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Demography Is Political Destiny: The Emerged Dem Majority

Barack Obama ran a masterful campaign and is clearly one of the finest politicians we will ever see. That said, Obama's win is also a function of the emerged Democratic majority. to wit, demography is political destiny. Matt Yglesias consistently made an important point - a vote is a vote - whether it is from a white man or an African American woman or a Latino. After 2004, the DLC types harped on the need to do better among white voters, particularly "values voters." This election really shattered the myth that Democrats needed Bubbas to win. The Media of course still does not fully get it:

Obama won men, which no Democrat had managed since Bill Clinton. . . . He won 54% of Catholics, 66% of Latinos, 68% of new voters a multicultural, multigenerational movement that shatters the old political ice pack. . . . The Republican caucus is smaller, more male and whiter at a time when the electorate is heading the other way.

But the electorate has been "heading the other way" since 1992. The electorate has reached the point that Democrats can win the Presidency and the Congress with just 40% of the white vote. And that number will keep dropping. More . . .

It is all the rage to bash Karl Rove these days, to pretend he did not recognize these trends. That ignores the reality that Karl Rove spent decades trying to woo Latinos into the GOP camp. Immigration reform was Rove's attempt to thread the needle of between the extreme elements of the GOP coalition and the Latino electorate. The extreme elements blocked him. Now the GOP has no way out. Democrats will win Latino voters by 2-1 going forward. Couple that with increased African American participation and Democratic lean and the Republican Party has no where to go. It is a regional party (Southern and isolated Republican states like Utah) precisely because that is the only region where Republicans can run up the margins among white voters necessary for them to win.

Demography is political destiny. Latino share of the vote increased this year and will continue to do so. More importantly, Latinos are now solidly in the Democratic camp and that will accelerate as well (younger Latinos are more Dem than older Latinos). African American participation increased and it too became more Democratic. Other minority participation also increased and became more Democratic. This too will also continue.

Since 1964, the Republicans have pursued an "Angry Whites" Southern strategy. And it was exceptionally successful. It culminated during the Reagan years and lived on to Newt Gingrich. George Bush needed to appeal to Latinos as well to squeak by to victory in 2004. Last night, Chuck Todd said that the Democratic ceiling still is in the 53% range. I think that is true - for now. But Todd argued that the Republican ceiling is higher. He is wrong. At this point, it is hard to imagine Republicans getting more than 50% of the vote. To wit, if everything breaks perfectly for the Republicans, they can barely win the Presidency. And as for regaining the Congress, that is impossible for the Republicans now. There simply are not enough seats where they are competitive to do so. Consider the Senate. Right now there are 3 Senate seats that will almost certainly become Democratic when the current Republican holder retire - Specter in Pennsylvania and Snow and Collins in Maine. The only Dem seats that are comparable are Landrieu in Louisiana, Pryor and Lincoln in Arkansas, Tester and Baucus in Montana, Conrad in North Dakota and Tim Johnson in South Dakota. Landrieu just won a close race, Pryor ran unopposed, Johnson and Baucus ran and won against token opposition. Tester is not up again until 2012.

In short, the Emerging Democratic Majority is now a reality. It has emerged.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Well, to be fair, (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:11:29 AM EST
    Obama did go after, and won, some "values voters."  Just not necessarily the white ones in the midwest.  See Prop 8.

    If the tradeoff has been to give up on socially conservative whites in return for socially conservative non-whites, that may well lead to more electoral victories for a while, but what will it do to the Democratic party?  If you believe, as I do, that women's rights, gay rights, etc. are human rights, I'm not particularly optimistic about the views on human rights in the party.

    Gay rights (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:16:35 AM EST
    is sui generis.

    If it is your litmus test, then you can call them socially conservative. But that is a  narrow focus imo.

    Parent

    Well, it's not my only (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:21:47 AM EST
    litmus test.  I bet many of those voters are pretty happy about school vouchers and other public funding of religion, and many are probably anti-choice too.  Those are just a few examples.

    Parent
    Evidence is necesssary (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:26:00 AM EST
    for such assertions.

    I do not think you are correct but I will wait for evidence.

    Parent

    Well, if you look at the exit polls on the (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by tigercourse on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:37:43 AM EST
    other California initiative, the one limiting Abortion rights, you'll see that AAs were more in favor of the ammendment then whites. It was 51 to 49 vs. 45 to 55. Latinos and Asians were even more in favor.

    Parent
    Younger minorities (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:01:24 AM EST
    were not. the trends my friend.

    Parent
    What about the old adage (none / 0) (#17)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:04:14 AM EST
    that you grow more conservative as you grow older?

    (although, when it comes to social issues, I don't see how it applies).

    Parent

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:25:51 AM EST
    on social issues, you presumably don't change your mind in a more conservative direction over the course of your life (although some people do evolve from pro-choice to pro-life), but the slate of issues changes significantly over the course of a lifetime.

    In other words, let's say you support civil rights but you oppose affirmative action.  You would have been a liberal in the 1960s, but you're a conservative today.  You didn't change one bit, but the issues changed.

    I'm a total liberal on social issues today, but can I guarantee I'll be on the liberal side of whatever crazy issue they think up in 40 years?  Not necessarily!

    Parent

    Well, fair enough, in that (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:39:49 AM EST
    I think this would end up being a war of polls, all of which are inconclusive.

    I guess my hypothesis was fueled by the notion that most hardcore Christians who are homophobes would not likely be socially conservative and fundamentalist on just that issue alone.  But maybe I'm wrong, maybe other than that one thing they are otherwise true believers in separation of church and state and equal rights.

    Parent

    They can also (none / 0) (#41)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:43:46 PM EST
    be economic liberals and still allow single values issues to determine their votes.

    Parent
    Being of Spanish (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:45:16 AM EST
    blood and raised around Latinos and Blacks from many countries I can confidently say that the majority of current old school Latinos and Blacks are socially conservative on many issues. DK is correct in what he says below and there is no evidence that needs to be googled. As a Cuban man who spent time in Florida you know this is true. As a Spanish man who grew up in the melting pot of SoCal and has spent much time in both NY and Florida with many friends in each I know that it is true also. Throw in Catholicism and Baptist religion into the Latino and Black culture and the social conservatism multiplies.

    I don't see the sense in denying the much of the emerging majority that help bring on the defeat of Prop 8 and the defeat of similar bills in other states is socially conservative in many other ways.

    Look at Obama's stance on Gay marriage and his tight rope act on abortion, and his open mindedness on vouchers just as one example if you need one.

    Parent

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:46:42 AM EST
    Now that YOU say so, that settles it.

    Parent
    Do you consider the exit polls more (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by tigercourse on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:48:14 AM EST
    reliable then personal opinion?

    Parent
    I do (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:54:31 AM EST
    I'd be very surprised (none / 0) (#18)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:12:24 AM EST
    that you as a Cuban man who spent time in Florida, if not raised in Florida, was not exposed to or even partially or fully raised around the social conservatism we all know is there. If you are a second or early third generation Cubano it would have been virtually impossible to grow up in the Cuban community of Florida and not be aware of the social conservatism there. Virtually impossible. Given that I am not sure of the reason of you denial.

    Let me myself clear here that I am talking about Social Conservatism. Of course not all members of the groups being discussed are socially conservative but the majority currently are. And both conservative and non-conservative members of the groups being discussed also have progressive views on many other issues so our 'emerging majority' is a balancing act where we must be able to deliver on important progressive issues in order to offset the appeal of the GOP conservatism.

    Parent

    On gay rights (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:58:30 PM EST
    This is certainly true.

    On other social issues, I think not.

    Parent

    Social Conservatism (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:04:35 PM EST
    in minorities isn't going to lead them to the GOP though, the last 4 years have revealed the id of the Republican party and frankly it isn't very appealing to minorities (no one wants to join a party that instinctively questions their humanity/ Americanness even if they do share your values).  Also, older Cubans are distinct from virtually any other minority group (except maybe older Vietnamese)-- anti-communism (specifically anti-Castroism) is the driving force and overrides nearly all other concerns.

    Parent
    Not a litmus test (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Fabian on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:17:22 AM EST
    but more evidence that black voters tend to be socially conservative, which means that they will tend to be "values voters" on those issues.  The ease with which the various state anti-gay (to be blunt) ballot issues pass is disturbing.

    Parent
    gay rights is sui generis (none / 0) (#20)
    by dws3665 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:24:50 AM EST
    I am curious what your basis for saying this is. I would agree with you that this one issue is too narrow a definition for describing someone as Democratic or not, but (to crib a rhetorical device) gay rights are human rights. Why do you think that they stand alone as an issue, apart from other types of human rights/social equality issues?

    Parent
    What does Prop 8 (none / 0) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:47:16 AM EST
    have to do with an Obama appeal to values voters?

    Didn't African-Americans support Prop 8 something like 70-30?  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The point is that voters are NOT one dimensional.

    If Obama hadn't appealed to values voters do you believe that African-Americans would not have supported him?

    No candidate for office on the federal level can oppose a prop 8 type referendum and get elected.

    Parent

    And yet (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:57:39 AM EST
    Obama did oppose Prop 8, and did get elected.

    Parent
    Everyone opposed the d*mn thing. (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:07:56 PM EST
    Even Ahnold.  

    That's one of the reasons I think it's counterproductive to lay the blame on Obama's feet the way some are doing.  Something went wrong here that is bigger than Obama, and since we have a lot of work to do on gay rights (again, AK, what are you thinking) it is better to examine the Prop 8 campaign closely and learn some lessons.

    Parent

    Well, I think the reality (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:15:15 PM EST
    based formulation would be that he gave a mixed message with regard to his views on gay marriage.

    Parent
    Sure (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:20:32 PM EST
    but he definitely opposed Prop 8.

    Parent
    Well, his official position in press releases was (none / 0) (#36)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:28:04 PM EST
    opposing prop 8, but it is questionable whether he intented to do this with only a wink and nod in connection with his attempts to court the Christian vote.  One of his top formal surrogates in his faith and values outreach, Douglas Kmiec, was an outspoken opponent of prop 8.

    Parent
    I think it is entirely possible (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:36:41 PM EST
    to oppose Prop 8, while simultaneously believing that supporters of Prop 8 are still a necessary part of a majority coalition.

    Sometimes hanging out in the netroots feels like a neverending succession of purity tests.  Every issue is an absolute dealbreaker, and if someone disagrees with us on one issue, it is unacceptable to try and find common ground with them on other issues rather than simply banishing them to the outer darkness.

    Parent

    I have no problem (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:41:26 PM EST
    reaching out to supporters of prop 8, but I do have a problem reaching out to supporters of prop 8 based on legitimizing support for prop 8.

    Supporters of prop 8, like everyone else, can agree on a more fair tax policy, on concern for the environment, on a whole host of issues that are actually issues consistent with Democratic platforms.  But no, I do not think that a party that says it stands for equal rights should reach out to people by saying it is legitimate to oppose equal rights.  

    Parent

    Right (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:18:03 PM EST
    You're doing exactly the thing I criticized.  It's principled, but politically it simply guarantees you a minority position and leaves the issues you champion no better off.

    Parent
    Hey, I'm just asking that (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:46:23 PM EST
    the Democratic party stick to its platform.  The problem with your argument is that it can so easily be turned back on you.  Where would you draw the line?  Why doesn't Obama try to recruit David Duke or whomever to reach out to anti-semites and racists?  And not that that you even have to give up getting the votes of anti-semites or racists, but do you send David Duke out to do it?

    Furthermore, how do you know whether you are guaranteeing a minority position.  You are stating as fact what it an opinion, because you seem cautious about certain issues; in this case the priority of achieving equal rights for all Americans.  To be honest, I don't think you can say that it guarantees you a minority position, because no politician of any stature has tried it yet.

    At some point, as a party, you have to stick to some basic principles.  A big tent to means that even if you agree to disagree on some issues, you can agree on others.  But it doesn't mean that you legitimize those issues that go against the party platform by speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Parent

    I do not need to try (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:10:48 PM EST
    rigid ideological purity to know that it would fail.  Prop 8 lost 52-48 in one of the bluest states in the country.  If Obama had refused to say to Prop 8 opponents "hey, you're still welcome under the big tent provided we find other things to agree on," he would surely have been a big loser rather than the next President.

    Everyone has an opinion, but the percentage of Americans who care strongly about gay marriage as an issue is relatively small.  Karl Rove decided it would be brilliant to make it into a national issue because more people are passionate about it on his side than on ours.  Good for him, I guess, but do we have to let Karl Rove dictate our litmus test to us?  Lots of people believe in economic fairness, social justice, ending the war in Iraq, etc., while simultaneously opposing gay marriage; must we really tell them that they're nothing but bigots and we don't want their support?  Must we really act as if every person who opposes gay marriage is a David Duke?

    The point I'm making is that EVERY issue, not just gay marriage, can be framed as a fundamental issue and is routinely treated that way in the blogosphere.  Gay marriage is an issue of equal rights.  Access to so-called "partial-birth abortion" affects a very small number of people each year, but nevertheless, it's an issue of women's equality.  Retroactive immunity for telecom companies isn't just a side issue, it's about the Constitution and the rule of law itself.  And so on.  I've seen the rhetoric a million times and while I can't dispute it, I still know that it leads us to an impossible position of purity on every single issue.

    Parent

    Great, except that is not (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by dk on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:40:28 PM EST
    what Obama did.  He didn't say to those people, we disagree on gay rights, but we agree on tax policy/the environment, etc. etc., so in spite of our disagreements lets work on the issues we agree with.

    Instead, he said, I agree with you that Christianity complels a definition of civil marriage as being between a man and a woman, and while I happen to disagree with you on one particular strategy of preserving that goal, I think you views are perfectly acceptable ones to have, and I agree with them.

    It's difficult to discuss the point when you create a strawman.

    Parent

    well (none / 0) (#47)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:19:08 PM EST
    Douglas Kmiec is disturbing, I grant you.  He endorsed Obama in March.  But this summer, he published an op-ed supporting Prop 8 in the SF Chronicle.  The values tour began in late September.

    What does this say?  Obama didn't take Prop 8 as seriously as winning the election.  

    The Advocate did a revealing interview with him in April.  You may've read it.  

    His letter to Alice B. Toklas was really beautiful.  But this section of his interview is shameful.  

    I do not understand this at all.  


    OBAMA:So I strongly respect the right of same-sex couples to insist that even if we got complete equality in benefits, it still wouldn't be equal because there's a stigma associated with not having the same word, marriage, assigned to it. I understand that, but my perspective is also shaped by the broader political and historical context in which I'm operating. And I've said this before -- I'm the product of a mixed marriage that would have been illegal in 12 states when I was born. That doesn't mean that had I been an adviser to Dr. King back then, I would have told him to lead with repealing an antimiscegenation law, because it just might not have been the best strategy in terms of moving broader equality forward.

    That's a decision that the LGBT community has to make. That's not a decision for me to make.

    Q: Is it fair for the LGBT community to ask for leadership? In 1963, President Kennedy made civil rights a moral issue for the country.  

    OBAMA: But he didn't overturn antimiscegenation. Right?

    Q: True enough.

    OBAMA: As I said, I think the LGBT community has every right to push for what it thinks is right. And I think that it's absolutely fair to ask me for leadership, and my argument would be that I'm ahead of the curve on these issues compared to 99% of most elected officials around the country on this issue. So I think I've shown leadership.

    IMO, this is a completely incoherent attempt at taking a principled stand.  It's simply conservative.  


    Parent

    Dear President-Elect Obama (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:53:57 PM EST
    Gays and lesbians cannot create their own equality by asking or demanding it.  Slaves could not free themselves.  American women could not give themselves the right to vote.  The dominant groups in society have always been the ones who have the power to effect change.  The same is true for gay Americans.  Nature simply does not produce enough homosexuals to create a dominant voting block.  

    So please reconsider your unwillingness to take a stand on this issue.  President Kennedy didn't overturn antimiscegenation in the 1960s, but he did make civil rights a key part of his goals for change, and the risks he took paid off throughout our country.  He stood alone as a leader, but you are not on your own here.  We are the strong wind at your back, the voice of the newly emerged Democratic Majority, the foundation and mandate for the Change We Need!  

    It's going to take strong leadership and a willingness to stand by the fundamentals our Constitution.  Please be the leader that moves our country past this wedge issue in a fair and reasonable way.  History will note that you were on the right side of this change.


    Parent

    I don't agree (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:17:30 PM EST
    I think it demonstrates an understanding of how to make change happen in an imperfect world.  Dr. King understood this very well.  Many modern-day insurgents do not, and it's why they achieve less success in accomplishing their goals.  Some people want to pursue the optimal strategy, while some people believe principle is enough on its own.

    Parent
    But during the Civil Rights movement (none / 0) (#51)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:39:32 PM EST
    there was a lot more going on than just marriage issues.  At the core of the gay rights movement is a desire to receive recognition as a legitimate family unit.  So I think it is fair to ask Obama for a more explicit explanation of his position on gay marriage and what we can expect of him.  Will he urge Arkansas to overturn the ban on gay adoption?  Will he be silent?  

    I am not an expert on the African American Civil Rights movement.  But I think the goals of the two movements are different enough to make this explanation on Obama's part just a little weak to me.  Let me know if I'm wrong.

    Parent

    For the next 15-20 years (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Exeter on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:40:10 AM EST
    Or the next generation, yes, you are right. Dems have the numbers, but things will and should change with voting patterns of non-whites.

    There was an emerging trend, pre-Obama, of younger Blacks being not as loyal to the Democratic Party as their parents, but with the election of Obama it seems safe to assume that that Blacks will continue to vote overwhealmingly Democratic at least for the next generation.

    Hispanics? I think second-generation + immigrants are gradually going to vote like whites do now -- on issues mostly outside of race.

    Good point (none / 0) (#15)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:55:25 AM EST
    about the past emerging trend of both Latinos and Black moving to the GOP in the past. Had it not been for Bush's fiscal non-conservatism and McCain being the worst GOP candidate of modern times those voters may have stayed with the GOP.

    The social and fiscal conservatism of the GOP is attractive to Latinos and Blacks and the growth of both those demos does not guarantee a solid majority in the future for Dems. We must be able to deliver big in other areas in order to offset the conservatism tht the GOP will continue to offer.

    Parent

    I think that the last 4 years (none / 0) (#52)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:59:28 PM EST
    Have done immeasurable damage to the GOP's future with Latinos- there's a reason Blacks vote Dem overwhelmingly, the social conservatism isn't a new thing it just didn't matter after the GOP (outside of New England) turned sharply against civil rights in 1964, up until them I'd say the GOP was more often than not, the party of African-Americans (Nixon in 1960 may have been the first GOP canidate not to recieve the majority of African-American support)- I think the same thing may have happened during the immigration debate this time around (its the reason Bush/Rove et al pushed the bill so hard despite outright hatred from their non-moneyed base) , Latino's saw what the non-business wing of the Republican party really thought of them.

    As for African-Americans, well I think the GOP can count on them for anti-gay marriage stuff, but actual votes-- after the way this campaign was run in the final months-- that's not going to happen.

    Parent

    I think... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by mike in dc on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:47:33 AM EST
    ...it will take at least 8 years before the core of the Republican party truly acknowledges it has to change its approach/policy toward women and people of color in order to survive politically.  They may nominate a base-rallying, "wingnut" pick (such as Palin) in 2012, and lose spectacularly, before they wise up.  The problem is that their base doesn't seem willing to let them move where they need to in order to remain competitive.  

    North Carolina called for Obama by AP! (1.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Melchizedek on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:39:48 AM EST
    Great to see this site finally understanding the demographic argument, and understanding that opposing Obama on the grounds of Lady Rothschild's he-doesn't-have-white-support complaint  was, while emotionally cathartic for Clinton supporters, not empirically sustainable.

    Are you an effing idiot? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:52:51 PM EST
    This site "finally" realizing?

    Please, no idiots allowed in my threads. Go away.


    Parent

    More demographics (none / 0) (#13)
    by lambert on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:50:38 AM EST
    Interesting link from Bloomberg.

    Yes, I agree with BTDs thesis. "It has emerged."

    Another link to Kos graph proving this point (none / 0) (#25)
    by magster on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:00:22 AM EST
    Listening to CNN on XM last night (none / 0) (#22)
    by 1040su on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:27:28 AM EST
    on my drive home.  I think it was Lou Dobbs talking with a Republican about wins in the house & senate.  I tuned in after the conversation started, but basically the R was saying that the disheartening thing with this election was that alot of the D wins were coming in districts that were gerrymandered to ensure R wins.  He said they've lost those districts & doesn't see how they'll ever get them back.  He was bummed.

    In Michigan (none / 0) (#43)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:58:16 PM EST
    two house districts gerrymandered after the census by a Republican administration and legislature were flipped.

    Parent
    I do not believe. . . (none / 0) (#24)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:53:39 AM EST
    Democrats will win Latino voters by 2-1 going forward.

    That this is in any way guaranteed.

    Hispanics are an emerging electorate and I think both "sides" know that they need to compete for them.  The Republicans under Rove and Bush had some success.  Fortunately for us in this cycle the bigoted wing of the Republican Party was driving much of the discourse and pushing Hispanics towards the Democrats.  But there's no reason to believe that will be so forever.

    In particular, I think there's a strong strain of social conservatism, religious involvement, and Republican-style my-country-right-or-wrong patriotism within the Hispanic community.  If Republicans choose to court them rather than repel them, they have an opening to attain at least parity in the Hispanic vote.

    Not to mention the (generally unmentionable) hostility between the black and Hispanic communities which any observer of New York politics must be aware of, and which is brought into sharp focus by this piece in the Times.

    Finally, the 2005 mayoral race in New York ought to be a warning that no electoral coalition is "permanent".  In that election, a hair under fifty percent of the black vote went to a billionaire Jewish media mogul from Boston.

