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Realignments take place because a dominant political coalition fails to adapt to or contain a growing social and political conflict.

John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira
The Emerging Democratic Majority

In certain Diluvian elephants that were the terminal members of dying collateral lines, the tusks reached enormous lengths, completely out of proportion to the skull and body, clearly exceeding by far the optimal size relationship. Furthermore, since in the mammoth these teeth curved sharply upward and in the the American Elephas columbi begin to spiral backward and inward, they could no longer serve their orginal purpose ... They had become a heavy burden, an impediment, for these animals.

Otto H. Schindewolf
Basic Questions in Paleontology

If you watched any of the Republican National Convention last week – that sea of milky faces, celebrating its own pasteurized homogeneity – you got a good, hard look at the party’s greatest strength: Its hammerlock on the political allegiances of a majority of white Americans. But I think you also saw the party’s greatest weakness: White America’s hammerlock on the party's future.

The time is fast approaching when the weakness will outweigh the strength. In fact it may have already arrived.

But even if it hasn’t (and we’ll soon find out) the party’s ecological prospects appear grim. Like a dinosaur contemplating a distant asteroid strike,  or a Neanderthal glumly watching a family of Cro-Magnons move into the cave next door, the GOP is looking at the end of an era – its era,  the Age of Sunbelt Conservatism. The party is now trapped by a force it doesn’t believe in: the process of evolution, which has left it overspecialized in the exploitation of racial fears and resentments, and overly dependent on the votes of a shrinking share of the American electorate.

When John McCain warned in his acceptance speech that "we have to catch up to history," he didn’t go nearly far enough. To remain politically competitive, the GOP will have to hustle to catch up with the future -- a future that will be less white, less European, less English-speaking and (if current economic trends continue) less middle class, but more culturally diverse and even more connected to the global economy – to the point where many of the corporate elites controlling the economy and the financial system may not even be American, much less white Americans.    

But the GOP base has absolutely no intention of catching up with this new environment. It wants to run in exactly the opposite direction: back to an America where a white middle-class majority and a white upper-class ruling elite were both taken for granted. McCain may be running for president, but his party is auditioning for a part on the old Andy Griffith Show -- and seems to be under the impression it’s a modern reality show.

Glory Days
It’s not hard to understand why the party is finding demography to be the kind of change it can’t believe in. The GOP’s unofficial status as the National White People’s Party has served it very well these past five decades:

  • The Democrats haven’t won a majority, or even a plurality, of the white vote since LBJ did it in 1964. Since then, the Republicans’ have posted a won-loss record in presidential contests of 7-3 (or 6-3-1, if like me you regard the 2000 election as essentially a tie).

  • Over the last five presidential elections, the Democrats have averaged just 41% of the white vote, and just 44.6% of the white two-party vote – even with Ross Perot siphoning off quite a few gallons away from the GOP in 1992 and 1996. In the last election, Shrub won nearly as large a share (58.6%) of the white vote as his Daddy did in 1988 (59%).

  • White power also helped the GOP rise from a 155-seat deficit in the House after the 1964 blowout to a 25-seat majority in 2004 – and only a 36-seat deficit now. Even in 2006, a bare majority of white voters continued to side with the party of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff.

But all bad things must come to an end, and the ability of the GOP to win national elections by racking up super majorities among white voters may have already reached its  limits, and is headed into a decline that will accelerate over the next three decades.

I once said, despairingly, that what America needs is a new population. What I overlooked is the fact that these things do happen. They just take time.

And, in our case, not all that much time. That America is on its way to becoming a "majority minority" nation isn’t news, but just before the conventions the Census Bureau reminded us that the process is

Minorities, now roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042, with the nation projected to be 54 percent minority in 2050. By 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children.

This moved the pull date on white majority America up eight years from the last estimate, issued in 2004. Moving the clock forward: a projected increase in immigration (from 1.3 million new arrivals a year now to more than 2 million a year by mid-century) and higher birth rates among the non-white population, and immigrants in particular. To quote the New York Times quoting a demographic expert:

No other country has experienced such rapid racial and ethnic change," said Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization in Washington.

White Flight (From Reality)

This is Lou Dobbs’s worst nightmare – an apocalyptic vision shared by most grassroots conservatives (although not, of course, by the corporate wing of the Republican Party, which looks at all those immigrants and sees an almost unlimited supply of cheap labor.)

The country, one suspects, will not only survive but benefit – as it has from every other s wave of immigration in its long history as a nation of immigrants. But Republicans probably are right to assume the worst – for them at least.

Assuming historic trends in partisan identification hold true in the future (a big assumption, but these things do seem to change rather slowly) the decline of the white majority just might produce the next big political realignment in this country – one that could make the Democratic Party the nation’s 21st century majority party (or more accurately, the minority majority party).

The critical point here is that minorities don’t have to become an outright majority to tip the political balance – in fact they already have. With a share of the white vote roughly equal to Mike Dukakis’s, John Kerry won 251 electoral votes to Dukakis’s 111, even though an unusually high number of Hispanic voters pulled the lever for the Republican candidate in 2004.

