A revealing new study on the political impact of whites becoming a minority by 2042 finds that the Republican Party will gain support as more whites, feeling threatened about their status, embrace conservative policies.
The study from Northwestern University and published in the influential Psychological Science directly challenges news reports after the 2012 presidential election that the GOP will shrink as its base of aging white voters die off and younger whites stick to the Democratic Party.
Instead, said the study provided to Secrets, whites as a group are much more likely to shift right, potentially giving the Republican Party a bigger or at least stable base in a more sharply racially-divided nation.
"The results suggest that presumptions of the decline of the Republican Party due to the very same changing racial demographics may be premature," wrote authors Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson. “These experiments provide striking evidence that perceived group-status threat triggered by exposure to the majority-minority shift, increases whites’ endorsement of conservative political ideology and policy positions,” they added.
The study was prompted by a U.S. Census Bureau report that minority groups will make up the majority of the U.S. population by 2042. It cited a New York Times report after Republican Mitt Romney's loss in 2012 that the shift where today's minorities will become the majority will be trouble for the GOP.
In their study, groups of whites read differing reports about the impending racial change. The shift to the right was highest among those who read only reports that the change could threaten their status. Those also offered reports that whites will remain on top in income and other areas felt less threatened.
But in the end, whites came together as a group and endorsed conservative policies. “These results offer compelling evidence that making a majority-minority racial shift salient can lead whites to perceive that their racial group’s status is threatened and, in turn, to express greater political conservatism,” wrote the authors.
“Although this so-called majority-minority shift has been cited as a source of impending trouble for the Republican Party, there is reason to believe that it may lead to greater endorsement of conservative political ideology, at least among white Americans,” they added.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.