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Democrat’s Demographic Fatalism Facing Critiques

Is there really an emerging electoral majority for the Democratic Party? Given the results of the last election this question seems silly to even ask, but the belief that the demographic changes occurring in America predestine the Democratic Party to dominate future elections has become the consolation for ever defeat the Democrats have faced.

The belief serves as a soothing mental balm for a bruising reality – don’t worry tomorrow belongs to us. The harsher the reality the more fervent the commitment.

The theory goes something like this – because white voters are declining numerically relative to non-white voters the Republican Party will soon be unable to muster enough votes to hold seats in Congress, win presidential elections, or dominate as many states as it does now. While the demographic changes are undeniable, the view that those demographic changes directly translate into electoral shifts is beginning to face some pretty solid critiques.

A majority minority country is not necessarily one that votes for Democrats or votes at all. Maybe people need something to vote for?

Suffering a series of historic defeats is not a sign that you’re winning. The Democrats no longer please anyone much, neither their depressed base nor the less committed. Meanwhile, Republicans still manage to portray them as wild-eyed socialists. The party does take the White House more often now, but at the state level, and in the midterms, when a third of the senators and all representatives are up for election, the party has been hollowed out.

The trouble was that the Clinton-Obama strategy got things upside down from the start. Why try to cast yourselves as economic moderates and cultural progressives when the disparate elements of your coalition have little in common culturally, but are all struggling with the same wretched economy?

The answer to that last question is pretty obvious isn’t it? The Democratic Party – like the Republican Party – relies on the top 1% to finance their political campaigns. Hence, economic moderation has the virtue of not pissing off the people they need to run. The “culture wars” have the virtue of being mostly irrelevant to the commercial oligarchy that owns America and operates its political system. Two corporate parties – one pro-life, one pro-choice.

So with cracks already showing in the Obama coalition why should Democrats simply take for granted that they will win elections once the demography shifts? And perhaps more to the real point – who cares if they win if they do not speak to the real economic concerns of the electorate?

CommunityThe Bullpen

Democrat’s Demographic Fatalism Facing Critiques

Is there really an emerging electoral majority for the Democratic Party? Given the results of the last election this question seems silly to even ask, but the belief that the demographic changes occurring in America predestine the Democratic Party to dominate future elections has become the consolation for every defeat the Democrats have faced.

The belief serves as a soothing mental balm for a bruising reality – don’t worry tomorrow belongs to us. The harsher the reality the more fervent the commitment.

The theory goes something like this – because white voters are declining numerically relative to non-white voters the Republican Party will soon be unable to muster enough votes to hold seats in Congress, win presidential elections, or dominate as many states as it does now. While the demographic changes are undeniable, the view that those demographic changes directly translate into electoral shifts is beginning to face some pretty solid critiques.

A majority minority country is not necessarily one that votes for Democrats or votes at all. Maybe people need something to vote for?

Suffering a series of historic defeats is not a sign that you’re winning. The Democrats no longer please anyone much, neither their depressed base nor the less committed. Meanwhile, Republicans still manage to portray them as wild-eyed socialists. The party does take the White House more often now, but at the state level, and in the midterms, when a third of the senators and all representatives are up for election, the party has been hollowed out.

The trouble was that the Clinton-Obama strategy got things upside down from the start. Why try to cast yourselves as economic moderates and cultural progressives when the disparate elements of your coalition have little in common culturally, but are all struggling with the same wretched economy?

The answer to that last question is pretty obvious isn’t it? The Democratic Party – like the Republican Party – relies on the top 1% to finance their political campaigns. Hence, economic moderation has the virtue of not pissing off the people they need to run. The “culture wars” have the virtue of being mostly irrelevant to the commercial oligarchy that owns America and operates its political system. Two corporate parties – one pro-life, one pro-choice.

So with cracks already showing in the Obama coalition why should Democrats simply take for granted that they will win elections once the demography shifts? And perhaps more to the real point – who cares if they win if they do not speak to the real economic concerns of the electorate?

Photo by Aw58 under Creative Commons license.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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