An Ideological Realignment Driven by Demography

Political scientist John Sides argues:

The term “realignment” gets thrown around casually, sometimes suggesting nothing more than “something big is happening.” But the term has a more precise meaning—indeed, it must have a precise meaning in order for it to mean anything. A realignment is predicated on three things. First, there has to be a dramatic and permanent shift in the party coalitions. Second, the shift in coalitions needs to usher in an extended period of party control. Third, the shift in control needs to bring about a notable shift in policy. One can see how the “New Deal coalition” approximates this definition, since it ushered in decades of one-party dominance in Congress, particularly in the House, and brought about not only the New Deal but arguably the Great Society. No such thing has happened since Obama was elected in 2008. It is true that the demography of the country is changing slowly, and groups that have tended to vote Democratic are becoming more numerous. So the Democratic party coalition has the potential for continuing growth. Will that growth translate into enduring power and policy change? It certainly didn’t in 2010. Yes, the 2010 electorate was not the 2012 electorate. But that’s the point: a realignment doesn’t take midterm elections off.

Under Sides' rubric, Ronald Reagan was not a transformative President. After all, in 1982, Reagan's Republican Party lost 27 House seats and control of the Senate. Indeed, Sides' argument sounds eerily similar to David Broder's assessment of Reagan after the 1982 midterms (via Ezra Klein):

What we are witnessing this January is not the midpoint in the Reagan presidency, but its phase-out. "Reaganism," it is becoming increasingly clear, was a one- year phenomenon, lasting from his nomination in the summer of 1980 to the passage of his first budget and tax bills in the summer of 1981. What has been occurring ever since is an accelerating retreat from Reaganism, a process in which he is more spectator than leader.

Broder was wrong and so is Sides. Why? Because realignments are about more than just raw counts of who was elected. It is just as much a question of realignment of ideology. Ronald Reagan's lasting achievement was the idea that tax cuts were always good, no matter what. And until this election, that was a dominant ideology in the political discourse (notwithstanding the fact that the largest peacetime recovery in the Nation occurred after the Clinton tax hike in 1993.) For the last 4 Presidential elections, Democratic candidates have defended the view that the wealthy need to pay their fair share of taxes against the Republican view that tax cuts, especially for the rich, are always needed and always good. I would argue that with the 2012 election result, the Democrats have finally captured the upper hand in the electorate with regard to this ideological argument. The why of this victory of ideas is important - and it is due to demographic changes.

It seems odd to have to argue this point against a political scientist, but Sides is more of a horse race political scientist than a studier of ideology. And indeed, Sides seems to be offering a rather typical contrarian TradMed horse race pundit piece here instead of rigorous analysis. His analysis, such as it is, of the demographic changes and their electoral meaning, is the tell:

[T]he “Obama coalition” may prove to be exactly that: a coalition specific to Obama. When he is no longer at the top of the ticket, will groups like Latinos and African-Americans turn out in such numbers, and with such strong support for the Democratic candidate? [...] Moreover, it is entirely possible that Republicans can make inroads into this coalition. After all, they don’t need to win 75% of the Latino vote to win a presidential election. Even 40% might suffice.

This ignores history, a very bad thing for a political scientist. Consider the 2000 election. Al Gore won 62% of the Latino vote. And that against a Republican candidate who was especially appealing to Hispanic voters, a Texas governor with a history of Latino outreach. (Ironically, Gore also received around 43% of the white vote, the same pecentage that Obama garnered in his landslide in 2008.) To emphasize the point, Michael Dukakis received 70% of the Latino vote (and Dukakis outpolled Obama with the white vote, garnering 40% to Obama's 39%) in his landslide loss in 1988.

The Obama coalition is, certainly in terms of Latinos and African Americans, a Democratic coalition, not formed just for Obama (it is pretty funny to think of Latinos as an Obama constituency alone when you consider that Hillary Clinton was winning Latinos by 2-1 over Obama in the 2008 primaries.) This is not meant to slight President Obama and his campaign team, who did a remarkable job in garnering high turnout in these key constituencies. But the idea that it was President Obama who first formed this electoral coalition, as Sides suggests, is unadulterated bullshit.

