The Effect Race Could Have on the Race

Appearing in:

The Orange County Register

Until now, the presidential campaign largely has been dominated by issues of class, driving the improbable rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. But as we head toward Super Tuesday – which will focus largely on Southern states – racial issues may assume greater importance.

In the next few weeks, you can pick your states and likely party primary winners largely by examining the ethnic profiles of the electorate. Where white voters predominate, the most radical candidate, Sanders, ironically, does best. In contrast, states that are more heavily minority favor the more mainstream Hillary Clinton. In some states, notably Texas and Florida, larger minority representation may slow Trump’s seemingly unstoppable momentum.

What about age? Older voters are overwhelmingly white, and in states where they constitute a large share of the electorate – a full one-third of GOP caucus-goers in Nevada – the Donald is the bomb. Hillary, too, has done best with older voters, while Sanders dominates the party’s younger electorate.

Racial gap in Democratic Party

Racial divisions will shape the Democratic results Super Tuesday. The party’s Southern flank, weak in November but important now, tends to be dominated by African Americans and, in Texas, at least, also Latinos. In some states, like South Carolina, where African Americans constitute upward of a majority, Clinton has proven all but unbeatable.

In contrast, Clinton did poorly in New Hampshire (94 percent white) and barely earned a tie in Iowa (92 percent white). Generally speaking, the whiter the state, the better things tend to appear for Sanders.

Read the entire piece at The Orange County Register.

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of He is the Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism. His newest book, The Human City: Urbanism for the rest of us, will be published in April by Agate. He is also author of The New Class ConflictThe City: A Global History, and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. He lives in Orange County, CA.