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Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson.
Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson.

The dwindling demographic support of the Republican party Add to ...

This could be remembered as the election where, once and for all, women took control of politics away from men. Where the young took control away from the old. Where people of colour took control away from whites. Where the more educated took control away from the less educated.

The worth of a person should not be judged based on gender, age, race or education. But politically, the day of the older, less educated white male is done. From this bitter election an emerging coalition asserts new strength. More than any tawdry Trump sex scandal, more than Sunday’s announcement that the FBI will not act on the latest e-mail investigation, demographics are likely to decide the presidency, and they are likely to decide in Hillary Clinton’s favour.

Last month, political analyst Nate Silver projected that if only men voted in the presidential election, Donald Trump would dominate the electoral college, taking 350 votes to Ms. Clinton’s 188. But if only women voted, Ms. Clinton’s landslide would be one of the greatest in history: 458 to 80 electoral college votes.

Read more: In a father and son’s journey to get out the vote, a reminder of the election’s stakes

Read more: FBI’s Comey reaffirms July decision not to charge Hillary Clinton over e-mails

Read more: Bitter U.S. election will reach fitting end in an apathetic Manhattan

This is nothing new. According to the Pew Research Center, since 1980, women have been more likely to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee than have men, usually by between 5 and 10 percentage points. This is one important reason why the Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.

This year, the gap is widening: In the latest Fox News poll, women favour Ms. Clinton over Mr. Trump by 13 percentage points. That difference could prove decisive.

The power and influence of women in society only grows. Women, for example, now make up the majority of undergraduates at American universities. They represent just under half of all graduates in medical school and law school, and four in 10 MBAs. Their growth toward full equality is inexorable. Republicans simply cannot win if more women favour Democrats than Republicans, in this election or any going forward.

The generation gap is even more severe. If only people over 65 voted, Donald Trump would win handily, according to the polling firm SurveyMonkey. But if only millennials were allowed to vote, Mr. Trump would be wiped out. There are now more millennials (people currently aged 18-34) than boomers (aged 51-69) and that gap will widen every year, thanks to the ravages of time.

In terms of race, if only African-Americans were allowed to vote, the election would likely be a 50-state Democratic sweep. But their share of the population (13 per cent) has been surpassed by Latinos (17 per cent and growing). George W. Bush won 40 per cent of the Latino vote in 2004; Mitt Romney won 27 per cent in 2012; Mr. Trump is on track to take about 14 per cent in 2016. This will be bad for Mr. Trump on Tuesday, and bad for Republicans going forward.

Mr. Trump does have the support of the white working class – about 60 per cent of them, according to polls. But this cohort is shrinking in size and influence.

Over the past quarter century, the percentage of Americans with a college degree who self-identify as liberal has gone from about a quarter to almost half (we can debate why that has happened another time); over that same period, the percentage of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree has gone from about a fifth of the population to about a third. So Americans generally are becoming better educated and more liberal. The percentage of people with less than high school – a good indicator of working-class status – has declined from about a quarter of the population to about a tenth.

Women support the Democrats. The young support the Democrats. Latinos support the Democrats. The better-educated support the Democrats.

These Democratically inclined voters will likely elect Hillary Clinton president on Tuesday. And there will be more of them, and ever fewer Republicans, in every election to come.

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Follow on Twitter: @JohnIbbitson

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