The Coming Electoral Realignment

May 14, 2015

The rallying cry for Democrats after two consecutive electoral victories in presidential cycles has been described variously as the ‘Blue Wall’, the ‘Emerging Democratic Majority’, and as ‘Crusty Old White Male-itis’. The happy refrain for Democrats in all these memes is the same: Republicans are for the foreseeable future going to be crippled electorally by high turnout and growing numbers of minority voters. The GOP is going to keep losing elections for as long as they cling to out of touch Republican principles like the rule of law, respect for life and individual liberty, which apparently–as the conventional wisdom goes, does not appeal to Blacks or Hispanics.

img_3661Similar thinking saturated Republican groupthink in 2004 after Republicans had won the White House for the seventh time in ten elections (and Democrats had only once successfully received more than fifty percent of the vote during that time), until Barack Obama won twice. Success, sans perspective, tends to breed the misplaced expectation that it will continue unabated, and the corresponding rationalizations to reinforce those expectations in spite of facts. Just ask Yankee fans about the mid-2000’s. Or Republicans in the late 2000’s. Or Democrats… In 2016.

The fatal flaw in the permanent Democratic majority argument is hiding in plain sight, if only people looked. Barack Obama performed extremely well among Blacks and Hispanics in both 2008 and 2012, and minority voters are a fast growing segment of the population. The pollyannic plan for Democrat presidential success, driven by growing minority populations and a dwindling White population, makes the mistake of counting on continued Democratic growth from Hispanic and Black demographics and also a static contribution from their White base (yes, Whites are still the majority of Democrat voters).

This is a really, really bad plan. First of all, Democrat election prospects in 2012 hinged on hyper-elevated turnout among Blacks and Hispanics (as well as young voters). Democrats and many pollsters make the mistake of assuming this trend will continue once the first Black president is no longer on the ballot. While it remains to be seen whether Barack Obama permanently changed the electoral landscape in 2008 and forever raised minority turnout in presidential election years, we can safely say that no such trend carried over into 2010 and 2014, when Republicans scored historic electoral victories. When Obama isn’t on the ballot or when he is campaigning for other Democrats, minority turnout returns to historical normalcy. In 2010 and 2014, this meant that Republicans won and the pre-election polls were mostly wrong. Why should we expect this pattern to change in 2016?

The working and middle classes are becoming more Republican. John Judis, repentant author of “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” said on the topic of the middle class: “In exit polling, they can roughly be identified as those who have college—but not postgraduate—degrees and those whose household incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000.” This group is now a GOP stalwart, and is growing in strength, not diminishing. The white working class, roughly defined as white, with no college degree, is gravitating toward the GOP so fast it is a small wonder it doesn’t burn up upon re-entry.

Judis goes on: “In the 1980 presidential election, the white working class made up about 65 percent of the electorate; by 1988, it was 54 percent; by the 2008 election, it was just 39 percent. Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin estimate that by 2020, it’ll be 30 percent of the electorate. On the other hand, voters with college degrees but not postgraduate degrees went from 26 percent of the electorate in 2004, to 29 percent in 2012, to 31 percent in the last election. ”

Thus, the GOP finds itself with one growing demographic and one shrinking demographic–but US demographics are not uniform, everywhere.  There are states where large white working and middle class voter blocs dominate, in the Midwest and Rust Belt. Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), for instance, is 42% middle class voters, and 54% white working class. Obama lost whites in 2012 by 6%. Other states with large white working class and middle class demographics (and generally fewer minorities) include Iowa (6 electoral votes), Michigan (16), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Minnesota (10) and New Hampshire and her 4 electoral votes. That’s a total of 84 electoral votes that the GOP will be able to claim, possibly as soon as 2016.

Meanwhile, demographic trends in other states with large numbers of gentry liberals like Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Colorado (9), and those with heavy minority populations like North Carolina (15) and possibly even Georgia (16) could find themselves in the (D) column in coming years. That’s 53 electoral votes.