And it misses the importance of the 2012 election result - that a new governing coalition may have formed, one in which a candidate who gets less than 40% of the white vote wins the election by over 3 percentage points and in an electoral college landslide.

Shockingly, Sides seems oblivious to the significance of this development. He writes:

[T]he growth of pro-Democratic constituencies is happening far too slowly to insulate the party from the natural swings that occur because of economic fundamentals. If there is a recession in 2016, the Republicans will be likely to take back the White House.

If this was the first election cycle of such a development, that would be true. But it isn't. The trend of growth of the nonwhite portion of the electorate has been consistent for decades now. Consider that in 1988, the electorate was 85% white. In 1996, it was 83%. In 2004, it was 77%. In 2012, it was 72%. It will only get smaller in the coming years.

The electoral future, as defined by demography, belongs to the party who wins non-white voters (unless of course, the white vote becomes monolithically Republican, which seems unlikely.) And that is the Democratic Party.

And not just because of immigration policy. In a good piece in the Boston Globe, Joshua Green wrote:

[M]inorities’ alienation from the Republican Party goes far beyond language and immigration to the very heart of the conservative worldview.

Take the repeal of Obamacare, a conservative rallying point that was central to Mitt Romney’s campaign. An exit poll by the firm Latino Decisions showed that by a large margin — 61 percent to 25 — Hispanics want to keep the health care law in place.

On the other great Republican obsession, deficit reduction, Hispanics once again differ sharply with Republicans about what to do. Seventy-seven percent want to pay for it by raising taxes on the wealthy or combining higher taxes with spending cuts; only 12 percent favor cuts alone.

And despite what Krauthammer thinks, Hispanic voters do not share the Republican position on abortion. Exit polls showed that 66 percent of them believe that abortion should be legal, a higher percentage than the population overall.

Before the election, whenever reporters pointed out these kinds of obstacles, the Romney campaign would reply that Hispanics and other minorities were going to vote on the basis of their economic interest. Unemployment, for example, is much higher among Hispanics and African-Americans than it is among whites. The Romney campaign ending up being right about this: Hispanics said their most important issue, easily eclipsing immigration, was “jobs and the economy.” But they still voted Democratic.

A survey last year by National Journal/Heartland Monitor goes a long way toward illuminating why. Minority voters tend to view government as a positive, and effective, facilitator of economic opportunity and prefer that it take an active role in regulating the marketplace. Whites generally don’t share this view. Asked about government’s role in the economy, 64 percent of white Republicans said that “government is the problem.”

To win Latinos will require a wholesale ideological change by Republicans. And to win Presidential elections, Republicans will have to win Latinos. This is the very definition of an ideological realignment. And it is due to demographics.

Sides appears to unconsciously suffer from the view held by many in the Beltway Media that only the ideological views of whites matter. It is this blindness that leads him to miss what is right in front of him - an ideological realignment resulting from demographic changes in the electorate.

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    Apologies if this has already been (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Anne on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:58:13 PM EST
    mentioned, but while I agree that an ideological realignment may be underway, what I'm not feeling so good about is whether governance and legislation are realigning with it.

    Is this a function of those elected trailing those who elected them, and they will eventually catch up?  Or is this a case where we get stuck with center-right governance and legislation because that's what serves those elected best, and as long as they are 2% less evil than what's on the other side and can shape their campaigns so as to keep their jobs, they can keep getting us to vote for them?

    I guess what's on my mind, and what's making me ask these questions, is that the message that was allegedly delivered in this election does not seem to be resonating with those who represent us; instead, they seem to be going full steam ahead with plans to impose austerity policies and make cuts to the safety net - and I don't think that's what America voted for.

    Sadly, Anne, I think you are right (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by caseyOR on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:11:06 PM EST
    about those we elected serving themselves and not those who elected them. We didn't get the policies we voted for in 2008. I fear it will be more of the same now. Many voters did go for the 2% less evil option. For many there just was no choice. Romney/ryan was so horrible.

    I don't know how to fight this. Yes, we can fight to defeat every single member of Congress who votes to cut the safety net programs. That means organizing not just against the GOP, but also against the DCCC, the DSCC and the DNC because they will be out there pushing to blue dogs and corporatists.

    It will be hard. And it won't get done in on election. We need to develop the persistence of the right. They never give up.


    The message delivered in this election (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Politalkix on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 01:59:24 PM EST
    will be listened to. This is the way I see it. Democrats will fight for infrastructure spending to grow the economy and create jobs, education spending, student loans, immigration reform, protection of social security, ObamaCare to support the working poor and people with serious health problems.
    Please read link 1 and link 2
    The majority among the defense spending and Medicare constituencies vote Republican. Republicans will therefore also have a vested interest in protecting Medicare to prevent the wrath of seniors (who have a lot of organizations looking out for them unlike the young or the poor or minorities), so it is likely that a reasonable compromise will be struck. Let the elderly scream at Republicans and tell them that they would not allow cuts to occur in Medicare and ask them to compromise by increasing taxes for the rich.

    The elderly are not the only people (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by caseyOR on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:09:19 PM EST
    who want to keep Medicare and SS safe. I would say they are probably not even the majority of people who want to protect the safety net. And I would also hesitate to claim that the majority of people who want to see SS, Medicare and Medicaid spared from cuts are Republicans.

    Furthermore, Democrats are the ones who would most probably suffer the wrath of voters were these programs cut if only because the GOP noise machine will make sure Obama and Congressional Dems get the blame. In the same way that Republicans have convinced many that Obamacare brought cuts to Medicare benefits, they will attack Dems for cutting these programs, never mentioning their own part in it.

    Mark my words. If Obama's Grand Bargain cuts those benefits in any way, shape or form, The GOP will hang it around the necks of the Democrats in 2014 and beyond.


    I agree with you (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:09:29 AM EST
    But I also think it's the case that Obama was stronger with a different group of whites than John Kerry and Al Gore. Thus leading to the fact that the 2008 results are much better at predicting the 2012 results than the 2004 results are, even though the 2012 margin is closer to the 2004 margin.

    But I think your overall point is quite right. Obama won with a lower percentage of the white vote than I thought he needed a year ago (about 40). We are seeing a lasting change.

    One thing I wonder is when it will lead to Dems being permanently wiped out in the Senate?

    He won by close to 4 points (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:10:54 AM EST
    and in an electoral college landslide.

    He could have won with 37% of the white vote.

    and in 2016, Clinton will be able to win with 36% of the white vote.


    I can't find it just now, (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:18:32 AM EST
    but the 2008 exit poll showed Mary Landrieu getting about 30% of the white vote in LA as she was (pretty narrowly) reelected.

    The one concern to have is that Republicans will continue to keep things close by further polarizing the white vote. I am not sure they can go much further, though: outside of the deep south, America is not like Louisiana.


    I think this is likely a low point (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:20:42 AM EST
    for Dem performance among whites.

    I actually would expect Clinton to exceed 40% and win a 2008 type landslide.

    It is why I am rather adamant about her running in 2016.


    Her map will be different (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:23:58 AM EST
    For example, can she beat Susana Martinez in Colordao? (Republicans probably aren't smart enough to run her.)

    I think Arkansas and West Virginia are forever off the table for any national Democrat now.


    If HRC (none / 0) (#8)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:33:27 AM EST
    can turn out younger voters and AAs in the same numbers as BHO did and can get a higher % of vote from white women, she can put Georgia and South Carolina into play.

    Maybe Georgia in 2020 (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:37:15 AM EST
    I'm frankly interested to see if she can continue to hold Virginia and Colordao.

    Her strength might actually be in absolutely dominating Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Republicans have no path to victory without 2/3 of those states.


    Believe (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:07:09 PM EST
    it or not Republicans here seem to think that Hillary can turn GA blue in 2016 but not other Dem probably will. They will tell you it is because of the crap they have been throwing at women and Hillary would probably draw a lot of Republican women away from the GOP. Otherwise, 2020 is probably right.

    I think that's the old HRC model (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:41:38 AM EST
    I think the new model gives her the biggest spread since 1988, maybe more.

    She might win by 10 points.


    Demography is destiny, but candidates matter (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:48:15 AM EST
    Bob Casey did about as poorly in Western PA this year as Obama did 4 years ago (and not particularly better than Joe Sestak in 2010).

