Political News

2020 will be the least white election ever

Posted January 31, 2019 7:32 p.m. EST

— In the 2020 election, white voters will make up less than 67% of all eligible voters, according to projections made by the Pew Research Center and released this week.  It marks the first time in American political history that white voters are less than seven in 10 of all eligible voters in a presidential election.

That's a significant moment in the changing face of America -- and has potentially massive consequences for our politics. White voters have long been a bulwark of the GOP coalition in national races while nonwhites have become increasingly Democratic over the years. At the same time, the white vote has been shrinking as a percentage of the overall electorate while the nonwhite vote has been growing.

According to the Pew calculations, those demographic changes will only continue in 2020. (Here's a detailed explainer of how they arrived at their estimates.)  This is what the composition of eligible voters will look like in 2020 via Pew:

White: 66.7%

Hispanic 13.3%

Black 12.5%

Asian: 4.7%

And here's the racial breakdown of the last two presidential elections:


White: 71%

Black: 12%

Hispanic: 11%

Asian: 4%


White: 72%

Black 13%

Hispanic: 10%

Asian: 3%

The big caveat in looking at those three sets of numbers: The 2020 projections are based on eligible voters, not actual voters. And history has shown that simply because you are eligible to vote does not mean you a) register to vote or b) actually vote.

The Point: If the 2020 electorate looks anything close to how Pew thinks it will, the demographic challenge before Donald Trump is massive. He would either need to win white voters by a considerably larger margin than he did in 2016 (Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 20 points among whites) or find a way to make inroads into the nonwhite vote, which seems like a massive task given his first two years in office.