Voices & Choices

Change on the Horizon: How Will Demographic Shifts Affect Presidential Elections?

Change on the Horizon: How Will Demographic Shifts Affect Presidential Elections?
This week Doug Sosnik, a former adviser of President Bill Clinton, published a piece in the POLITICO Magazine outlining the current state of American presidential election politics -- and its future.

Sosnik pointed out that many changes are occurring in the United States -- technological, economical, sociological, and demographic. Voting patterns in presidential elections, however, have remained largely the same. He writes:
With most states locked in by one party or the other, the presidential contest has largely narrowed to five states that have been consistently competitive in the past six elections: Ohio (which has long been at the 50-yard line for American politics) and four of the fastest growing states in the country -- Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia. While these states represent only 15 percent of the population and just 75 electoral votes, they have determined the balance of power in close elections during this period...
Sosnik predicts that the dramatic changes in demographics, including the rapid growth of minority populations in several states, will produce changes in presidential elections, or "a shift that is going to change which voters matter and which states matter."

The current system produces a dichotomy between states: swing or safe. Swing states attract all the attention, and safe states are ignored. Changing demographics may affect which states receive the most attention, but it will not eliminate this dichotomy, which leaves most voters on the sidelines of presidential elections.

FairVote believes that every voter in every state should matter in presidential elections. The National Popular Vote plan would make that a reality. To learn more, visit FairVote's website.

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