Consider this: When President Obama was elected in 2008, the Pew Research Center found that 44 percent of whites aligned themselves more closely with Democrats, while 42 percent did so with Republicans. In 2014, that two-point deficit for Republicans had transformed into a whopping nine-point GOP advantage. According to Pew, 49 percent of whites now consider themselves Republicans, while just 40 percent view themselves as Democrats. That is terrible news for Democrats. With numbers like that, it might take a decade or so before they can claim states like Georgia and North Carolina.

The map is changing. The only question is when the dam will break.


Final Electoral Update 2012

October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard as the 2012 presidential election reaches its most feverish pitch, and there is a torrent of prognostication out there.  With roughly two weeks left before the 2012 presidential election there is still a lot of bluster about who will win. My blog space is no exception, but the reader should rest assured that your author came within a handful of seats in the 2010 mid-terms of predicting a perfect 63 seat swing.  This in the face of myriad pundits and political analysts who called my careful estimates wishful thinking, bordering on homerism and insanity.  Rest assured, Exile reader, though I clearly favor Mitt Romney, this is purely objective.

Mitt Romney has a clear advantage in the popular vote, holding onto about a 51-47 advantage. When undecideds are factored in on Election Day, the majority of undecideds choose the challenger in 82% of elections, so that number should widen just a little bit, probably to 52-48. This doesn’t amount to a hill of beans without a victory in the Electoral College which requires 270 electoral votes (for those of you who are curious, an election which is tied in the Electoral College gets kicked to the House, where Mitt Romney would undoubtedly win due to the enormous Republican advantage there). In one final election update here, I will try to project the final tally. Read the rest of this entry »


Thoughts on the Winners and Losers of the South Carolina GOP Primary Debate

May 9, 2011

1. Herman CainWinner. The most interesting and well spoken candidate, and an outsider among insiders. A strong defense of the Fair Tax and excellent answers all around.

2. Sen. Rick SantorumWinner.  A Close second. Very good answers. Great defense of the position that fiscal and social conservatism, as well as liberty are intricately linked. He was pressed on his social conservatism and made a spirited defense.

3. Gov. Tim PawlentyLoser.  Too polished. Has Mitt Romney-itis, in that he does not come off as genuine, but has less resources. An animatronic candidate may have been a suitable replacement. Had some answers that he was a little too prepared for. Dodged questions where answering honestly might hurt him. His record as a moderate precedes him.

4. Rep. Ron PaulWinner.  Paul has many good points and it is unfortunate that he isn’t taken more seriously. However, his supporters are often nuts which leads to his marginalization as a joke candidate. Additionally, the things that Rep. Paul is wrong on are critical to national security.

5. Gov. Gary JohnsonLoser.  Poor. Not viable, using his own words (referencing his support of abortion). His candidacy should be terminated immediately to prevent further embarrassment.


Better Off Today Than Tomorrow Under Barack Obama

June 22, 2009

In November of 2008, Americans in record numbers voted for dubious terms such as “hope” and “change.” In doing so, we’re told, those who elected Barack Obama as the 43rd president of the United States (Grover Cleveland served twice—should we really count that as two?) declared eight years under George W. Bush an utter failure. But was it? What if we were to ask ourselves that infamous question from the Ghost of Elections Past: “Am I better off today than I was eight years ago?”

When Bill Clinton took the walk of shame in 2001, most Americans didn’t have a cell phone. Today, not only does every family have one, but nearly every grade schooler has a cellular appendage, and our mobile phones are now used to browse the Internet, play movies, and for your teen to send risqué pictures of his girlfriend to the entire senior class. When the dust had finally settled from Al Gore’s post-recount Ben & Jerry’s binge, most Americans’ web access consisted of a shrieking dial tone connecting them to something called Geocities.com or Yahoo.com. Today, we connect wirelessly to Google, Facebook, Youtube, and we twit at an alarming rate. Read the rest of this entry »