The change in EV outcomes was a function of several intersecting trends: the rise of the nonwhite vote, the regional pattern of that rise (which helped tip California, Illinois and Michigan into the Democratic column) but also a regional divide in the white vote, with white Southerners increasing their loyalty to the GOP while white Northeasterners defected to the Democrats.

The Not-So-Rosy Scenario

Looking at these trends, I started to wonder what the Census Bureau’s latest projections might tell us about the future. So I fired up Excel and fed it the most recent population estimates out to 2048 election, as well as some assumptions about voter participation and party preference by ethnic group, using the 2004 election as a baseline. (The 2004 turnout data was compiled by the Census Bureau; the party vote shares are taken from the 2004 exit poll, as reported by CNN.)

Of course, given how our screwed-up electoral college works (or doesn’t) it would be best to do this kind of analysis on a state-by-state basis, rather than at the national level. But the Census Bureau still hasn’t gotten around to updating its state-level demographic projections, and I don’t have the time to crunch all those numbers anyway. For a quick-and-dirty blog post, like this one, a look at the national popular vote seems good enough.

The short-term implications are not particularly encouraging – if, that is, you believe (as I do) that American politics these days is essentially tribal.

In fact, if the 2004 partisan preferences reported for the major ethnic groups (non-Hispanic white, black, Hispanic, Asian and other) hold this year, and participation rates for the different groups remain the same, my spreadsheet shows John McCain winning just under 52% of the two-party vote and Barack Obama receiving just 48.3%. This almost certainly would result in a solid GOP electoral victory.

However, there are reasons to believe the GOP share of the Hispanic vote was overstated in the 2004 exit poll. We also have the first black major party candidate in American history this year. So perhaps some adjustments are in order.

Assuming Hispanics vote Democratic in line with the average over the past five elections (68% of the two-party vote) and blacks vote for Obama in the 95%+ range suggested by current polls, the election essentially becomes a jump ball – with McCain winning 50.2% of the two-party vote and Obama 49.8%. (I should stress again: This assumes turnout rates are unchanged from 2004, which highlights the criticality of GOTV for Obama’s hopes this year.)

In Living Color

The longer-term picture, however, gets much more interesting. While non-Hispanic whites accounted for 70% of the voting-age population (and almost 80% of the voters) in the 2004 election, their share is set to decline steadily – to 65% of the voting-age population by 2016, 59% by 2028 and less than 54% by 2040 (as shown in the chart below).


Meanwhile, Hispanics will see their share of the voting-age population rise to almost 27%, while Asians will rise to 8%. The black share will increase slightly, to 12%, from 11.5% in 2004. "Other" (including Native Americans and I’m not sure who else) will actually see the fastest rate of growth, but from a very low base, and will equal just over 3% of the voting-age population by 2048.

Since non-Hispanic whites currently have much higher rates of voting participation than Hispanic and Asian voters (although not black voters) their share of the actual electorate will remain higher than their share of the voting population – making the very big assumption that registration and turnout rates among these groups remain fixed.

Still, using 2004 turnout and partisan preference as baselines, these population trends alone would give the Democrats more than 50% of the two-party vote by the 2036 election, and 51% by 2048. However, it is also possible to construct some extremely plausible scenarios in which the crossover to a Democratic majority is greatly accelerated:


Scenario 1 on the chart is simply a straight-line projection of 2004 turnout and partisan preferences applied to projected population growth – leading, as mentioned, to a Democratic majority by 2036.

However, if Hispanics were to return to something like their historic tilt towards the Democrats (say, 65% of the two-party vote) the result would be Scenario 2, with the crossover to a Democratic majority coming in 2024. By 2048, the Democratic share of the two-party vote would pass 52% -- roughly the average for the Republicans in their age of hegemony since the 1980 election.

One of the hallmarks of the Hispanic population, however, is relatively low rates of voter participation – just 28% of the Hispanic voting-age population in 2004, compared to 66% for non-Hispanic whites and 56% for blacks. This isn’t so much a function of low registration (about 58% of the Hispanic voting-age population is registered, vs. 69% for blacks and 75% for whites) as it is a function of citizenship. (This may also explain why Asians, the other US population group expected to see rapid growth, also have a relatively low voter participation rate, of about 30%)

If Hispanic citizenship rises – if only because a growing share of the population will be US-born – and if more eligible Hispanics are registered to vote, the political impact of the population growth would be greatly magnified. Scenario 3, then, plugs in an assumption that Hispanic voter participation rises by 2 percentage points in each of the next seven elections – until roughly half the gap between the Hispanic and black participation rates has been closed.

Assuming the same partisan loyalties as Scenario 2, this would move the crossover to a Democratic majority forward to the 2020 election (12 years from now) and give the Dems 53% of the two-party vote by 2048.

White Still Equals Might

So far, all these scenarios have assumed the Democratic share of the white vote remains pegged at what John Kerry was able to attract in 2004: a bit over 41%, down from Al Gore’s 44% . There is, however, no reason to take this for granted – for better or for worse. And since non-Hispanic whites will continue to be the electoral majority until at least 2048 (and a plurality thereafter) even a small shift in party preference could have a huge effect.

The optimistic case, I guess, would be based on the sky-high Democratic identification of younger white voters – white females in particular. If the research is right, and partisan loyalties are formed in young adulthood and don’t usually change much later in life, then the future trend is clear: The real problem with the GOP base may not be so much that it’s too white as that it (like its candidate) is too white and too old.

Scenario 4, then, plugs in an assumption of a rising Democratic share of the non-Hispanic white vote – not a big rise, just a return to Al Gore’s mark, phased in at one percentage point a year over the next three elections (including this one.) Under this scenario, the Dems have a solid majority of the two-party vote by 2012, and almost 54% by 2032, at which point Republican presidential victories would probably be as rare as hens’ teeth.

Time Keeps on Slipping

Now these are obviously just scenarios – what’s more, scenarios based on just two variables: ethnicity and party loyalty. But they at least highlight what the Republicans are going to be up against if they try to take their current white power strategy too much deeper into the 21st century.

Smart Republicans know this – thus the Rovian emphasis on wooing the Hispanic vote on cultural values, and John McCain’s initial support for comprehensive immigration reform (i.e. amnesty and eventual citizenship for lots of potential Hispanic voters.) But the GOP base simply wants no part of it – the Andy Griffith Show was good enough for their parents and grandparents, and it’s good enough for them, too – even if it is just a rerun on the TVLand Channel.

The real question is whether white America as a whole is ready to deal with it – particularly white American workers who are threatened, or at least feel threatened, by all that imported labor being brought on to the US market. For Democrats to capitalize on the demographic wave, they still have to hold to a reasonable share of the white electorate: something comfortably north of 40%, as we’ve seen.

Given that 40-41% looks like a solid floor on the Democratic white vote, this should be doable. But there are plenty of cases (like, say, the American South in the post-Civil Rights era) where voting patterns have become more polarized, not less, as the dominant group feels its hegemony under challenge.

Which is why I plugged Scenario 5 into my spreadsheet: This one assumes the Democratic share of the white vote actually declines one percentage point over the next four elections, to just 38% – even as all the other assumptions in Scenario 4 play out.

This wouldn’t reverse the tide – nothing can do that except a revolution in partisan loyalties. But it does slow it down considerably, with the Democrats not achieving a structural demographic majority until 2040, and then only a bare one.

A Darker Shade of Pale

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is here. That the Hispanic vote will eventually be the key to political control in 21st century America seems obvious – so much so that it’s probably already overestimated. It’s also fairly clear that the GOP will eventually be forced – kicking and screaming, if need be – to acknowledge that the country is changing in ways that cannot be stopped, only managed. Only the party faithful can still pretend otherwise, and only for little while longer.

But what impresses me most is the possibility that the balance of political power in this country actually could rest – at least for the next few decades – with that fraction of the non-Hispanic white population not currently locked into the GOP monochromatic coalition: white liberals, moderates and independents.

People like us, in other words (by which I mean the overwhelmingly white, middle-class audiences of the big progressive political blogs, such as this one). Even if most of these voters are not actually in that audience, they include many of our friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers. By reaching out to these people, maybe, just maybe, we can help nudge that non-Hispanic white Democratic vote up to the 43% or 44% share that would make it possible to break the back of the GOP machine.

On the other hand, people have told me that my entire argument is off base: Just because the country is becoming less white doesn’t mean it will become more Democratic, and just because it becomes more Democratic doesn’t meant it will become more progressive. We have plenty of proof of the latter proposition.  But some say the former one has also been documented.

Look at California, one commenter recently suggested to me: The quintessential minority majority state, with a large bloc of progressive white voters – run by a Republican governor and just as dominated by the corporate elites as when that governor was Ronald Reagan.
But I don’t think that’s really true: Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t turning out to be quite the union-busting, corporation-pleasing governor I suspect he (and his backers) thought he would be – in part because the state’s political tilt won’t allow it. And while it may not be saying much, California has moved ahead of the country again on a number of progressive fronts, from alternative fuels to food safety to equal rights.

It may not be saying much, but after 30 years of conservative hegemony I guess I’ve finally learned to manage my expectations. If it’s going to be a choice between a country that looks and acts like California, or one that looks and acts like Idaho (or Alaska) I know which America I would like to live in -- and it doesn't have to include mooseburgers.

Originally posted to billmon on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 06:08 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Love the analysis, but (0+ / 0-)

    What is the underlying cause of the success of the republican party?

    Well, it is big business. Race, religion and war are just a couple of the tools they use to promot their agenda. If these tools lose value, they will find other tools. You can always scare people under one pretext or other.

    I would not be surprised if the Dems are sold out to big business 40 years down the line. Somebody will be...

  •  Some factors that may monkey-wrench the model: (0+ / 0-)

    Human population growth, environmental degradation and toxication, resource collapse and "long wars," the general fact that humans are not well adapted to long-term planning (as proven by our current complete failure to tackle these issues).  In other words, if we are not the change we seek, sooner rather than later, the future looks pretty Hobbesian to me.  People do not become more progressive under increasing stress.  Despite my tag-line, I can't think past this election.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:16:31 PM PDT

  •  The biggest sign for hope (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oslo, bustacap, cgirard

    that comes with the changing face of America is not that the white majority is being replaced with a 'minority majority', but that that this 'minprity majority' will itself not be made up of a single demographic but rather a number of different ethnic and religious groups.

    In such a nation, it would be incredibly difficult for any political party to run on a platform that for the most part appeals to the cultural values of only one demographic (which is what the GOP does, producing what I like to call 'default' Republicans).

    You better believe that the Repubs know this. Look at the tactics they've employed over the last few elections, the ones they're employing for this one. They don't lie and cheat and intimidate because they're cartoon character villains who like to revel in their awesome evilness. They do it because they know it's the only way they can win. The only way.

    And as the years go by and the odds of their scoring easy victories grow smaller and smaller, you can expect their tactics to get more and more extreme. They're not malicious. They're desperate. They run on fear because they themselves  are afraid. They run on terror because they are terrified.

    Change is coming, whether those in power likes it or not. I'm betting they won't like it. And they're not going to let go without a fight. Be ready for it.

  •  I can't agree regarding Hispanic vote (0+ / 0-)

    Why wouldn't they vote for McCain who's as good as a Republican can get on immigration over a black guy who is seen as socially very liberal? The Republicans nominated the only guy who can keep Bush's percentage among Hispanics and possibly increase them.

  •  So looking around NH then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In it's red to blue conversion I should expect to see a corresponding explosion in ethnic diversity?


    Arguing that the Republicans are the party of white people is a bullshit argument.

    Republicans have been the party of corporate interests cynically exploiting conservative evangelical Christians and enough other Americans convinced that liberalism was a problem.  

    Right now, the Republicans are deep in the same hole the Democrats dug for themselves in the late 70's and early 80's when the party lost its way.

    There ain't no such thing as a second class child of God.

    by Dan E in Blue Hampshire on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:18:10 PM PDT

  •  Very interesting blog (0+ / 0-)

    Thx Billmon.  You spent alot of time putting this together.  Of course, we are all frustrated that the GOP is still winning using the same old tactics.  I keep saying the same thing - the demographics and economics are not in their favor.  I just hate to have to wait for that "transition point" where the demographics and economics work totally against them.

    Keep in mind they still have a couple of aces in their cave man decks - the choice issue and other social conservative issues.  These are perilously close to running their course as well though at the detriment of all Americans.  If the social conservatives get their and reverse Roe Vs Wade (even making abortion illegal at a federal level) where will they to run?  There are very few of these social issues that actually resonate.

    Let's hope we don't have to wait for the country to disintegrate totally into massive poverty before we can finally get rid of the GOP.

  •  Title: a Sensational Alex Harvey Band reference? (0+ / 0-)

    I suppose the original was "tomorrow belongs to me", not quite an exact match..

  •  McCain realized that a while back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    he is no maverick, but made a cold political calculation that he had to take a stance against the nativist base (led by the likes of Tom Tancredo and Dobbs etc) if he were to be able to court Hispanics votes. George Bush won that vote because he played up the Christian family guy image who loved to eat tacos and chug tequila. but Hispanics arent gonna fall for that shtick this time (In the 8 yrs GOP had power, and I mean total they let the likes of Hugh Hewitt and Limbaugh humiliate and pillory Hispanics to the point of insulting their culture. And did anyone take a stance? Did McCain ever say anything? Even Mittens became of the scourge of all things Hispanic once he realized that this part of GOP base would never elect him should he say a kind word or two about immigrants

    Barack and the Democrats would have to royally fuck up to lose the Hispanic vote and other minority groups votes. But there is a danger here too. White liberals too are not wholeheartedly embracing any more immigration right and if they feel that Barack is making appeasing sounds to immigration, they may stay home at best and at worst vote for McCain.

    "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

    by girlyman on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:31:10 PM PDT

  •  if McCain wins this election (4+ / 0-)

    based on the old coalition, he will appoint Supreme Court justices (not to mention hundreds of federal judges) who could serve for the next 30 years or more.

    That will screw us over long after demographics "should" give us the lasting majority.

    John McCain: 100 years in Iraq "would be fine with me."

    by desmoinesdem on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:32:36 PM PDT

  •  train your kids what a Gooper looks like: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, oslo, by foot


  •  Andy Griffith is a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

    Off-screen, he's campaigned and raised money for Democratic politicians from Gov. Jim Hunt to current Gov. Mike Easley and Senate leader Marc Basnight.

    John McCain wants to conduct 100-year occupation of women's uteruses

    by oslo on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:06:01 PM PDT

  •  weird thing tho is states get polarized w/ AA % (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    states like MD which are pretty blue now because of 30% AA but where the working class whites have become increasingly GOP.

    it is becoming more and more a national white people's party.

  •  I seen this dynamic in action (0+ / 0-)

    I worked on a mayor's race in a somewhat large town which was majority White american.  The town managed to elect an Asian American with a base that was around 50% Asian American plus a small percent of White Americans.  The old timers in the town could not believe that an Asian American was elected.  They still can't quite get with it.

    This is happening in small ways across the country.  One effect that the author isn't capturing is that as it becomes more common for non-whites to win at the local level that magnifies the chances of non-whites winning st the state level ... ultimately at the national level.  As we all known, there is tremendous strength in the support of local politicians.  I canvassed areas that had a local town council person living there.,  That person wields tremendous influence in the neighborhood.

  •  Damned good, billmon (3+ / 0-)

    Once again you make it very clear to all why you hold the position of respect here that you do, and why the Whiskey Bar is sorely missed.

    Please, please keep it up; you have quite an audience eager for your output.

    i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

    by bustacap on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:20:10 PM PDT

  •  hot damn billmon (0+ / 0-)

    there is so much good stuff here I hardly know where to begin.

    sea of milky faces, celebrating its own pasteurized homogeneity

    The GOP’s unofficial status as National White People’s Party

    The real problem with the GOP base may not be so much that it’s too white as that it (like its candidate) is too white and too old.

    the GOP will eventually be forced – kicking and screaming, if need be – to acknowledge that the country is changing in ways that cannot be stopped, only managed. Only the party faithful can still pretend otherwise, and only for little while longer.

    I agree with your analysis here and just spent half an hour trying to find an article I thought I saw in Harper's a couple of years back about the book The Emerging Democratic Majority by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira.  They make some similar points.  Here is a more recent article by these same authors in the June 2007 issue of The American Prospect but I will keep looking for the Harper's piece because it was a lengthy and thorough analysis.

    If Obama loses (I'm depressed tonight) it may be quite a while before we get another candidate with the same ability to energize and focus the efforts of the anti-Republican majority.  The future belongs to the Blue team but is it the near future (58 days from now) or is it many years from now?  As you noted, the trend lines may be inevitable but they are moving very slowly.

    I just hope I live to see it.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    58 days until the '08 elections. Let's paint the country BLUE!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:26:20 PM PDT

  •  Pollwise, Obama is winning the EC.. (0+ / 0-)

    by a hefty margin even though he and McSame are pretty close in the national polls. Furthermore, Dems have a good majority of seats in the House even though it would appear they were well below the 50% Presidential threshold in 2006. Even in the Senate which has a bias favoring smaller - typically more conservative states, Dems have a majority, if just barely. Indeed, there really is little meaning to the popular vote for Pres since nothing in our national politics is decided that way. I wonder if it's just an accident that Dems seem to do better electorally than the national vote for Pres would indicate or is there a some fundamental reason why Dems at least lately are doing better? Is it because Rethug strength is concentrated in certain states where they win the Presidential vote by overwhelming margins while the States that Dems win are closer?

  •  This country is becoming more like Canada, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmon, melo

    and that's what they hate and fear so much. (It won't be the exact same demographic composition; a major part of Canada's immigration is from the former British Commonwealth nations, basically the British Empire. U.S. immigration patterns have been somewhat different. But the ultimate result is a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-linguistic population.) We went through this 40 years ago when Canada became officially bi-lingual and bi-cultural and our immigration policies were changed dramatically by the Trudeau government. The country is now one of the most self-consciously multi-cultural in the world. There are some older people who do not like it at all but they never had that much power. In the US, the people who hate and fear this change have been in power for most of the last 30 years.

    Corporate Media: Republicans are their base.

    by lecsmith on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:56:24 PM PDT

  •  We just have to limit the damage for the next (0+ / 0-)

    4 or 8 years.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:58:19 PM PDT

  •  USA/Gallup (0+ / 0-)

    McCain -- 54%
    Obama -- 44%

    Likely voters.

  •  [picture] His new book is out (0+ / 0-)

    Obama has a new book already out. Hereit is. If you thinking about buying it, I'd suggest you first make a donation to his campaign. That is money well spent, money that can get him elected and that means great things for all of us. We can't afford to have McBush/Cheney-Reloaded take over. That would be very dangerous.

  •  An Obama Presidency could accelerate the trend (0+ / 0-)

    If an African-American becomes President and actually does make life better for a majority of Americans -- including those currently wooed by Republican cultural appeals -- it could really accelerate the trend by increasing Democrats' take of the White vote while African-Americans continue to vote in high numbers after discovering what a difference their higher participation in 2008 made (e.g., if Obama and Hagen both win in North Carolina).

    "We are the ones we have been waiting for" --Barack Obama reminding us we have to hold him accountable.

    by Jim in Chicago on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 09:04:27 PM PDT

  •  speaking of "Other" (0+ / 0-)

    (including Native Americans and I’m not sure who else)

    arab americans, they primarily vote dem

  •  2048? WTF? (0+ / 0-)

    I can't wait that long! It's 2008 or I'm going back to europe!

    'No Way, No How, No McCain!' - HRC

    by Cleopatra on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 09:19:17 PM PDT

  •  Great Writing (as Usual) (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 09:26:31 PM PDT

  •  Made the same analysis in 1994 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmon, viedunchat, BlueInARedState

    based on California's results on Prop. 187 -- an attempt by a white electoral majority that recognized it was about to be overwhelmed to create structural obstacles to full non-white participation in society. The white electoral (not demographic) majority followed that one up by outlawing affirmative action and bilingual education through the initiative process -- but they couldn't hold back gravity.

    The Republican party is California is dead, controlling just a little over 1/3 of the legislature. Arnold is a freak phenomenon, almost certainly the only kind of Republican who could win here: a movie hero with elastic principles.

    Unfortunately, the Democrats are also pretty moribund and the Republican anti-government hegemonic period managed to break the capacity of state government to govern.

    But the Republican Party in California is just about dead.

    There are measures that activists can take that will make the demographically driven transition Billmon describes go more smoothly. We not only need to register new voters. We also have to help people who live here get through the naturalization maze more easily. And we'll get a huge payoff from support for mass public higher education: community colleges can help a lot in bringing immigrant new citizens into electoral participation. So Democrats need to put money and brains into these efforts.

  •  Scenario 5 seems plausible (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe even understated. Getting through the transition to majority minority will be tricky. I worry about those in the current majority who are progressive about race at arms length. That is, they supported civil rights for minorities in the South and in urban areas but may not be prepared themselves for living within a multi-ethnic society as it spreads from those enclaves. If politics is tribal, as you say, you could expect a closing of ranks if the status of the tribe in control is threatened.

    Still, culture does indeed change over time. When I was in college, progressives like myself were polite and respectful to the black students. Now, on campus, I see mixed groups of friends who, by all appearances, are fully at ease. That was not something I expected to see in my lifetime. If that has happened over a mere 40 years, then the future you predict 40 years hence may also be possible.

  •  Tomoorow Belongs to Us (0+ / 0-)

    by The Casualties

    What do you think your country needs
    When she calls on the youth of today
    it means she wants you to fight for her
    a reason to blow us away
    you may think we are the important ones
    new faces to run this place
    our leaders don't think we're worth too much
    the fact of the matter is...

    Tomorrow Belongs To Us

    What do you think your leaders mean
    destroying the world of today
    it means that they don't really give a damn
    all they care about is their greed
    spending money on bombs and guns
    more than on the human race
    but who are the ones that will have to pay
    disease and starvation they create

    Tomorrow Belongs To Us

    -Turn on the tv and the news says
    -America is doing okay
    -ok for the doctors and lawyers
    -city officials and our president
    -someone forgot to take a survey
    -of the real working men
    -the ones on the unemployment line
    -getting laid off in every state

    Tomorrow Belongs To Us

    What do you think they'll leave to us
    a waste land of death and decay
    it seems that tomorrow is looking gray
    no future for the youth of today
    if you think thy give a damn
    better wake up from your dream
    they leave us a world of famine
    the fact of the matter is...

    Tomorrow Belongs To Us

    A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. ~Edward R. Murrow

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:20:02 PM PDT

  •  Just as there is no reason (0+ / 0-)

    to think white voters will not turn to the democratic party in greater numbers as the guns and fear of gays demographic fades the pro life portion of the Hispanic population is going to remain high and has gone republican in the past. Identity politics is a complicated calculus and I would not hold a wake for the republican party just yet.

  •  It's not who cast the vote that matters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's who counts the vote that matters. (attributed to Stalin).

    These days it's Republicans who count the vote.

    America will simply become more like Mexico.  A white ruling class and a 'mestizo' underclass that never quite gets on top of things.  

    We see this happening now. All over the toss up states, were seeing here on dailykos, diaries about how the Republicans figure to cook the books or misuse the rules to supress or deny minority votes.

    This all began in Florida in 2000.

    In the ensuing years, and over time, these will just become more and more brazen. The 'white' owned corporate press will largely ignore it.

    And quite likely, more and more whites will just vote Republican out of fear, resentment, hate, nostalgia for the old days when White's were the majority.

    The Republican party is basically how the original ethnic group that won the revolutionary war have maintained ownership and control over the nation despite allowing in all manor of minorities.  

    That original group was: English, Scotch-Irish, Scotch, Dutch and a smattering of German. Now take a look at the men who have been president.  

    Especially Republicans.

    They were either WASPS, Scotch Irish, or Dutch (Roosevelt, Van Buren).  

    Yes there have been advances. Eisenhower - German, Kennedy - Irish, Lieberman - Jewish V.P., and now Barack.  But even Barack is half white and that white is related to Cheney.

    The amazing thing, the magnificent thing about the American political system is that it maintains a lot of freedom but the original ethnic group has never lost control of this society.  

    Think about that original group that won the election. At most, there were, maybe 3 million of them.  3 million who had inhereted the resource of an entire continent - one with lots of resources and good climate and soil for growing crops.  These men were mostly Calvinist - making money was the same as salvation from God.  The question was always, how do they best exploit the resources of that continent.  

    They had to import labor.  First it was their fellow protestants from North West Europe.

    Then it was the Irish. Well that's fine because they already knew a thing or two about them and how to manage them.  They used the Irish to dig the Erie canal so they could start to exploit the resources in the continents interior. But the interior was settled mostly by WASPs and the like.

    Then it was the Germans. That's fine too because they're racial cousins, more than half were protestant, and many were even calvinist. Germans were already prominent in Pennsylvania before the Revolution, so no problem there.

    But with industrialization there was even bigger demand for labor, the cheaper the better, so then they started taking from all over Europe: Polish and other Slavic groups, Italians, Greeks, Russians, etc...

    But the whole time the original group was the ruling class - they were the ones who got to be President.

    Now as they start to move into the minority you can expect more and more whites to move into the Repubican party, almost instinctively.

    And you can expect more and more voter suppression, and more and more brazen voter suppression.

    And they'll get away with it too. Why?  Because they are still in control now. They count the votes. They control the media that informs the public of the crimes being committed.  

    Those of the original ruling class are quite sophisticated about allowing democracy but still maintaining control. They have been doing it for over 230 years, and despite the changing make up of the country, they've pretty much managed to hang on to the reigns all the way around.  

    They'll figure out ways to bring outliers into their party.  That's part of what the religious fundy thing was.  Back in the 50s and early 60s, Republicans held their noses to the fundies - this was the party of intellectuals - Uncle Buckley and Uncle Milty (Friedman).  

    But then came 1964, and so they morphed. They dumbed down their rhetoric to bring in the wingnuts, fundies and other idiots necessary to maintain loose control on the country.

    The minorities might become a majority in 2040 or 2050, but don't look for the white minority to give up control in 2040 or 2060 or anytime after that. The republicans will find ways to max out the white population out there, and then they'll find a kapo group, or clarence thomas group, ethnic traitors to attract to their banner, while they are suppressing minority turnout.  

    The future will look a lot like the past: Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004. After about 20 to 30 to 40 years of this the population will realize that the status quo rules and will give up and try to make do with the status quo.

    A much smaller ruling group in Mexico has been able to maintain control over a much larger majority for over 300 years - despite much harsher means, and despite several revolutions.

    In fact, the harshness is probably a function of the smallness of the ruling minority group, versus the majority mestizos.  The Majority could afford to be lenient when they were the majority, but now they are becoming the minority, they have to do the occasional ruthless thing. And they will, just like the Mexican ruling class does.

    If this were a pure democracy I would go along with BillMon's prediction. But it's not.  It's a rigged game, design to give away as much power and wealth as necessary, but never give up control.  

    The one big slip up was Roosevelt's New Deal. And they accussed him of being a class traitor - but he was also an ethnic traitor.  But in the end, those policies were necessary to get minority groups to help fight the nations wars.  

    But soon the New Deal will be gone soon,  put to rest for good. Then we will be Mexico, or Brazil. And many minorities, like East Asians, Asian Indians, and perhaps similar minorities will think it's a liberal democratic society. It's not. It's just a society with a very long leash - with a ruling class that was quite clever at giving away lots of wiggle room to the hired classes, but never control for long enough to make a difference.


  •  6-2-1? (0+ / 0-)

    You give the record since 1964 as 6-2-1. I count that differently.

    GOP victories: 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2004

    Democratic victories: 1976, 1992, 1996

    Tie: 2000

    So I think the record should be 6-3-1.

    That is not to diminish your main point, which seems sound.

    "In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

    by snoopydog on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:34:19 PM PDT

  •  Well, you started out good... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    with a great description of how the (culturally conservative) core of the Republican party is limping into oblivion like the last mastodon.

    But then you went on and one about race, and made some assumptions that I think led you astray.

    First, the Republican base in 2008 is not anti-color. Sure, there are whiffs of lite prejudice still to be found, but that is not the defining characteristic of the base, which you seem to paint as some contemporary version of the 1920's Klan.

    Second, you appear to imply that a progressive movement can be built off of a reaction by racial minorities to the waning prejudices of the majority. Even if it were true that these minorities would actively support a progressive Democratic party, I doubt if that movement would get very far, as it's foundation would be on quicksand. A movement is at its strongest when a few core values & beliefs are brought to life in a coherent vision, that finds broad appeal across and within the electorate. A movement based on racial identification and other facets of identity politics is very weak, precisely because there are no common bonds between the various groups. Moreover, identity politics tends to be reductive, in that groups break into sub-groups, which then break into sub-sub groups, etc.

    Third, did you even question whether membership in "Minority Group X" is going to continue to have the same self-awareness as it has in the past? For example, do you believe that someone who is African-American in 2048 will continue to consider that to be of primary relevance, or will it be akin to something like being German-American in 2008? I would speculate that the singularity of being black is lessening by the day.Ditto for Hispanics, gays, etc.

    What you are describing in your diary is not the era we are entering into, but the era we are now finally leaving. The new era is...well, as the title of your diary stated, the era of WE. And that is an era that will be built, not on a foundation of a 100 different kinds of identity groups floating in a loose amoeba of undefined pluralism (Which would be hardly progressive). It will be built when what we all share in common becomes more important/relevant than the late 20th century sociology that seems so embedded in the minds of those currently over 50.

    And that brings us back to the socially conservative Republican base. Largely skewed towards older generations, their problem is not some latent animosity towards racial groups. Their problem is that, not unlike many in the progressive blogosphere, they can't see a world beyond the cultural politics of the last 40+ years.

    Their fear is not of Hispanics or blacks, but of continued dissolution. They've seen American society loose its common bonds, and become estranged with itself. After the last 40 years, we live in a society that has little coherent identity, an America that has little sense of itself. (Many reasons for this.). The GOP socially conservative base fears that will continue, and so they are holding on to the past with their fingertips. They see the middle phase of a process (of the collapse of the old order, and the building of the new) and fear it is really the end. The irony is that their stubborn deathgrip on the past is part of what is keeping America from entering a future that would salve their own fears.

  •  But they are trying to evolve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Perhaps it started as simply the opportunistic response to 9/11, but the evolution to our War Party, or more accurately, our Party of Permanent War, has by now become a clearly conscious strategy.

    It is far from clear that such a move would not or could not work, that they wouldn't succeed in making ethnicity irrelevant just as it turns against them, by pushing militarism to the fore as the predominant force in our political universe.  They would start from a solid base.  Ever since we did not, at the end of WWII, do as we had previously done after all of our wars, and disband the huge military establsihment we had raised to win the war, we have seen our politics reassemble steadily around that military establishment as it becomes the new center of gravity of our political universe.  Just look at campaign 2008.  Sure, our side promises to fight smarter, but has anyone on our side even hinted that maybe we need to cut the military budget, that the problem is that we have too much military, not an unwisely used military?  When even our side talks about the budget crunch, we are careful to talk about something called "non-defense discretionary spending", and, while our side tends to defend social safety net entitlements by saying that the entitlement/non-discretionary component of the budget is off-limits for cuts, we never even engage a debate about why the defense chunk of the budget, which is larger than even the safety net, is absolutely sacrosanct.

    If even our side treats our current bloated military as sacrosanct, and will maintan its bloated budget even in the face of impending fiscal meltdown, you have to expect the voter to conclude that every reach of the political spectrum supports a bloated military for a reason.  If we aren't going to use that incredibly expensive instrument to run the world, why the hell are we footing the ruinous bill for a military big enough to run the world?  And if we are to have an Empire, don't we need an Imperator at the head of it, not some damn community organizer?No doubt Obama would make a far better president of a republic than McCain ever would.  But we've let the presidency become an elected dictatorship because we've let our republic go for an empire.  Not at all clear that McCain would not be a better Imperator than Obama.

    What I saw at the Republican convention was every evidence that they want to shift the thinking of the electorate to the idea that they need to elect someone who will make a good Imperator for our empire.  Sure, as with Rome, we will jealously hang onto the trappings of a republic -- we will never call our president an emperor -- precisley because that is what the office is become, and we cannot face that truth.  They don't really have much shifting to accomplish.  Their convention made no sense in terms of identity politics, which, yes, is a dead end for them.  But it made all kinds of sense in terms of the shift from a republic to an empire, which, frankly, is looking awfully like a dead end for our side

    The presidency must be destroyed.

    by gtomkins on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:43:03 AM PDT

  •  Colorado's Hispanic U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (0+ / 0-)

    Wonderful to see the Hispanic vote come out in a big way for the Democratic Party, Billmon, but would someone please tell Senator Salazar that his "centrist" voting, especially on Iraq, is making me think he would really prefer to be a Republican along with his good friend Joe Lieberman.

    "There is very little difference between the commonplace and the avant-garde." -- Salvador Dali

    by Slothrop on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:06:45 PM PDT

  •  Current and future political culture wars (0+ / 0-)

    will be fought as they have always been fought: the fearful against the feared. I'm sorry, but this is just not an area that Democrats have been able to operate in, much less win in.  Barack Obama's interview tonight with Kieth Olbermann made that crushingly clear.

    Kieth asked him about blatant lies McCain and Palin were telling about their own records in order to don the mantle of change.  He asked him point blank, several times, how are you going to respond to these lies as well as republican racemongering dog-whistles.  Obama said, yes, yes, it's ridiculous and then started talking about how the American people won't be fooled, McCain and Bush have the same policies, blah blah blah.  I wanted to weep.

    For all of Obama's strengths, he doesn't get that most Americans do not read War and Peace for kicks.  They do not have discussions of CDOs and credit default swaps over beer and pretzels.  His biggest applause line came when he yelled "Enough!" Hello? Comprende?

    I don't want to hear about how democrats will become a permanent majority in 2040.  If we don't win right now, with a president that has a 20  percent approval rating, the democratic party should be scrapped and something brand new created in it's once proud place.  If they can't win now, fuck em.

  •  Yay, Billmon! (0+ / 0-)

    Talkin' truth, Billmon. And hello again from Taos, New Mexico!

  •  Not an intrinsic property (0+ / 0-)

    I don't believe that the Republican party is married to white America. When voting black Americans outnumber voting white Americans, the Republican party will gladly switch sides.

    I think this is the fundamental misconception -- that the Republicans have a philosophy, or guiding principle that anchors/restricts them. Outside of power and money, that is. Any old collection of issues that brings home that power bacon is fine and dandy with them.

    So, in my opinion, the future belongs to the best snake oil salesman. Currently that is Karl Rove. There's no reason we couldn't have a liberal version of Rove, but that person must see the game for what it is.

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