Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Open Access)
Colby College. Government Dept.
L. Sandy Maisel
This thesis examines the ways demographic change will affect presidential elections over the next 25 years. It utilizes a detailed, interactive model to project the electoral effects of demographic growth in every presidential election from 2016 to 2040; the model allows me to simulate how voting rates by demographic groups might be altered by changes in party strategies. The two alternative Republican strategies this model simulates are a "doubling down" on white voters and a "diversified coalition" approach, where Republicans would reach out to minorities to build a coalition better suited to America's growing diversity.
The model's results indicate that, with current voting patterns, demographic change (especially Hispanic growth) will keep Democrats in the White House through 2040. The “double down” strategy could lead to Republican victories if the party were able to attract a record share of white votes; the strategy carries significant long-term risks for Republicans. A “diverse coalition” would position the GOP to capitalize on demographic shifts and provide the party with more long-term flexibility. Beyond partisan electoral success and failure, a racially polarizing “double down” strategy has the potential to cause deep and lasting damage to America's democratic values.
elections, electoral map, demographics, party strategy, forecasting
Recommended CitationParker, Sam, "Demographics as Destiny: Modeling Population Change and Party Strategies on the Electoral Map, 2016-2040" (2015). Honors Theses. Paper 751.
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