If Mitt Romney Wins, What Happens Next?
What happens after this Tuesday is something we all should be thinking about before and after filling out our ballot for this $2 Billion Dollar Presidential Election. It is increasingly likely that Governor Mitt Romney will win, in the opinion of this writer and in full disclosure, Romney voter. But, as we near the day of reckoning, I want to pose the question of… what happens next? Especially if Governor Mitt Romney defeats President Barack Obama.
After spending since late 2004 researching, studying and producing a film entitled FEAR OF A BLACK REPUBLICAN and then trying to get it out into the World, we have learned a lot about our political system, the Two-Party System, Media Power and how Race and Politics are about to collide in a big way. Like watching a slow-motion accident or collision, one can see the actions and reactions that will likely result as our Two-Party System meets the coming demographic changes in the United States. If you ever saw the beginning of the John Travolta film, SWORDFISH, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
With the Latin-Americans population in the U.S. surpassing African Americans as America’s largest Minority group in the last decade, a racial demographic change of epic proportions is coming. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Metropolitan areas where Hispanics became the biggest minority group for the first time include Omaha, Nebraska; Lakeland, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Chicago, Illinois. As reported in The Grio (a Washington Post publication) in April, 2011: “The Census Bureau reported last month that overall Hispanic population jumped 42 percent in the past decade to 50.5 million, or 1 in 6 Americans. Blacks increased a modest 11 percent to 37.7 million, with declines particularly evident in big cities such as New York; Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; and St. Louis, Missouri.” Also, according to a U.S. Census report in 2011, the Minority birth rate has surpassed the White birth rate. The demographic complexion, no pun intended, is clearly changing and we are at the apex of that change. In November, 2012, this begs the question: What could this mean for our future political system as we vote for our next President and Vice-President?
Anyone who watched both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions could see that the demographic group being appealed to most were Latinos. Latinos apparently are the future, even though many cannot vote in the current electoral cycle. Depending on what happens with Immigration Reform, their numbers may increase significantly enough to unintentionally do something that the Republican Party cannot do itself – make the majority of African American voters become FREE AGENTS. As Hispanics gain more and more political power, African Americans will have to take a more serious look at what they are getting for their vote and for their donor buck. On a socio-economic level, I don’t believe that the Top Leadership of either Part is seeing what I’m seeing. If they were, then more Republican candidates than Catherine Davis (a Republican Congressional Candidate in our film, FEAR OF A BLACK REPUBLICAN) would have spoken out on the effects of Illegal Immigration on African Americans and other minority Americans. Can you name one Black, White or Latino politician at the national level who has ever done that? Nope, neither can I and I spent 6 ½ years making a film about the Black Vote and our Two-Party System.
On many local-levels around our country, conversations are being had on where do we go from here? In cities that are still suffering from the effects of “White Flight,” local political junkies, candidates, supporters and Party members are talking about who’s on who’s team and if there will be any loyalty left. American is about to begin an era of sea change as the Baby Boomers age, White Birth Rate goes down, Latinos move in or become naturalized citizens and African Americans stay static or decline population-wise. Other groups will have a role of course, but like the “Big 3 Automobile Companies” – there are the “Big 3 Demographic Groups.” White, Black, Latino.
As Blacks realize (and they will) that the Democratic Party doesn’t need them to win anymore because of the Latino electorate’s superior numbers, these folks will have to find a place to go. And the Republican Party will have to find new voters to replace all the ones they are losing to nursing homes and the great beyond. Not to be flippant, but the African American electorate, which is not a monolith, will likely need a new home and the Republican Party will need new bodies to fill the seats in a suddenly emptier “Big Tent.” It may be a marriage of convenience, but as both Parties court the Latino vote and use the Latino/Spanish-language Media to do so – culturally they will likely push many Americans into a corner. Will we culturally and politically be a Country of Americans with a shared culture and political system or will we become a disparate culture and political system?
After interviewing many people of all political stripes in the Black and White communities and speaking with many Republicans and Democrats, I can tell you that many people are looking for options other than those they have now. No more so, than the folks we met in the African American community whose only political option is the Democratic Party. Presently, for many of them, the Republican Party is nowhere to be found. At many screenings of FEAR OF A BLACK REPUBLICAN, my Co-Producer Tamara and I were told by audience members that we were the first Republicans they had ever met. Which is sad for the African American community and the Republican Party because both the Republican Party and the African American community cannot have a strong future without repairing their shared past.
Right now, many African Americans do not know enough about the Republican Party to consider them a new home. Unfortunately, many of their impressions have been informed by a corrupt Main-Stream Media propagating a racist image of the GOP and a Democratic Party willing and able to take advantage of the Republican Party’s absence in Urban and African American areas. Now there are some racists in the Republican Party (and just as many in the Democratic Party), but nowhere near the numbers projected in the U.S. Media or by those running the Democratic Party structure. As Leo Tolstoy famously said, “Man’s inhumanity to man is not only what it denies him, but what it keeps him from even wanting.” Right now, both major political Parties are unintentionally making Tolstoy’s quote ring true. But “Change” will come and come soon.
Based on our experiences, I believe this “Change” will come for the under-40 crowd who are less bound by tradition, color or a belief in not encountering “the Other.” Criss-crossing the country while screening our film, we also encountered many people of all ages and demographics who said they’d be in no Party if they had a choice. They would prefer to be registered as Independents, rather than join any political Party at all.
A surprising trend, particularly in the South, was how many African American and minorities under 30 we met… who were supporters of Ron Paul. While they do not represent even a large minority of African Americans or Urban Americans, their numbers are worth keeping an eye on even if Congressman Paul rides off into the sunset. At our New Jersey Premiere, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele spoke of the possible GOP decline towards a modern “Whig Party” if they do not change the way they do business. Even though my Generation X is beginning to assume the reins of power with the likely Vice-Presidency of Paul Ryan and our generation is more diverse than the Baby Boomer generation now in power – we can’t do it on our own. Nor should we. To keep the Republican Party viable for this next century, Gen-X/Gen-Y and the Millenials must figure a way to maintain GOP core values while bringing their message to as many people as possible. We won’t need a “special messages for special people” philosophy like our Democratic counterparts operate from. Generationally, our communications structure and culture are already there for us to employ in getting a strong, consistent Republican/Conservative message out to the people. And finally assuming the levers of power will help, but as Gen-Xers know very well, Baby Boomers aren’t so quick to leave the stage. Yes, I did go there, but I’m trying to save a Political Party here.
There are a host of Republican “rock stars” coming up on the horizon: Scott Walker, Allen West, Tim Scott, Marco Rubio, Governor of New Mexico, Mia Love, Nikki Haley. Change will come for sure whether the Democrats, Independents or our Country is ready for it. What Parties are on the Ballot, when the aforementioned Republicans and Democrats like Cory Booker and Duval Patrick retire, may not be just the Two we mainly see and have today. The advent and decline of the Obama Administration and the U.S. Economy brought us the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
At least with the Tea Party, the core inner-workings of a third political Party now exist. With Occupy Wall Street, its anarchist forgings and operations may not allow for it to be a viable Party on its own. But, like Williams Ayers and Geraldine Dorn, and the remnants of The Weathermen and Students for a Democratic Society, they will need a home for the next 30-40 years. In all likelihood, they WILL find one. The likelihood is that the Democratic Party will embrace centrist Clintonism once again and the Donkeys riding Hard-Left will need to re-make what they had for June, 2008 until November, 2012. Don’t underestimate them. They will be back and like Van Jones famously said, “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.” They are among us, wearing nice suits and presenting a quieter and cleaner image for the world and for a just cause only they can see. The only real blunt to the Occupy Wall Street crowd and Van Jones-types will be a more urban-minded (not liberal) Republican Party and a more conservative Democratic Party. Ironically, in stereotypical fashion, each Party may need to become more like each other over the coming decades in order to save each other. This would create a larger middle and a wider home for many disgruntled “Independents.” Without compromising their values, Republicans could preserve our current system and the stability that it provides our country’s political system. The key to do this will be the Republican Party’s future relationship with African America and Urban America. In this case, the past will be epilogue.
In reality, many of the pragmatists and experts on television or I have barely an inkling of what our Party-guided political system will look like in 25-50-100 years. One thing is for sure, technology, ethnic demographics, population growth (and non-growth) will all play a part together in forging the future of American Politics. Looking forward, as Mae West said… It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” Hopefully, we’ll all be ready for this amazing political ride and have good seats belts. We’re going to need them.