Dick Spotswood: Shifting Marin voters illustrate America’s political reshuffling – Marin Independent Journal

Demographics are a crucial element in understanding trends in electoral politics. In recent decades, sociology became an essential field to comprehend how and why American politics radically changed. Today’s Democrats and Republicans are not your parents’ political parties.

Marin’s political orientation transitioned in the past quarter century. Well into the second half of the 20th century, Marin was a semi-rural, suburban county that tended to vote for liberal Republican environmentalists like Bill Filante and Bill Bagley in the Assembly, as well as Peter Behr in the state Senate. In the early 21st century, when the two parties changed, Marin became a reliably Democratic bailiwick.

American political reshuffling took off when the civil rights movement and passage of the Voting Rights Act changed the orientation of politics in the American South. Accelerated by former President Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy,” the post-Civil War, White, Democratic Party and the multiracial, post-Abraham Lincoln Republican Party switched ideologies.

Once the Republicans decided in the 2000s to emphasize cultural issues and Democrats responded by identifying with the progressive side of social movements, the second great switch in America’s partisan identification arose.

Historically, the GOP represented business interests and the aspirations of the upper middle class. Democrats were properly identified as the party of “the working man,” academics, Black and White ethnic voters.

Marin’s switch was due to its voters’ educational attainment, employment and social class, which all tend to determine one’s views on cultural issues (including sexuality, abortion, election legitimacy, science and health care). That propelled many Marinites to shift from the “red” to the “blue” camp.

Marin was categorized by the U.S. News & World Report digital media company as America’s “sixth richest county” with a median income of $129,549. The nation’s “richest county” is Loudoun County, Virginia outside Washington, D.C.

Comparing party registration contrasting 1999 with 2023 illustrates a trend. The data’s source is California secretary of state’s reports of registration dated February 10, 1999, and February 23, 2023.

In 1999, Marin County voters were 51.3% Democratic, 28.6% Republicans and 15.4% were what is now termed “no party preference.” In 2023, 62.3% are Democrats, 12.21% are Republican and 19.86% list no party preference.

Over those years, Marin’s total voter registration climbed from 137,396 to 170,811. Many no-party-preference voters are independents, like me, who have problems with both of the major parties as constituted today.

Closely examining three Marin towns, which are also among the county’s most prosperous, illustrates the development further.

Belvedere registered voters in 1999 included 51.5% Republicans, 33.4% Democrats and 12.2% with no party preference. Fast forward to 2023. At last count, 20.1% of them are Republicans, 49.3% are Democrats and 24.4% are no-party independents.

Ross’ political evolution is similar. In 1999, 41.8% were Republicans, 39.1% Democrats and 14.7 listed no party preference. In 2023, 16.2% of Ross voters are in the GOP, 52.1% Democrats and 26.6% list no party.

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *