Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Democrats: is demography destiny?

Future Republicans?
Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik, a former Bill Clinton advisor and author of “big-think” memos on politics, recently wrote in the liberal Politico that “demography is destiny.” Youth, arriving in new cohorts, unmarried women, growing in numbers, and especially minorities “will increasingly shape the outcome of future presidential elections.” As Sosnik notes,
We first saw the impact of how these demographic changes can alter the politics of a state back in the 1980s when California rapidly shifted to what is now a solidly Democratic state. . . the central elements and attributes of our country will increasingly be reflected by the fast-growing, ethnically diverse states that tend to skew younger than the rest of the country.
The New York Times’ David Brooks, a classic elitist conservative (snob) who sometimes poses as the Republican he once was, seems to have taken issue with Sosnik’s analysis. Whatever the prompt, Brooks recently observed that
there’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that, in fact, Democrats do not enter [the 2016] election with an advantage. There are a series of trends that may cancel out the Democratic gains with immigrants, singles and the like.
Brooks points to “three big things” that may at least temporarily hold off the Democratic “demography is destiny” realignment:

1. the aging of the electorate. . . People tend to get more Republican as they get older, and they vote at higher rates. . . This aging effect could have a big impact in . . . Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania. [Emphasis added. We have already identified Ohio and Pennsylvania as two of 2016’s key “swing states.”]

2. Democrats continue to lose support among the white working class. In 2008, Barack Obama carried 40% of white voters with a high school degree. By 2012, that was down to 36%. . . In 2009, Republicans had a 20-seat advantage in House districts that were majority white working class. Today, they have a 125-seat advantage.

3. Democrats [now do] worse among college-educated voters. Obama won white college graduates in 2008, but he lost them to Mitt Romney in 2012.

Brooks also noted that “Hispanic voters, at least in Sun Belt states, are getting more Republican as they move up the educational ladder” (see above photo).  And playing off the well-known fact the Democrats are the party of government and Republicans are not, Brooks added that
faith in government is near all-time lows. In a Gallup survey, voters listed dysfunctional government as the nation’s No. 1 problem. . . American voters. . . used to think it was bloated and ineffective. Now they think it is [also] rigged to help those who need it least.

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