    What about Julian Castro (none / 0) (#34)
    by MKS on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:42:38 PM EST
    as VP?

    South Carolina by the 2012 (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:19:34 PM EST
    margins is just out of reach now.  Georgia is closer to being a Democratic state than Missouri or Arizona.

    Hillary could win all the states along the Atlantic.

    The Dems do the worst in White Appalachia and the Mormon West (Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.)  It does seem to be more about culture than economics.  And demographics are changing the culture.


    Clinton would beat GOP Latinos (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:40:00 AM EST
    in Colorado imo.

    I think she beats anybody right now. hell, maybe even Obama.


    She could easily IMO (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:00:23 AM EST
    You guys, please don't do this. I haven't (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:47:57 PM EST
    entirely recovered from '08 primaries.  

    I'll send ya some vitamins (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:28:31 PM EST
    But not Missouri (none / 0) (#18)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:58:31 AM EST
    "I think Arkansas and West Virginia are forever off the table for any national Democrat now."

    But not Missouri.
    It is hard to imagine now that Dukakis had won W. Virginia in 1988.


    Status Quo (none / 0) (#22)
    by koshembos on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:42:45 AM EST
    We all assume that the Republicans will not change at least by 2016. The midterms of 2014 may be crucial. If the Republican suffer a drubbing in the midterm, especially in states such as North Carolina and Arizona that are next on the current convert to blue list, they will start to change.

    As for HRC. Although I supported her over Obama in 2008, we do need a new generation of leaders.


    why? (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 10:02:52 AM EST
    why do we need a new generation of leaders?  are the wrinkles annoying you?  
    What we need are our wisest leaders.  Hillary Clinton sounds like a good idea.

    Change takes time and leadership (none / 0) (#27)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:17:47 PM EST
    IMO, 2016 is too close for the kind of change that is needed within the GOP to win at the national level. Neither do they have any leader who can remake the party in his/her own image that will appeal to a broad spectrum of the electorate.
    Huckabee can campaign on compassionate conservatism but he will not make much headway among women and minorities and the young. Christie, Jindal, Rubio, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul may have strengths in a few areas but do not have the whole package to win a national election. They also have to get past the Santorums (it is his turn in 2016), Palins and Paul Ryans who hve the same limited appeal.
    Strange things can happen, so I will not say that it will be impossible for Republicans to win the Presidency. However, IMO, it wll be simpler for Democrats to keep building on the coalition that led to victory in 2012 and win again than it will be for Republicans to change by 2016.

    I actually (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:27:48 PM EST
    think Huckabee did well with African Americans in AR  IIRC so he could affect that vote somewhat.

    Judging by what I hear around here in GA Christie has about zero chance of getting out of the GOP primary. Ever since Jindal gave the lecture about how the GOP needs to change, he's off the list. Rand Paul is piece of work who seems now to have done a 180.

    I too expect either Santorum or someone like him to be the candidate in 2016. I mean the evangelicals are going to exact a price for having to vote for Romney IMO.


    I think the republican side... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Thanin on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:23:44 PM EST
    will be ripe for an Obama style, out of no where type of candidate, if s/he can survive the money onslaught jeb bush will bring to the table.  And if huckabee runs, I think he'll be a heavy contender too.  I kind of feel like the rest of the crowd will be cannon fodder, hoping to get a vp pick/2020 boost.

    The Republicans face a Hobson's choice (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:05:06 PM EST
    If they modernize on social issues, they will lose Evangelicals as a nearly monolithic voting block.  Becoming a truly libertarian party would place Republicans back into the permanent minority status they enjoyed before Reagan started the GOP harvest of the Evengelical vote.

    If they continue with social conservatism, but just a little less thuggish and crude, they still have a problem.

    So, by default, the will get a Rubio or Jindal to toe the line on social policy and GOP tax cutting policy.

    Hillary would be very tough.  She would start out with the "Obama coalition," plus pick up more than few votes with working class whites, and a ton of votes due to the history of electing the first women President.

    Dems main worry about 2016 should be what if Hillary doesn't run?  Truly screwed in that event.    


    Disagree (none / 0) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:09:15 PM EST
    with AR and WV. Look at their senators and governors. I think it's just that they don't like Obama.

    There's been a clear trend at every level (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:15:31 PM EST
    in the last 8 years in those two states. Republicans are in ascendency.

    Same here (none / 0) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:23:37 PM EST
    in GA w/r/t local elections yet the presidential voting keeps getting closer to blue. I mean the GOP has a bullet proof majority here in GA but everyone is talking about it going blue before too long. It's just not that simple. I think a lot of this has happened since Howard Dean left. He was big on funding state and local parties.

    Not just BHO (none / 0) (#31)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:32:02 PM EST
    They did not like Kerry or Gore either. Some states like VA, NC, CO are trending more progressive with time while others like AR and WV seem to be headed in the opposite direction.
    I would strongly prefer the Democratic nominee in 2016 to appeal to states thst are turning more progressive and keep the coalition that led to victory in 2008 and 2012. If in the process we lose states like AR and WV permanently for a generation at the Presidential level, it will be OK to me.

    Again (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:57:11 PM EST
    it's not really the states so much as the demographic. You have voters in western PA that are very similar to WVA voters etc. I would think that a candidate like Hillary would pick up those voters.

    Yes, GA did not like Kerry or Gore much either and they loved George W. Bush. What is wrong with these people I do not know. For some reason Bill Clinton actually did decently in the state.


    Hillary would get the same (none / 0) (#33)
    by MKS on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:36:10 PM EST
    percentage of the Latino vote, if not more, than Obama.

    She is tremendously popular among Latinos. A strong, compassionate female fits very comfortably in a culture that still has parades in the U.S. carrying portraits of the Virgin de Guadalupe.

    In the run-up to the 2008 Las Vegas Democratic Caucuses, Hillary was seen walking a Latino neigborhood, and at one point sitting in a livingroom listening to a tale of woe from a humble Latino family.  Obama was at a big rally somewhere.  I knew then Hillary would never lose the Latino vote to Obama.  She started in politics working the Texas border with Mexico, the Rio Grande Valley.  She will win with Latinos big.

    I think the nativist wing of the Republican party may not disappear as quikly as some think.   Putty a Rubio face on things won't cover that up.  


    Wouldn't they have to start winning (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:28:40 AM EST
    Their white women back to continue?

    The exit polls were quite limited in 2012 (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:34:56 AM EST
    But the 2008 experience shows that the white woman/white man gap is a phenomenon that exists mostly outside of the south.  

    Meanwhile look what is happening in Georgia. Notice in particular the southern and eastern Atlanta suburbs. The Republicans are going to start losing big time here in 2-3 Presidential elections. Texas is the big prize, but that's further down the road.

    BTW, to BTD, did you notice what seemed to happen in Miami?


    Yes (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:39:17 AM EST
    Old people die.

    Seems like people changed their votes too (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:46:08 AM EST
    Just wanted to say (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:54:50 AM EST
    I really love it when you two have these conversations because I learn so much.  I wouldn't even know where to look for the information you both link to and discuss.

    Why do you think the Dems (none / 0) (#41)
    by caseyOR on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:38:12 PM EST
    will at some point be permanently wiped out in the Senate? I don't understand what you mean here.

    Conservatives and the Beltway Media (none / 0) (#3)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:11:51 AM EST
    are lost inside their echo chamber. In their mind the ideology of the left (simplistically translated to "big government") only appeals to "takers". In their minds all African Americans and Hispanic Americans are "affirmative action beneficiaries". Some of the arguments that conservatives make against AA and Hispanics regarding affirmative action can easily be made by Jewish Americans and Asian-Americans against many Caucasian-Americans. Yet, Jewish Americans and Asian Americans overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party like younger Caucasian-Americans and college educated white women and workers belonging to unions and LGBTs. The economic interests of all the people mentioned are diverse, yet they have been able to form a coalition because of an ideological realignment driven by demography.

    I do admit to some amusement (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:41:37 AM EST
    at the fact that people in the media believe that Republicans do better with Jews than they do.

    Jews have a handful of loudmouth Republicans. But most of the rest of us are so ideologically opposed to Republicanism that the only way we could vote for a Republican is if we did so by accident.


