In 2002, political analysts Jud Judis and Ruy Teixeira penned a book The Emerging Democratic Majority arguing the country’s evolving demographic shifts would give rise to a robust new Democratic-voting population base. Specifically, the authors believed, a new governing coalition of people of color, single women, working-class whites and highly-educated professionals would emerge and forge a squad of power ensuring the Democratic Party would be back in power in Washington for decades.
They called this group the New Democratic Majority.
Almost 14 years later, this thesis has again gained traction. Steve Phillips’ work, Brown in the New White, holds a parallel belief. At MSNBC, the liberal lion’s den, news anchors Christ Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid and Lawrence O’Donnell have also bought into this notion. Even Donna Brazile, the former chair of the DNC, soon to be released controversial book believes in a similar fate for her party.
After yesterday’s election, where America witnessed New Jersey’s electing its first Sikh mayor, a trans-gendered legislator, Pennsylvania electing a District Attorney who represented Black Lives Matter protesters, and Seattle electing its first lesbian mayor (among many other notable new female representatives) it is understandable to quickly buy into this narrative.
But those who indulge in the euphoria of a progressive beige and brainy coalition should proceed with caution. For, historical voting patterns of minorities and current demographics dump water on the fire of this liberal utopia.
For starters, those in the emerging Democratic majority hold a flimsy record of protecting progressive values. African Americans, the Democrat’s most loyal and largest coalition, have historically invoked antipathy for equal protection rights. In 2008, when a measure to ban same sex marriage was put on the California ballot, many African Americans voted against marriage equality. Other communities of color, such as Asian Americans and specifically Indian Americans, have conservative views on tax policy and become quite conservative on immigration issues after a few decades of living in the United States. And none of these communities have empirically held laudable views on Islamophobia. If one thinks a growing group of females will usher in a progressive agenda, evidence fails to support this belief. 54% of white females, voted for Donald J. Trump and data shows females often resist supporting other females in general.
Moreover, voting patterns among with this supposed coalition are susceptible to substantial ideological shifts. Asian-Americans were a toss-group until President Obama came along. Hispanics preferred George W. Bush over John Kerry. Young Cuban Americans overwhelming elected conservative politicians until 2008. The Indian-American and Israeli-American vote (and dollars) has never solely confided with one political party.
The 2016 Presidential runner up had such difficulty courting young females, that Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright made (and eventually took back) abhorrent and unsubstantiated remarks when asked why there was plausible data showing single females preferred Senator Bernie Sanders over HRC.
And we must not forget about the white male voters (sorry). Liberals should dismiss the notion that this group has diminishing political clout. Over half the electorate reside in this group, and roughly 79% of them vote Republican. Secretary of State Clinton’s votes mostly came from highly concentrated urban area (only Walter Mondale won fewer districts than HRC in the past three decades).
In swing states, the numbers are even scarier for the party of JFK. 50% of voters in Michigan are white males, 51% in Pennsylvania, 54% in Ohio, 57% in Wisconsin, and a whopping 60% in Iowa.
More importantly, if it the ultimate goal is to create a dialogue and cultivate nuanced solutions tackling issues affecting the ‘new Democratic majority’, it is important to highlight a broader coalition doesn’t necessarily translate into this outcome. When individuals of color enter higher echelons of politics, there is often an indifference or sense of trepidation for discussing ‘minority issues’.
Former governors Niki Hayley, of South Carolina, and Bobby Jindal (so proud of his identity he changed his name from Piyush) actively supported initiatives that hurt communities of color. Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval has been pathetic on immigration and race issues.
By no means is this solely a Republican disappointment.
You’d be hard pressed to find efforts to help the emerging Democratic majority from Democratic politicians like San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other minority Congressmen such Ro Khanna, Ami Berra, or Tulsi Gabbard.
When newly elected mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, Ravi Bhalla, went on MSNBC for a soft-ball interview today, he ducked the issue of discussing minority-focused issues as if he was having ‘the birds and the bees conversation’ with his parents.
But that hasn’t deterred some from think a new dawn of demographics is upon us.
After President Obama’s re-election in 2012 Mr. Teixeira reaffirmed his long-held belief in an Atlantic article and stated,
“Today’s Americans…want government to play an active and responsible role in American life…And they want the social gains of the sixties consolidated, not rolled back; the wounds of race healed, not inflamed. And that is why a new Democratic majority is here to stay.”
Last night’s election results that ushered in a dozen of fabulous fresh faces, into the Democratic party and system, should undoubtedly be welcome news. But to believe that we are now living in world where we can ride off Caucasian voters, count on a strong female turnout, as well a politically unfinicky base of diverse voters.
To that I say…hold up.