Sunday, December 23, 2007

Get Ready for a Democratic Era??

It would be nice if the analysis in this Washington Post article ( were to turn out to be accurate and come true. The analysis does make sense and does seem to track trends properly. Of course, personally, I would enjoy nothing more than seeing Karl Rove's ambitions turned upside down and for the GOP to become a permanent minority party - or least a party out of power for many years to come. It would be a most fitting reward for those Christianists who have preached division, anti-gay hatred, taken the country to war based on lies and endorsed the use of torture. Here are some highlights:
Karl Rove's grandest aspiration was to create a Republican majority that would dominate American politics for a generation or more. But as the effects of his distinctive brand of fear-mongering fade, it's the Democrats who are poised to become the country's majority party -- and perhaps for a long time to come.
This sea change is the result of the electorate's disenchantment with conservative Republicans, beginning in the 1990s. Moreover, much of the electorate had grown leery of the GOP's fervent identification with the religious right. As early as 1992, mainstream voters were turned off by Pat Buchanan's nasty, divisive "culture war" speech at the Republican National Convention. Attempts by religious conservatives to stop teaching evolution and funding human stem-cell research spurred a widespread backlash, even in states such as Kansas, which Democrats had given up for dead.
[O]ver the past two decades, two new groups have migrated to the Democratic Party -- and provided the basis for an enduring majority coalition. First, there are women, who used to vote disproportionately Republican. (In 1960, for instance, women backed the Republican Richard M. Nixon, with his 5 o'clock shadow, over the dashing Democrat John F. Kennedy.) But in the 1990s, troubled by the Republicans' ardor for the religious right and opposition to social spending, they began voting disproportionately Democratic -- especially single women, working women and college-educated women. In the 2000 congressional elections, single women backed Democrats over Republicans by a whopping 63 percent to 35. Even better news for Democrats: Women are more likely to vote than men.
Second, there are professionals, once the most Republican of all occupational groups. The reason: Professionals typically used to see themselves as pro-business entrepreneurs, but by the 1990s, most had become salaried workers, wary of big corporations and the untrammeled free market.
So if the electorate is swinging Democratic, why does the GOP still hold the White House? The reason is 9/11, which revived the Republicans' Reagan-era advantage as the party of national security, an edge that had grown irrelevant since the Soviet Union collapsed. But after Bush's victory in 2004, the spell cast by 9/11 began to lift. The quagmire in Iraq undermined the Republicans' reputation for national security competence and toughness. And in the absence of new al-Qaeda attacks at home, Americans resumed their slow, steady movement toward a less traditional, more libertarian society -- one in which unmarried men and women now head the majority of households. The more the aura of 9/11 faded, the more the trends that began in the 1990s surged to the fore.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have consolidated their hold on the Northeast and have begun to make inroads in the Rocky Mountain states -- and even in some Southern border states. Virginia, once a Republican bastion, has elected two Democratic governors in a row and seems poised to make both of its U.S. senators Democratic. In the Southwest, where Rove dreamed of capturing the Mexican American vote, Democrats have been doing strikingly well, backed by Latinos alienated by Republican anti-immigration tirades, sagebrush libertarians fed up with the religious right and moderate transplants from states such as California.
These trends should give Democrats a striking political advantage over the next decade, and perhaps longer.

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