    The more it changes (none / 0) (#23)
    by koshembos on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:53:05 AM EST
    Obama's Jewish vote share in 2012 is almost identical to his 2008 share, i.e. 70/30. Affluence increased the share of Republicans among Jews and other groups. It may also be the case that ethnic groups have a share of social conservatives opposing gay marriage, undocumented immigrants, etc.

    Well and then there's this (none / 0) (#20)
    by lilburro on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:11:19 AM EST
    Al Gore won 62% of the Latino vote. And that against a Republican candidate who was especially appealing to Hispanic voters, a Texas governor with a history of Latino outreach. (Ironically, Gore also received around 43% of the white vote, the same pecentage that Obama garnered in his landslide in 2008.) To emphasize the point, Michael Dukakis received 70% of the Latino vote (and Dukakis outpolled Obama with the white vote, garnering 40% to Obama's 39%) in his landslide loss in 1988.

    which you don't hear about from the media.  Of course were Obama white you would expect their ability to make this connection would increase greatly.


    Agreed. The 2012 election, starting (none / 0) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:15:44 AM EST
    with the Republican primaries, underscored their threadbare ideas and unmasked any residual  "compassionate conservative" ideology so as to frighten segments of the electorate.  The hapless Romney re-enforced the fears and force-fed the ideological realignment.  

    Micah Cohen (NYT, 538, Nov 15) reports a study by Gary  Gates (UCLA School of Law) that suggests another demographic group that bears attention: Americans who identify as gay.  President Obama's more than 3 to one edge among the 5% of voters (in exit polls) gave an advantage.

     Democrats won big over Republicans among gay, AA, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Jewish voters.  While some of the groups are small, together they make up about l/3 of the electorate. Forcing Republicans to capture much of the remaining 2/3 to win.   It seems to me that the Democrats will have staying power so long as their policies and actions do not bleed into the rejected ideology of the Republicans.

    I cringe (none / 0) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:19:08 PM EST
    when the word "transformational" and Reagan are used in the same context. What Reagan was able to do was tap into some existing resentment and turn it into electoral gold for himself. I would also argue that his bringing the evangelicals and power and the racial divisiveness that he used is the exact reason the GOP is in such bad shape now.

    Gosh, BTD I sure have missed your posts on this kind of stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write about it today.

    What Reagan was able to do... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by unitron on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 12:11:29 AM EST
    ...was dust off Nixon's Southern Strategy and put it back in play.

    I am not convinced (none / 0) (#32)
    by desmoinesdem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:40:26 PM EST
    that any potential Democrat could replicate the Obama campaign's GOTV. Other than Hillary, I don't see who is going to excite the base groups in 2016, especially if the economy is mediocre or just coming out of another recession.

    The best hope for Republicans is that they'll get to run against some generic Democrat, with a crappy economy as the backdrop. Then turnout will be weak in the growing D-leaning demographics, while white conservatives will be hungry for victory.

    The problem for Republicans will be stopping someone in the Santorum mold from winning the 2016 primaries. The GOP could easily have another good midterm election in 2014, which will "prove" to many that Republicans don't need to water down their conservatism to win. A Santorum-type presidential nominee would drive white moderates back to the Democratic Party in huge numbers, even if the Democratic presidential candidate is boring.

    IMO (none / 0) (#37)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:09:01 PM EST
    The Democratic Party will have plenty of good options. HRC is ofcourse one of them. However, a spirited primary campaign involving candidates such as Martin O'Malley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Brian Schweitzer, Sherrod Brown, Deval Patrick, Andrew Cuomo, Amy Klobucher, John Hickenlooper, Peter Shumlin and others will also fire up the base.

    She clears the field (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:21:02 PM EST
    There will be some vanity candidates but it won't be a "spirited" primary at all.

    Maybe with Biden, but definitely no Cuomo, no Gillibrand, no O'MaAlley, no Brown, no Patrick, no klubacher, and no Hickenlooper.

    Shumlin who knows? But not a threat at all. Schweitzer either.


    If HRC runs (none / 0) (#40)
    by Politalkix on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:35:01 PM EST
    she will definitely be the overwhelming favorite to win the primaries. I wrote that even if she did not run, the base could get fired up if a spirited primary was waged among the mentioned candidates. The situation among Democrats in that case would be similar to what happened in 1992.

    If sdhe doesn't run (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:45:16 PM EST
    Everyone else will, including Cuomo and Gillibrand.

    I'm more interested in a big win in 2016. That's what Clinton can give us.

    I'm a draft Clinton person for that reason alone.



    2016: Year of the Woman (none / 0) (#45)
    by brodie on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:54:29 PM EST
    in Dem presidential politics.

    Hillary if she wants it ... and hires someone other than Mark Penn.

    Gillibrand as backup to HRC.  But she needs another issue and a little more national media exposure.

    Klobuchar I suppose is the backup to the backup.

    Can't imagine Dems not checking the Woman box next time, finally.  Biden the only chance for the menfolk, remote at that.


    Why Gillibrand? Why does her name (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by caseyOR on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:22:11 PM EST
    keep coming up in the universe of not-Hillarys? Has she expressed an interest in running? Has she done anything spectacular in the Senate? Is she cultivating a base of support outside of New York?

    I'm not against her. Nor am I for her. Frankly, I don't know enough about her votes and her positions to be for or against her.

    I am waiting to see which side of the Grand Bargain the various senators support. I cannot see giving my vote or my money to anyone who votes for any cuts whatsoever to SS, Medicare and Medicaid. That means chained CPI, raising the eligibility age, raising Medicare premiums and co-pays, means testing SS, any of it.

    If a politician won't stick up for the the masses of Americans who do or will depend on these programs fro their quality of life, well, I cannot see supporting that politician.


    Occupies an historic (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by brodie on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:55:06 PM EST
    NY senate seat.  Young, attractive, smart.  Vocal end DADT advocate.  Wants Hillary to run.

    Needs one more positive major issue for the base plus more national exposure.

    Many key senate votes to come include Grand Bargain and vote on filibuster reform/abolition.  Short of latter occurring, no senator is in much of a position to achieve anything spectacular given the nature of the opposition.

    Btw, other recently elected women could emerge -- Eliza Warren most obviously.

    And obviously we'll all be watching what they do in the next 3 years.  I'm not endorsing right at this stage.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:59:27 PM EST
    for your well-thought-out opinions, brodie.
    I guess we'll just have to see.
    And I agree about Warren, as well.
    Lots of things could happen in the next four years.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:59:51 PM EST
    Gillibrand has been going around helping women candidates all over the country. This is the kind of stuff that just mostly political junkies are aware of so she really does not have national exposure right now.

    That's interesting (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by brodie on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:18:27 PM EST
    Gillibrand doing the politically smart thing, and right thing, and will have political chits to cash should Hillary not run and she sees the obvious opening.

    I just think the women have the advantage next time, both b/c it's time and b/c there is no obvious male frontrunner except for Biden who will not scare off any potentials.


    That is a very smart move on Gillibrand's (none / 0) (#52)
    by caseyOR on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:51:05 PM EST
    part. Racking up political chits around the country will certainly pay-off for her no matter when she runs. I would love to see Gillibrand and Warren and H. Clinton out campaigning for women candidates all over the country in 2014.

    Incidentally, that is the same strategy that put Nixon in the frontrunner's position for the GOP in 1968. After his "won't have Dick Nixon to kick around..." tantrum following his loss of the California's governor's race to Pat Brown, Nixon was a dead dog, politically, or so many thought. Instead, he spent the intervening years on teh "rubber chicken" circuit, campaigning for Republicans in local and state-wide races all over the country. When 1968 rolled around so many people were beholden to him that the nomination was his for the taking.


    Too late. (none / 0) (#60)
    by lentinel on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:23:38 PM EST
    I cannot see giving my vote or my money to anyone who votes for any cuts whatsoever to SS, Medicare and Medicaid.

    I believe that we knew going into this election that both Democrats and Republicans were gunning for SS, Medicare and Medicaid.

    So those who voted, for whatever reason, has already voted for those cuts.

    The "grand bargain" seems to be shaping up as a tax increase for the very rich, which they won't even feel, "balanced" with cuts in social programs which impact the poor and middle class. Cuts which really hurt.


