What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

The Divide Among Whites

November 13, 2011, 2:38 PM
P101711ps-0091

White America is divided between those who are comfortable with the influx of immigrants from other countries and those who feel they threaten the American way of life.

Obama’s race was a polarizing issue in the last presidential election and exacerbated an already existing divide between Republicans and Democrats. Opposition to Obama at time took the form of a resurgence of nativism targeting non-whites and others who were perceived as foreign. After the election, as Ron Brownstein notes, prominent democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg characterized democratic voters as essentially a coalition of non-whites and whites who are comfortable with them. Now Brownstein finds evidence that in a recent Pew Center study that this is still the case.

The Pew study found that non-Hispanic whites are split almost evenly between those who agree and those who disagree with the statement that “the growing number of newcomers from other countries are a threat to traditional American customs and values.” That many whites would be uncomfortable with the country’s changing demographics is not particularly surprising, since whites are shrinking rapidly as a percentage of the population, and are not likely remain the majority much longer.

As Brownstein notes, whether whites agreed with that statement was closely tied to which candidate and which party they said they preferred in 2012. The Pew survey found that 45% of the whites who said they were comfortable with immigration approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while only half that many of the whites who worry about the effect of immigration on the country approve of the job Obama is doing. Even more striking was that in a hypothetical presidential contest between Obama and Mitt Romney, 52% of the whites who were comfortable with immigration preferred Obama, while 72% of the whites who worry about the effect immigration is having preferred Romney—a margin of almost three to one.

As Brownstein says, this doesn’t mean that the opposition to Obama is ultimately about race or immigration. The divide among whites is almost certainly at least in part a symptom of other demographic differences. Among other things, the divide among whites is tied to an enormous gap between young Americans, who as a group are ethnically diverse and overwhelmingly favor Obama, and older Americans, who are predominantly white and largely favor Romney. In the short term, of course, Obama and the Democrats’ chances probably hinge more than anything else on the state of the economy. But race is likely to remain a central issue in the next campaign. And, in the long term, as I have written before, the fact that Republican voters are older and more white means that demographic trends strongly favor Democrats.

Photo: Pete Souza

 

The Divide Among Whites

Newsletter: Share: