thing is, the racial composition of the country continues to be much more diverse than that of the electorate. The white voters who continue to make up over 70% of the electorate represent just 60% of the voting-eligible population, while Black, Asian-American, and Latinx voters continue to be under-represented at the ballot box.
To that end, we’d like to direct your attention to the just-released 2020 turnout rates.
It’s clear that white, non-Hispanic voters are continuing to make it to the ballot box at much higher rates than their non-white counterparts. For our democracy to be truly representative, this needs to change.
While some politicians see an increasingly diverse electorate as a threat* to be addressed with laws restricting voting rights, we at the Voter Formation Project see it as a clear directive. We need to keep connecting with communities of color and expanding the electorate until all voices are given equal weight.
Thanks for reading, y’all! Talk soon.
“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” – James Baldwin