    And, that word (none / 0) (#61)
    by KeysDan on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:46:11 PM EST
    "balanced" must have been focus group-tested as sounding fair (and balanced).   Neither a 4 to l cut to tax increase, nor a 4 to l cut  domestic to military/security  spending is  thumb-free on the scales.

    While I agree none (none / 0) (#68)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:43:33 PM EST
    of the other potential canidates are Obama level, Hillary was a similarily heavy favorite at this point last cycle- then Barack came along and out-organized her, do you think the loss in 2008 fixed that or would a HRC 16 campaign suffer from similar top-down level failures and a reliance on old outdated tactics?

    Schweitzer or Hickenlooper (none / 0) (#70)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:58:06 PM EST
    could be interesting-- populist campaigns based in the Mountain West an area under represented in Presidential politics. Schweitzer has international experience which belies his folksy appeal (MS, fluent in Arabic, worked and lived in the ME for years).

    Biden (none / 0) (#69)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:44:50 PM EST
    lack charisma at this point in his career, but if Obama were to just give him the keys to the OFA operation it could be a bit interesting.

    BTD: "Under Sides' rubric, Ronald Reagan was not a transformative President. After all, in 1982, Reagan's Republican Party lost 27 House seats and control of the Senate."

    ... GOP in fact retained control of the U.S. Senate until the 1986 midterm elections, when seven Republican incumbents lost their bids for re-election, and Democrats picked up two open seats previously held by retiring GOP senators.

    Prior to that election, Republicans held a 53-47 majority and Bob Dole was the Senate Majority Leader.

    It should further be noted that of those seven Republican senators who were not re-elected:

    • Six of them -- Jeremiah Denton (AL), Paula Hawkins (FL), Mack Mattingly (GA), Mark Andrews (ND), James Abdnor (SD), and Slade Gorton (WA) -- had initially been swept into office on Ronald Reagan's coattails six years earlier in 1980; and

    • One, James Broyhill (MS), had been appointed in 1985 to fill a vacancy upon the death of James Est, who had been another one of those 1980 Reagan coattaillers.


    It's hard to read much into Senate elections (none / 0) (#58)
    by andgarden on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:52:42 PM EST
    because the body is so outrageously malapportioned.

    I will say this, however, the 1980 Mattingly coalition is a sight to behold: it appears that black voters--at least those who lived in cities--joined with suburban Republicans to elect Mattingly over noted segregationist Herman Talmadge.

    Just goes to show you how strange things can happen in politics.


    Mattingly was a true moderate. (none / 0) (#64)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 02:27:47 AM EST
    In 1986, he went to the mat with the Reagan administration over the racist practices of the president's state director of the Farmers Home Administration, Orson Swindle. After Mattingly had placed a hold on several of Reagan's diplomatic appointments, Swindle was removed, but by doing so Mattingly had incurred the wrath of the far-right, which attempted to have Swindle challenge him in the 1986 GOP primary.

    Reagan was President in 1986 (none / 0) (#62)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:05:31 PM EST
    Huh? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 02:20:49 AM EST
    Yes, he was. But you said that the GOP lost the Senate majority in 1982. I simply noted that its return to Democratic control actually occurred four years later in 1986. That's all.

    It makes a difference because Republicans actually held the Senate for three-fourths of President Reagan's time in office, and not for only two years as you erroneously stated. Republicans always like to claim that Congress was controlled by Democrats during the Reagan years, when the truth is that Congressional control was divided by chamber and party for most of his eight years in Washington.


    Demography Is Destiny (none / 0) (#65)
    by john horse on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:49:27 AM EST
    In the immortal words of BTD "demography is destiny."  The problem with the GOP is that it is awfully hard to transition from the "the Mexicans are taking our jobs" party to the big tent party where Hispanics are now welcome.  Yeah, Hispanics and other minorities are always welcome in the GOP.  So long as you enter through the back door.

    Gerrymandering of NC House districts... (none / 0) (#66)
    by unitron on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:33:43 AM EST
    ...likely means a minority of our voters will continue to give a majority of our H of R seats to Republicans for the next few years.