This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Demographics of the Government Shutdown

I've mentioned before that, in my view, much of the angst and extreme behavior among right-wing Republicans in the US is a reaction to the changing demographics of the country. That idea found full expression yesterday in a blog post on Bloomberg View by Francis Wilkinson.
A lot of Americans were not ready for a mixed-race president. They weren't ready for gay marriage. They weren't ready for the wave of legal and illegal immigration that redefined American demographics over the past two or three decades, bringing in lots of nonwhites. They weren't ready -- who was? -- for the brutal effects of globalization on working- and middle-class Americans or the devastating fallout from the financial crisis. 
Their representatives didn't stop Obamacare. And their side didn't "take back America" in 2012 as Fox News and conservative radio personalities led them to believe they would. They feel the culture is running away from them (and they're mostly right). They lack the power to control their own government. But they still have just enough to shut it down.
These comments were based, by the way, on data collected by a group of Democrats, headed by Stan Greenberg, a pollster who, in this case, engaged different groups of Republicans in focus groups. The fact that the data come from Democrats may make them suspicious to some, but they have the ring of truth.

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