In my new incarnation, I'm right beside a big high school in east end Toronto. Now I'm exposed to teenagers.
First, the diversity is really striking. According to Statistics Canada, by 2017 visible minorities will become the majority in Toronto and Vancouver. I think that might already be the case at this school. Riding the streetcar, I'll be listening to a conversation behind me in like, totally, Canajan voices, like, totally teenager uptalk. Then I turn around and see representatives from all the families on earth.
And it's going to get better. Here's a report from the US about the growing influence of the young, which will lead to the end of the so-called culture wars.
Is this just a temporary breathing spell in the culture wars due to the sudden spike in concern about other issues—first Iraq, then the economy—or is a fundamental shift in our politics taking place? I believe the latter is the case since, as this report establishes, ongoing demographic shifts have seriously eroded the mass base for culture wars politics and will continue to erode this base in the future. That means that the advantage conservatives can gain from culture wars politics will steadily diminish and, consequently, so will conservatives’ incentive to engage in such politics.
There are numerous examples of how demographic change is undermining the culture wars. First, Millennials—the generation with birth years 1978 to 2000—support gay marriage, take race and gender equality as givens, are tolerant of religious and family diversity, have an open and positive attitude toward immigration, and generally display little interest in fighting over the divisive social issues of the past. The number of voting age Millennials will increase by about 4.5 million a year between now and 2018, and the number of Millennials who are eligible voters will increase by about 4 million a year. The 2020 presidential election will be the first where all Millennials will have reached voting age, and at that point the generation will be 103 million strong and have about 90 million eligible voters. Those 90 million Millennial eligible voters will represent just under 40 percent of America’s eligible voters in that year.
Second, the culturally conservative white working class has been declining rapidly as a proportion of the electorate for years. Exit polls show that the proportion of white working-class voters—scoring just 46.3 out of a 100 on the Progressive Studies Program comprehensive 10-item progressive cultural index covering topics ranging from religion, abortion, and homosexuality to race, immigration, and the family—is down 15 points since 1988, while the proportion of far more culturally progressive white college graduate voters (53.3 on the index) is up 4 points, and the proportion of minority voters (54.7 on the index) is up 11 points. State after state since 1988 has replicated this general pattern—a sharp decline in the share of white working-class voters accompanied by increases in the shares of minority voters and, in most cases, of increasingly progressive white college graduate voters.
Other demographic trends that will undermine the culture warriors include the growth of culturally progressive groups such as single women, and college-educated women and professionals, as well as increasing religious diversity. Unaffiliated or secular voters are hugely progressive on cultural issues and it is they—not white evangelical Protestants—who are the fastest-growing “religious” group in the United States.
Upshot: the good guys are winning. The dinosaurs are dying out.
In other words. . .