(CNN) With their drive to erect new obstacles to voting, particularly across the Sun Belt, Republicans are stacking sandbags against a rising tide of demographic change.
In many of the states where Republicans are advancing the most severe restrictions — including Georgia, Arizona and Texas — shifts in the electorate’s composition are eroding decades of virtually uncontested GOP dominance.
In each of those states — and others such as North Carolina, South Carolina and, in a slightly different way, Florida — the GOP still holds a statewide advantage primarily because of its strong performance among older, non-college-educated and non-urban White voters. But in almost all those states, the Republican edge is ebbing amid two powerful demographic currents: an improving Democratic performance among white-collar voters in and around the states’ rapidly growing major cities, and the aging into the electorate of younger generations defined by kaleidoscopic racial diversity.
That latter shift, in particular, represents an existential long-term danger to Republican control of Sun Belt states where they have held the upper hand for years: Kids of color now compose a clear majority of the under 18 population in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida, and nearly half in the Carolinas, according to an analysis by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. In Texas alone, local experts estimate that about 200,000 citizen Latinos will turn 18 and thus eligible to vote each year through at least 2028.