Diversity Wins: Demographic, Psychographic Shifts Decided Election

Youth and diversity trumped baby boomers and heterogeneous voting blocks.

By Luke Visconti


This time, it wasn't about the excitement of "hope" and "change." It was a campaign that seemed to me to be rather uninspiring and visionless, in the middle of a searing, aching, endless recession that is destroying more household wealth than anything in 80 years. And in who won lies a lesson for business.

This election was about diversity. As I watched John King go over the election map on CNN the night of the election, it was clear to me that there were key counties in key states that were going to determine the electoral college—and that diversity was determining the trends overall as well. Of the nine battleground states, the President Obama lost only North Carolina.

If you look at who voted for each candidate, the demographics shaped up as older and whiter versus younger and multiethnic. I think Neil King's analysis in the above video is exactly right. One amazing number is that Asian voters went from 2 percent of the total votes four years ago to 3 percent on Tuesday—but almost 75 percent of Asians voted for the president. In the end, youth will win over age and our country will become more than 50 percent nonwhite by 2043. (This year was the first time there were more nonwhite births than white births.) What most people fail to comprehend is that the rising trend influences the declining demographic: As families become more diverse, as recognition and respect of LGBT relatives becomes a part of more family realities, as the less-diverse old realize they need to have the support of the more-diverse young to pay for their Medicare, the demographic shift becomes a seismic psychographic shift.

Going beyond just the presidential race, there were remarkable wins for women candidates and same-gender marriage initiatives, and stunning, complete losses for male candidates who decided their opinions on rape and pregnancy were important to discuss. This election is a clear mandate from the voters.

Here are major victories to note:

Women Candidates Elected at Historic Numbers

At least 19 women will occupy seats in Congress, increasing the total number of women by 12 percent (from 17 to 19). This marks a new high in United States history.

Women that won reelection were: Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). Deb Fischer (Neb.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) will join the Senate. Additionally, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers, about half of all Senate races had at least one female candidate.

Openly Gay Candidates Gain Seats in Senate & House

It was a landmark election for LGBT candidates, as seven of the eight running for seats won. Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate; two openly gay Congressmen (Jared Polis of Colo. and David Cicilline of R.I.) won reelection; and as many as four other first-time candidates—including openly bisexual Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—could be sworn in come January.

Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Rights

Referendums showed that voters are ready for a change, as attitudes toward same-sex marriage begin to shift.

Healthcare

President Obama's win means that the Affordable Care Act should stand.

'Legitimate Rape,' 'God Intended Pregnancy,' & Other Male Politician Gaffes

These male politicians decided to make rape and abortion "their" issues—and they suffered at the polls.

Lack of Diversity in Mainstream Press

72% of Newspaper Articles About The General Election Written by Men

 

For more on the election and a look back at the candidates' campaigns, read DiversityInc's coverage:

DOMA Rejected by Federal Court in N.Y.

President Obama Supports Marriage Equality

Ruling Against Defense of Marriage Act Is Major Diversity Victory

Diversity & Inclusion Includes Gays & Lesbians: Is Black Church Getting the Message?

Ask the White Guy: What Changed Obama's Mind About Gay Rights?

Can You Prevent a 'Todd Akin' Moment at Your Organization?

'God Intended' Pregnancy After Rape, Says Romney's Candidate

 

Vickers "Vic" Cunningham, a former Dallas judge who's running in the Republican primary runoff election for Dallas county commissioner on Tuesday, decided to provide his children a monetary incentive to condone homophobia and racism. Cunningham set up a living trust with a clause rewarding his children if they marry a white, straight Christian.

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Janelle Monáe Opens Up About 'Being a Queer Black Woman in America'

"I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf***er," the singer said.

REUTERS

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