The foolish complacency of optimistic liberals

No personal offense to Teixeira intended. He’s clearly very smart, and he seems like a nice guy. But he’s also the co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority, the 2002 book that did more than any other to convince liberals that the future would be theirs if only they waited for it to land in their laps. Demography is destiny, after all, and demographic groups that vote Democratic (mainly minorities) are growing while those that vote Republican (mostly whites) are shrinking. The result? A future that’s bound to belong to liberals.

It would be one thing if the inevitable Democratic triumph appeared merely to be stalled — or if Teixeira responded to recent discouraging election results by changing his incorrigibly optimistic tune. But neither is the case. The “emerging Democratic majority” hasn’t just been delayed; it’s been reversed at every level of government (federal, state, local), with the party left (as one prominent pundit put it in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election) a “smoking pile of rubble.” (The premises of the original demographic thesis have also been called into question.)

As for rethinking, Teixeira shows no signs of backing down from his happy talk. Back in April, he took to Vox to spell out “7 reasons why today’s left should be optimistic.” (Reason #5: “The left’s coalition is growing while the right’s is declining.”) And now he’s back to tell us that, according to polls, liberalism is “surging.” (Vox should consider embedding an audio player queued up with “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” the next time Teixeira files a piece, to put readers in the proper mood.)

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