The four hard truths facing Democrats

1| Demography Is Not Destiny

“Why not just wait for the white working class to die off?” asked an audience member at last year’s Berkeley Festival of Ideas. I get this question a lot, and I always reply: “Do you understand now why they voted for Trump? Your attitude is offensive, and Trump is their middle finger.”

As the United States moves toward becoming a majority-minority nation, some on the left have come to believe that Democrats will be rescued by demography—that the party can ignore the white working class and focus instead on communities of color and on young people and single women of all races. This is wishful thinking. First, the U.S. won’t be majority-minority until about 2045. If you think Democrats—or the country—can survive this degree of political chaos for a quarter century, I don’t know what to tell you.

Second, geography matters. Minority voters aren’t equally distributed throughout the country, and the votes of rural and Rust Belt whites are overrepresented because of the design of the Electoral College and the Senate. Moreover, even in 2040, 37 states will remain majority-white. State legislatures control redistricting, which influences the composition of the House of Representatives, as well as important areas of social policy, like education. Are Democrats really willing to give up on most states?