    The demography does favor us in the future.  But demography is no guarantee of electoral success.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:04:36 AM EST
    nothing is forever, of course.  But the Republicans did make a hard-core effort to woo Hispanics under Bush and Rove.  And they put forward a candidate in McCain who not only has a moderate record on immigration, but has all the rah-rah stars-and-stripes credentials you could ever want.  So what more can they do?

    It's clear that Hispanic voters are put off by the nativist element of the GOP base even if the GOP does its best to hide that base and put its best foot forward.  So yeah, if the GOP completely cleaned house of all the haters, they could start making inroads.  But I don't see Rush Limbaugh losing his ticket any time soon.

    Parent

    Four years ago. . . (none / 0) (#27)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:27:08 AM EST
    the Republicans were able to keep the nativists sufficiently quiet to allow Bush to attain near(er) parity with the Hispanic vote.  If they can do that again, and if the country is in better economic shape so that cultural issues become important again, then I think a well run GOP campaign has an opportunity among Hispanic voters.

    Parent
    The point (none / 0) (#45)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:05:41 PM EST
    LarryInNYC is making is clearly demonstrated by other ethnic groups who've emigrated here over the past 100 years.

    One example would be Italians who were once overwhelmingly Democratic.  Now not so much.

    Parent

    Its Possible (none / 0) (#54)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:08:42 PM EST
    That the immigration debate will be to Latino Voters what the Civil Rights debate was to Black voters (the GOP may have dodged this by picking Mccain instead a Goldwater analog)-- you had the most visible elements of the GOP demonizing all Latinos as "illegals", suggesting on-the-spot Green Card checks at the immigration marches and the like-- that's something that imprints the young and resonates through the generations.

    Parent
    I'm afraid what will happen more and more (none / 0) (#35)
    by kempis on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:24:40 PM EST
    is that the "Democratic Majority" will increasingly resemble the GOP as Big Money doles out the cash in return for favorable legislation and deregulation. (See the AT&T Democratic National Convention, which coincidentally followed telecomm immunity in the FISA bill.)

    While more progressive than the GOP by far, the Democratic party is not necessarily the party of the working class now, not beyond its rhetoric and a long-overdue boost in minimum wage last year. It will be interesting to see how many Democrats in the House and Senate vote on issues that affect the working class in the coming years.

    Will they vote for credit card companies or credit card users? Will they vote for the interests of energy companies or for the development of safe, effective, alternative energy? Will they vote for universal health care or for a way to save the insurance industry? On these and so many other issues, I'm curious to see which way the Democrats go. Lately, they don't seem to be that interested in looking out for the average working person--not beyond rhetoric. But at least their rhetoric is more palatable to me than the GOP's. :) Maybe that's what we really vote for, anyway--"just words."

    I was a Democrat for over 30 years. Now, I'm unaffiliated. I vote Dem because most Republicans are kooks or crooks, but I learned during the primaries that the Democratic party is increasingly GOP-lite when it comes to protecting the interests of its major donors. Contrary to the myths of Obama's campaign being financed by $5 donations from people's piggybanks, the party's major donors are not average Americans, and politicians have to look after their major contributors to stay in office.

    Until campaigns are publicly financed and based on serious discussions of issues instead of million-dollar ad buys and poll-tested soundbites, the party in power will always be beholden to the very special interests in this country--the very wealthy.

    If the GOP was smart (none / 0) (#55)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:12:31 PM EST
    They would have run McCain-Huckabee this time on a populist anti-corruption ticket (probably would have lost anyway).

    And for 2012 they'd:
     start attaching New Orlean's rebuilding funds to every appropriation bill, try to make that a model city for Republican Politics/Economics, schedule the 2012 convention there (would be during Hurricane Season which could be bad, but if they plan everything right and build great levies is awesome-- use Katrina as a contrast point) and nominate Jindal-- it counters the racial bit and postions the GOP as the party of responsible government and innovative solutions. I'm unsure of his speech-making ability (which is admittedly very important) but Jindal on the surface at least appears to be the GOP's Obama.

    50-state strategy -> 50-demographic strategy (none / 0) (#56)
    by RiderOnTheStorm on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 04:43:30 PM EST
    I largely concur with BTD's thinking on this.

    The way I think about it is in the Subject line: each time the GOP trots out a wedge issue like race or religion or sexual orientation -- and they do so in order to hang onto their base -- that presents an opportunity for Dems to attract those being excluded.

    With that in mind, I think we should strongly encourage a 2012 run by Palin.  Doubly so if paired with Jindal.