The emerging Democratic majority vs. the oncoming train

posted at 6:05 pm on December 29, 2010 by Karl

One of the nice things about the 2010 midterm election was that we were largely spared triumphalist punditry about political “realignment.” After all, sentiment among conservatives and Tea Partiers was consistent with the polling data suggesting that the 2010 results were much more about stopping Pres. Obama and the Democrats than any great enthusiasm for or trust in the Congressional GOP.

Nevertheless, there have been some Dems bitterly clinging to the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis, i.e., that demographic changes in the electorate will soon put the Dems back in the dominant position they enjoyed for much of the 20th century. It shows up in this recent post-census Slate piece by Christopher Beam. The Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost does a nice job exposing one major weakness with the thesis — and if you read the whole thing, Jay links back to his prior dissections of the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis, all of which are pretty darn good.

However, there is a major problem with the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis that Jay adresses only obliquely. Those propagating or buying this thesis rely heavily on demographics because they are at least somewhat predictable. Yet discussions of realignment frequently leave out the role of historical events.

Anyone looking US history would surmise that events like the Civil War, the Great Depression and the capture of the liberal establishment by the New Left in the late 1960s to mid-1970s had a little something to do with major political realignments. It is understandable that people are loath to discuss “unknown unknowns.” Pundits and analysts cannot foretell the future, but it is foolish to invest in theories based on demographics without recognizing that historic unknowns are likely to significantly influence the outcome.

Indeed, the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis does not even account for at least one major “known unknown.” Given the current political environment, it is a very fair bet that in the US will ignore its debt problems until they mushroom into a crisis. We may not know exactly when this will occur, but it will be all the more shocking the longer it is downplayed by the governing and chattering classes.

The debt crisis has a potentially profound effect on political alignment in this country. It will almost certainly result in a downsizing and restructuring of the government in its current form at all levels. It will likely weaken the public employee unions that provide the funds and the footwork for the Democratic Party.

These more obvious speculations do not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the GOP will achieve the sort of dominance the Dems had in the last century. For example, if the Democrats are forced by history into becoming more fiscally responsible, perhaps they will become a more attractive option for libertarians and swing voters. On the other hand, if the Dems lose much of the ability to expand government directly by taxing and spending, perhaps they will double down on regulations and unfunded mandates and thereby remain less attractive to libertarians and swing voters. These are the unknown unknowns heaped on the known unknown.

If I had to guess, it would be that the Democrats take the latter path. Why? Because ever since Marx, the left has held as a central premise that capitalism will collapse and statism is inevitable. The “emerging Democratic majority” thesis is itself a variation on the sort of political determinism ingrained in leftist thinking. Thus, it seems likely that Democrats will still be looking for ways to impose some sort of statism, even as statism runs out of other people’s money.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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This would be a good time to find 20 million new voters who would, with proper financial inducements, vote willingly and overwhelmingly for demorats.

Man, if only there was like, some population waiting to be exploited by the left for this very purpose. Where oh where could we find them?

Bishop on December 29, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Once the demographics of the whole USA are like those of Texas today, the Democrats will inevitably dominate!

forest on December 29, 2010 at 6:14 PM

It is certain that by 1980, the US will be 92% Italian, 48% Italian, and only 7% White.

HitNRun on December 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Oops, that second one was supposed to be Irish. I fail.

HitNRun on December 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Yeah, people are going to jump right back to the demographic argument.

Consider how the immigration issue is playing in Europe amid the throes of its debt problems.

Karl on December 29, 2010 at 6:21 PM

60 Minutes said that up to 100 Cities and several States are about to go Bankrupt. I would like HotAir or someone to keep track of D versus R controlled Cities and States that are in financial trouble.

Keep that on the front page. “16 Democrat controlled cities have filed for bankruptcy only 2 Republican cities have.
Who will you be voting for this cycle?”

barnone on December 29, 2010 at 6:25 PM

forest on December 29, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Because we all know how Texas is such a Democratic strong hold.

Grunt on December 29, 2010 at 6:28 PM

perhaps they will double down on regulations and unfunded mandates

Better than even odds this is exactly the course the left will take. We already are getting the first hints of this with the EPA. For some reason the left think they will be immune from the deleterious effects.

fourdeucer on December 29, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Now that the Communists, masquerading as Democrats have shown that they are all lock, stock and barrel deep down Communist wealth re-distributors, liars, thieves and anti-capitalist small business killers, who don’t pay their own tax assessments but raise taxes on producers, kill grannys and deny the oldsters even a token raise I don’t think they will be entrusted with power anytime soon.

I don’t THINK the American public is that stoopid or corrupt as to vote the rats in again are they?

Well maybe just the 52% leeches who produce little but suckle at the government teat…the Demrats won’t become a majority…. ah, wait, ah…er. ah 48 % pay no taxes, but leech off of ah, er, a maybe we are screwed.

Maybe the Rats will destroy so much wealth and make the majority of Americans leeches and lazy ass scumbags beholden on Demrats thievery and printing presses.

Maybe we are screwed!

dhunter on December 29, 2010 at 6:31 PM

The debt crisis has a potentially profound effect on political alignment in this country. It will almost certainly result in a downsizing and restructuring of the government in its current form at all levels. It will likely weaken the public employee unions that provide the funds and the footwork for the Democratic Party.

Don’t count on that happening. They will have grandma out on the street freezing with a 40% cut to SS before a single union member loses his $100K a year federal job.

angryed on December 29, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Because ever since Marx, the left has held as a central premise that capitalism will collapse and statism is inevitable.

especially if one could only give it a nudge here and there.
Remove the moral foundation of the society, corrupt the government, spend the country into debt, set one group against another, stifle business, mismanage the food supply, end oil and gas drilling, deny permits for coal operation, reward destructive behavior and penalize responsible life styles, then turn loose your ‘veterans’ and drive the evil white farmers off their land and give it to the rightful owners.

Yep, it’ll collapse alright.

Skandia Recluse on December 29, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Take away the stranglehold that Liberals have on our popular culture, and the Democrats will be forced to tack to the center.

Academia and the entertainment industry will be tough nuts to crack, but the advent of talk radio, cable news, blogs, YouTube, etc, are already creating huge cracks in the Liberal media dam. And we’re still only in the early stages of this.

ardenenoch on December 29, 2010 at 6:59 PM

Skandia Recluse on December 29, 2010 at 6:55 PM

You are so right, what is most frustrating is that capitalism is being blamed and so many people are buying into that false premise.

fourdeucer on December 29, 2010 at 7:02 PM

It is certain that by 1980, the US will be 92% Italian, 48% Italian, and only 7% White.

HitNRun on December 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Oops, that second one was supposed to be Irish. I fail.

HitNRun on December 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM

I prefer your original math. I couldn’t quite figure out the math in your scenario….
:)

mjk on December 29, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Academia has a bubble fixing to burst any time, and the entertainment biz has grown sclerotic, waiting for the ponybalds to retire…

Sekhmet on December 29, 2010 at 7:04 PM

The types of known unknowns are things that are not, necessarily, driving of politics directly. Ones to consider are:Moore’s Law , Metcalf’s Law, a generalization of the Feiler Faster Thesis in regards to how fast we adapt to new information, the concept of Disintermediation, and Emergent behavior.

These are all ‘knowns’ in what they tell you, but their impact on society is an ‘unknown’. The idea of the internet becoming a factor in modern business was a wild idea in the 1980′s, something requiring sober thought in the beginning of the 1990′s and now a fact of life for purchase decisions. That swept through the financial realm a decade before hitting the rest of the commercial world and yet there was no way to show how this would change how we view what we do in life.

Now we have each PC the equivalent of a printing press with potential audience size well into the billion, and yet the only way to even begin to think about what that means for us is to look at stuff like the works of Larry Niven.

Next we have Moore’s Law being applied to biomedicine, so that the decoding of the human genome took years, the rice genome months and soon your own genome will be done in minutes for pennies. From supercomputers to your local desktop that information revolution changes how you think about yourself, your life and how you lead it. Centralized planning seems archaic today because it cannot adapt as fast as you can to your own life. The ability of human liberty to ingest new concepts and adapt to them on an increasing scale obviates older ideas about things like longevity. That means that the idea of ‘retirement’ is becoming outdated, outmoded and losing out to the one year of potential life we get for every four we go forward. And that four year time frame is also shrinking. When you get to a one year of added life for every year lived you then must adapt our social systems to people who only age slowly, at best, and may not age at all.

What happens over the next decade will make the previous century seem quaint and out-moded.

If we can survive the power hungry people trying to perfect their century old vision of centralization to a world that just doesn’t fit it any more. Who do you trust with your life? Yourself or some bureaucrat?

