What did this presidential election show about the changing demographics of the United States?

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The exact meaning of this presidential election will be debated for some time to come.  This will be especially important for the Republican Party as they try to determine how they can improve their chances to win presidential elections.  They have now won the popular vote in only one of the last six elections and the demographics of the country are, arguably, turning against them.

One thing that the election shows is that the changing demographics in the country as a whole are also turning into changing demographics in the electorate.  Of the people who voted in this election, 28% were not white.  This is higher than in previous years and it reflects the way in which the minority population is growing (driven largely by a growth in the Hispanic population).

What is less clear is how this demographic change will matter.  Many Republican strategists believe that this change in demographics will actually help their party down the road.  They believe that Hispanics are “natural conservatives” who will come to vote Republican if the GOP can come up with a less harsh-sounding policy on immigration.  However, Democrats are arguing that the Republicans cannot do this without alienating their white base. 

Thus, while the demographics are clearly changing, we cannot be sure how this change will end up affecting future presidential elections.


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