The U.S. Census Bureau's projections for the demographics of the country in 2060 have come out, and they offer an interesting glimpse into America's demographic future, with Hispanics, Asians, and people over 65 expected to double in number.
This is not particularly shocking news, but to have it in an government report lends some official inevitability to it. Politically, there has been much talk of Republicans needing to adapt to this demographic shift. However, major party U.S. politics is not about demographics, about culture. Guessing the country's cultural landscape 50 years in the future is foolhardy. The GOP should focus on operating in the ever changing present as the best way to be ready for the demographically different future.
There is a vague idea that because 70% or more Hispanic adults are Catholic that they are socially conservative and will naturally fall into the Republican Party if the party was more accepting of Hispanics in general. expecting Hispanics to just eventually fall into your is optimistic to say the least. Hispanic Catholics may be largely socially conservative, but it may also be the case that they are largely in favor of protecting the social safety net — a key priority of the Democratic Party. Besides, relying on social conservatism is merely an excuse for the status quo while ignoring the young socially liberal, fiscally conservative libertarians that the Republican brand should be attempting to court.
If the Republicans double down on social conservatism in order to reach Hispanics, they risk alienating the cultural future of the country. Gay marriage is starting to resonate rhetorically as “marriage equality” across the country, and while an outlier, atheists and agnostics are two of the fastest growing religious groups (if you can call them that) in America as a whole. Overall, it seems social conservatism is on the decline.
Planning for 40 years in the future is pointless for major U.S. political parties. They should focus their attentions to the present instead. Comprehensive immigration reform is something the GOP is sorely lacking that could definitely garner Hispanic support for the party if done correctly. Also, perhaps having a good plan for… anything could garner minority support for the Republicans. Too often the GOP has come across as a party that rejects everything but offers no actual alternatives besides vague allusions to the free market. In order for minorities, or anyone for that matter, to be tempted by the GOP, they need to know the plan for right now let alone the future. Having a plan for the present gives prospective voters, no matter their ethnicity, a chance to think the GOP might actually have a viable plan for the future as well.