Perhaps this concept of trusting our society to our positive liberties and restricting government to the few things that must be done for society not only isn’t outmoded but was never outmoded. Because we all are created equal… and as all the benefits of liberty get cheaper and go out further, year on year, the idea of trying to have a government control change or the rate of change is just not a challenge it is up to. You, however, are up to it. If you can but trust yourself.

ajacksonian on December 29, 2010 at 7:22 PM

The “emerging Democratic majority”. Hmmm. I was told as a young man never to call someone a festering, redolent bag of second rate cow crap just because you differ with them. I stand by that advice and do not do so now.

Mason on December 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Academia has a bubble fixing to burst any time, and the entertainment biz has grown sclerotic, waiting for the ponybalds to retire…

Sekhmet on December 29, 2010 at 7:04 PM

What needs to take place is a geographic shift. A more desirable place to make movies to “Compete” with old Hollywood. The new movie haven wouldn’t have all the old Hollywood baggage i.e. Socialist.

Dr Evil on December 29, 2010 at 8:21 PM

The Demo brand is so tainted. I wouldn’t vote for my best friend, if he ran for dog catcher as a Democrat. Centrist? Blue-dog, “fiscal conservative”, yadda, yadda. No one labeled Democrat can be trusted. Heck, most Repub are repugnant and the jury is still out on the next Congress.

Dandapani on December 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

“emerging Democratic majority”

ROTFLMAO! Hahahahahaha!! Gasp! Wheeze! Snort!

That phrase could only come from the fertile mind of Nancy “Alternate Reality” Pelosi.

I’m tuning in to the beginning of the New Congress just to see the expression on her face when she has to hand the Speaker’s Gavel over to someone else. They’ll probably have to pry it out of her hands.

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 9:47 PM

…and drive the evil white farmers off their land and give it to the rightful owners ignorant savages.

Skandia Recluse on December 29, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Minor ftfy.

Anyone who saw how that ended up in a certain African nation (hint: once known as the breadbasket of that continent) should be concerned about the same thing happening here.

Dark-Star on December 30, 2010 at 12:03 AM

My prediction: States are going to take drastic measures to protect themselves from the Federal Government. The Feds have freaked everybody out, including some Democrat governors in Redish states. The power of the Feds will diminish; the people will demand this now for at least the next decade. Even many of my Liberal friends are now admitting that the Feds are power hungry and have over stepped their boundaries big time. Telling the citizens that they will have to wait until the bill passes in order to find out what’s in it; this arrogance will go down in history as will this current group of politicians.

Keemo on December 30, 2010 at 5:41 AM

What simple minded thinking to believe that minorities will continue to support a party that panders and treats them as helpless victims of an everlasting persecution, rather than a party that has equal expectations of all people.

By Beam’s logic, we can expect Marco Rubio to vote with the D’s.

Greek Fire on December 30, 2010 at 10:10 AM

By Beam’s logic, we can expect Marco Rubio to vote with the D’s.

Greek Fire on December 30, 2010 at 10:10 AM

And by your ‘logic’, we can expect 80% of the African-American population to suddenly have a lightbulb-over-head moment and quit voting for the Democrats. Or the millions of illegals to suddenly grow a conscience and give a hoot in heck about American law.

Reality is this way, whenever you’d care to join the rest of us.

Dark-Star on December 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Dark-Star: +1

Khun Joe on December 30, 2010 at 3:45 PM

For the 4-18% of us who actually doesn’t drink the Kool Aid of the Democratic Party, I am here to tell you that Tea Party Conservatism is a hard sell to the a group of people who have generations of statist dependency in their DNA.

I am convinced that the GOP hasn’t done enough to court black voters primarily because there are not enough actively engaged black conservatives to do a lot of the heavy lifting, along with their white counterparts.

Go to the churches, go to the schools, go to the places where black folk dwell. Take pride of ownership in the vehicles driven to such places (i.e. keep ‘em clean and presentable). Wear clean clothes and practice good hygiene when talking to such groups. Don’t talk down to them, but engage them using proper english. Don’t pander, don’t lie, don’t patronize, and don’t cater to skin color. Give them the same logic that would be used for ANY OTHER minority group.

If comprehension is a problem, teach them the basics. If it takes a couple of sit downs to let the message sink in, then take the time required to do so, as long as it is consistent. The main point is that human beings by default can be led to conservatism only if the brain is engaged head on. Liberalism requires little effort and is harder to stamp out.

It can be done, and the sooner the better.

itzWicks on December 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM