Tuesday, November 13, 2012

21st Century America: What Can Brown Do For You?


When Pat Buchanan talked about a 'cultural war' in he frightened the hell out of me. Amidst of a sea of screaming white faces in suits I wondered how a small, privileged group that has had every luxury and right afforded to it could be so hateful against a diverse multi hued conglomerate of Americans who just aspired to have half the chances promised. The rage seemed more psychological than based on any statistics. Twenty years later I can finally see what all those screaming faces were talking about. Pat Buchanan was right but not in the way he thought. A war has been waged against Black and Latino people for hundreds of years in the Western hemisphere to the advantage of European travelers. In this war every method of violence, police action, chemical warfare, judicial injustice, media manipulation, religious reasoning has been used. And after centuries of success, the cracks in the armor are starting to show in the domination of White America.

In 1992 Buchanan was right. Statisticians have looked at US population and have been waiting for the tipping point in race: that point where White voters/consumers can't control things solely just through their own power. Winning national election was possible just on getting the White vote because there were more of them. And every Republican president since Nixon has relied on winning overwhelmingly the white vote. Mitt Romney tried the same thing and pollsters and statisticians warned their campaign that this would be the last time they could ever attempt this and it probably wouldn't be that successful. 

The triumph of Obama's re-election on Tuesday wasn't his soaring rhetoric. His speeches have been mostly dull and subdued affairs. The greatest thing about the shift going on isn't the man in office, but the tidal wave that is carrying the man in office. 

Black and Latino power is uniting into an unwilling coalition of voting and consumer power. Geographically located in urban areas of the country and focused in America's major trade hubs, there is an "Urban Nation" rising up. It's comprised not just of Blacks and Latinos, but single mothers, college graduates, women, progressive Catholics and a more multi-hued variety that isn't fully served y the monolithic words: Hispanic and Latino. Central Americans and South Americans are diversifying the picture of "Latino America" and it's no longer a simple triangulation of Mexicans in LA, Cubans in Miami, and Puerto Ricans in New York. 

Florida politics have been dominated by Cubans. If this was 10 years ago, Romney would have won Florida easily. Conservative Cuban voters would have tipped Dade and Broward county to the Republicans in a straight party ticket. But the fever of anti-Castro Miami politics has broken. Latinos from other regions now outnumber older Cubans who are dying off...AND THEY DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT CASTRO. The shameless ring-kissing of presidential candidates coming down to Miami and cursing Castro out is now antiquated and unnecessary. Younger Cubans born in America have no direct hatred of Fidel and therefore, it's like hearkening back to Reagan to win over Generation X'ers who were in diapers during the Gipper's first term. 

There will be a shift in media companies, content, and concepts. This will happen first in the online community where people vote in clicks. Marketing companies that are still 95% white and male (which is mostly Madison Avenue titans) will have to do some fast adaption to a market that is shifting away marketing sweet spot: white male age 18-45.

The new Urban nation will show itself politically in the next 10 years in the Gulf region: from Texas all the way through Florida. This U-shaped corridor will be the center of power shift. New Mexico has already shifted away from voting Republican and conservative ideology. Arizona is already in the process of shifting as it's sandwiched in between two states (California and New Mexico) which are going to become more liberal in the next generation. But the political heartland of the Old South is Texas. 

Texas is so large that it's like several states glued together. Their even a state with their own political family in the Bush's. But even this privileged and favored name might have a problem winning office in a new Texas because it brings up too many bad memories and divisiveness to unite such a big and socially diverse state. There are progressive hipster based in Austin which seem like they were imported from Portland. They will never vote conservative in the 21st century.The far western region is sparse but marked by San Antonio as a center of power, but Mexican Catholics are in control of that region. Northern Texas is almost entirely rural. Dallas/Ft Worth is the shimmering twin cities of glass with energy companies, and financial markets.  Houston is a city that's a sleeping giant. Largely Mexican and Black, this coalition has been unwilling to join together so both populations have less power than their potential. But if Houston woke it, so would the rest of the minorities in Texas. It seems absurd to talk about a solidly blue Texas, but the demographic numbers are already in place. The only thing that's missing is the empowerment of people that turn that would turn them into hypothetical numbers and a tidal of actual voters, consumers, and active citizens. 

A smart media/polling company could easily capitalize on this corridor of growing power and influence. And corporations and candidates would pay a lot of money to be linked up with those gatekeepers of a new America.

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