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The United States of American colours | Ticker VIEWS

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The changing face of Americans of colour may mean the Democrats will romp into dominance in Washington in the future – but not the immediate future

Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides:

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States …  Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States … according to their respective Numbers … The actual Enumeration shall be made  … every subsequent Term of ten Years…

Australia had its census last week and is conducted every 5 years.  In the United States it is done every 10 years and, as the Constitution outlines, the results determine how many Members of Congress each State can have, and how the population numbers affect the flow of taxes and dollars to and from Washington.

The census is decisive in determining the makeup of the House of Representatives in Congress – how many seats each State has, and which party controls each seat.

The 2020 census revealed some shockers – not only in trend but in quantum

The United States is fast becoming the United States of Americans of colour.  As has been often noted, demography is destiny, and America’s future is undergoing profound change.

  • The White population shrunk for the first time since the first census in 1790. Whites dropped by 5 million people, declining from 63.7% in 2010 to 57.8% in 2020.
  • The majority (52.7%) of those under 18 are now people of colour.
  • Hispanic population has doubled since 1990 and is now 18.7%.
  • Asian Americans also doubled over the same period, to 6.1%.
  • The Black population is steady at 12.1%

The United States is headed to be a majority-minority country by 2045

By 2060, today’s Hispanic and Asian communities are expected to double.

As Alan Abramowitz, a leading political scientist at Emory University in Georgia, which is ground zero in the struggle for voting rights in America, said last week:

“It appears to me that the demographic trends that we have been seeing develop over the past few decades and expecting to continue have accelerated. The size of the decline in the white population is stunning. The increase in the size of the multi-racial population is equally stunning. The United States is becoming more and more of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society. The Trumpsters cannot be happy about this.”

In raw political terms, the population shifts mean that Republican-leaning Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Montana will gain 4 seats in Congress and Electoral College votes; while Democratic-leaning New York, California, Michigan and Illinois will lose a seat each. There are shifts in some other states. But it looks like a net gain of perhaps 6 seats for Republicans even as the White vote is in big-time decline.

Alan Abramowitz says that the US is more diverse than ever

As Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia has noted, “Of course it [the census] may fuel far-right anger rather than resignation”

Sabato is right.  These political dynamics will absolutely grip the state legislatures that draw the lines for their House electorates.  And here, the Republicans have a decided edge for now. 

Aa an Associated Press analysis reported, “The GOP will control redistricting in 20 states accounting for 187 U.S. House seats, including the growing states of Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, where the governor is a Democrat, but the legislature has complete control of drawing new electoral lines. Democrats will control redistricting in just eight states accounting for 75 seats, including New York and Illinois, where the loss of a seat in each gives them a chance to squeeze out Republican incumbents.”

The bottom line:  The redistribution of House seats driven by the census means that Republicans have added momentum going into the midterm elections for control of the House of Representatives

Today’s Democratic majority of just 4 seats in the House can be easily erased by the drawing of lines in Texas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

This means that whatever legislation President Biden wants to get enacted must get enacted now, in this Congress, where the Democrats control both the House and Senate.  And that means Democrats must stick together and not let passions for “left” or “moderate” perfection in legislation frustrate passage of the Biden agenda.

Because they likely will not have another chance before the 2024 presidential election. But here’s the kicker:  The more concentrated White vote in states that have been Republican in the past two presidential elections means that the Electoral College is still skewed to Republicans, even as their share of the popular vote for president is expected to decline. 

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Does the West need to fear China’s presence in the pacific?

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China’s influence in the Pacific is causing concern for some Western nations who are playing a diminished role in the region

Tides are changing in the Pacific, an area which has long deferred to the West, but is increasingly gazing eastward.

The changing dynamic has been typified by the landmark security deal signed by China and the Solomon Islands. This week, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi embarked on an historic 10 day tour of eight Pacific Island nations.

Should Western nations fear China’s growing influence in the Pacific?

The Pacific Islands have a long history of Western influence, dating back hundreds of years to European colonisation.

But nations such as Australia and the U.S. are suddenly having to contend with the arrival of a new player.

Benjamin Herscovitch, a research fellow at the Australia National University, told TICKER NEWS China’s increased influence in the area represents a “dramatic shift in circumstances” for the region.

“We are at the beginning of a really heated up period of competition between Australia and China for influence in the Pacific,” he says.

This will place further pressure on an already strained relationship.

In recent years, the two nations have butted heads over a number of issues including human rights and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Two weeks ago, relations between the two nations flared again. In the lead up to the Australian federal election, then defence minister Peter Dutton labelled the presence of a Chinese spy ship off the coast of Western Australia was “an aggressive act”.

Despite outcry from the West, there is still no evidence China’s intentions in the Pacific have militaristic undercurrents.

Yi has started his tour of the Pacific by promising his government has “no intention” of building a military base in the Solomon Islands.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a ten day tour of the Pacific

What is China’s goal in the Pacific?

While China’s role in the Pacific will likely become a point of contention, Herscovitch doesn’t believe it is coming from a position of Chinese aggression.

Rather, it is the natural progression for a country becoming more influential across the globe.

“A lot of the alarmist commentary in Australia maybe fails to appreciate that we’re coming in this period of rising Chinese influence and power globally,” he says.

“It’s almost to be expected that you’d have Beijing having a much larger footprint in Australia’s region.”

“China is a country with an incredibly large economy, with trading interests that span the globe, with diplomatic and political interests that span the globe.”

Benjamin Herscovitch, ANU

“China’s expanding footprint, expanding influence is just part and parcel of China emerging as the globe’s greatest economic power,” he says.

Will Island nations benefit from competition in the Pacific?

Herscovitch says the dispute could be “a good news story” for island nations because states will compete to invest in the area as a way to build influence in the Pacific.

“We’ll see a lot of competition for investment, a lot of competition for influence between key economies, and that’s probably beneficial for Pacific Island countries,” he says.

Pacific nations also look set to benefit by increased action on climate change.

As some of the most low-lying nations in the world, global warming and rising sea levels are of huge concern to the area.

Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong also visited the Pacific to pledge an improvement in Australia’s climate change policy.

“There’s a sense here in which Australia’s desire for influence will encourage Australia to be more forward leaning, more proactive on climate change issues,” Herscovitch says.

New role for the West in the pacific?

With China beginning to gain a foothold in the Pacific, Herscovitch says the West may have to alter its diplomatic approach.

He believes Australia and U.S. have been overly critical of South Pacific countries, and in particular the Solomon Islands, for engaging with China.

In the backlash following Solomon Islands’ defence treaty with China, the nation’s Prime Minister Mannasseh Sogavare accused the Australian government and its allies of undermining his government.

Herscovitch labels this approach as “counterproductive” to maintaining relations with the Pacific nations, saying “we should always respect their sovereign decisions and respect their independent choices.”

He says Australia, the U.S. and Japan has a highly important role in providing expertise and advise on how to manage their relationship with China as they become more economically entwined with the global power.

“They’re relying on China for more infrastructure, and it’s really important that their officials are empowered with all the necessary information to manage that relationship and to manage that growing dependency,” he says.

Bryan Hoadley contributed to this report

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Husband of teacher killed in Uvalde school shooting dies from heart attack

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Teacher killed in Robb Elementary shooting Irma Garcia’s husband also dies from a heart attack

Guadalupe “Joe” Garcia, 48, has reportedly passed away shortly after visiting the memorial of the Robb Elementary school shooting victims.

Their nephew initially said that Joe died from heartache, but the family later reported that it was a heart attack that took his life.

Garcia was spotted visitng a cross memorial to the victims of the school shooting on Thursday morning.

It is unknown how long after that he suffered the heart attack and passed away.

The couple had four children.

Their nephew decribed Joe as a family man who would have done anyhting for his children.

The family described this week as a nightmare, still trying to grapple with Irma’s death.

She was one of 21 killed in the elementary school shooting on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

Reportedly her body was found holding one of the students who was also killed in the shooting.

Her family said they believe that Irma died a hero.

According to her profile, Irma taught at Robb Elementary for 23 years.

In 2019, she was one of 19 San Antonio-area teachers nominated as a finalist for a Trinity University prize that recognizes excellence in teaching.

Danaya Malenda contributed to this report.

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Police under fire for delayed response to Uvalde shooting

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With details from the Uvalde mass shooting continuing to emerge, the region’s police officers are now coming under fire for reportedly delaying their entry into the school

It’s now believed gunman Salvador Ramos was inside Robb Elementary for up to an hour before he was killed.

The death toll stands at 21, with 19 children and two adults losing their lives.

This has prompted questions over whether authorities could have prevented some deaths if they intervened earlier.

Eyewitnesses say women and other onlookers were shouting at officers to “go in”, as they watched on in horror at the unfolding situation.

But authorities say the gunman had locked himself in a classroom, which made access difficult.

This comes as a daughter of an individual whose life was taken in the Sandy Hook massacre says the time to act on US gun violence was “ten years ago”.

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