"In 1980, only 2 percent of all voters were Hispanic. That number jumped to 9 percent in 2008 and could hit 10 percent in 2012. That’s a large increase among a bloc that generally supports the Democratic candidate at rates of 60 percent or better. In 1980, approximately 10 percent of all voters were African-American, while in 2008, that number grew to 13 percent. To tie all the demographic changes together, in 1980, 88 percent of all voters were white; in 2008, that number fell to 74 percent. That means one thing — the electorate is far friendlier to a Democratic candidate in 2012 than in 1980. "
This diversity is clearly seen in our own County. I remember what Howard County was like when I moved here in 1977. At that time there was two Democrat groups in Howard County. The Ellicott City Democrats were the older conservative group and the Columbia Democrats were the new more liberal Democrats. This division soon had many of the conservative Democrats moving over to the Republican Party in the 1980's. This was most clearly seen with our County Executive Hugh Nichols being elected to his first term as a Democrat and in his second term becoming a Republican. Howard County was a swing County politically well into the 1990's.
If you went along Route 40 in Ellicott City you had traditional rural establishments like Buell's and Forest Diner and the Enchanted Forest. The Forest Diner lasted until recently but Buell's and the Enchanted Forest disappeared long ago. What has replaced these types of establishments? Many Korean merchants like Lotto Plaza, Bon Appetit Bakery and Shin Chon Garden.
If you go to the North Laurel and Savage area you can find many new Hispanic residents. This area in 1980 was almost all non Hispanic whites. The long time Ma Kettle Restaurant in Savage now has competition from the Hispanic vendors selling food from roadside smokers along Route 1. Our present population reflects these numbers:
- 62.2% White (74% in 2000)
- 17.5% Black (14% in 2000)
- 14.4% Asian (7% in 2000)
- 5.8% Hispanic or Latino (3% in 2000)
This political reality will have to be addressed by the National Republican Party by 2016 or they may go the way of Whig Party of the 19th Century.
If you look around Howard County you can't help but notice how many of the small business are now run by recent immigrants. Restaurants, ethnic markets, convenient stores, bagel stores and nail places are just a few examples. Republicans keep promoting small businesses as the job creators. I wonder why they overlook that the immigrant population is a significant part of the small business sector?
If you have been following this blog you know that today's topic on the growth of our immigrant population is one of the demographic changes on which I have blogged frequently. The other demographic change, the growing older population, is one that I will blog on Monday with a new concept in supporting senior citizens in Columbia.
Video of the week is one of Diana Krall and friends