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Willisms

« Make Or Break Moment For John McCain. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 72 -- Brazil's Economy. »

Checking In On That Emerging Democratic Majority.

Ruy Teixeira must feel like a real fraud. Or maybe more of a dunce, a joke, a jester-- fodder for regularly-scheduled right-of-center schadenfreude. Or, perhaps, he just feels like a personal failure.

ruyteixeira.gif

After all, Teixeira has devoted his life to analyzing politics, but he is so incredibly wrong, so much of the time. His book (and website that shares the nomenclature), The Emerging Democratic Majority should make any political junkie chortle in taken-aback astonishment.

The thesis of Teixeira's book, which ought to be fairly evident from the title, goes thusly:

Demographic groups that tend to support the ideas and candidates of the Democratic Party are growing rapidly as a percentage of the electorate. Groups that support Republican ideas and candidates are growing slowly, if at all. Not only are traditionally democratic voters such as African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and single women becoming a larger part of the voting public, but democratic-leaning white-collar professionals and the highly educated are increasing as well. At the same time, many blue-collar voters who defected to Ronald Reagan and the Republicans in the 1980's returned to the Democratic Party in the 1990's to vote for Bill Clinton.

Teixeira asserts that America's changing population will inevitably return Democrats to the majority status they held for much of the 20th century.

It's really unbelievable just how wrong, on nearly every level, The Emerging Democratic Majority has been so far-- and looks to be in the future.

When The Emerging Democratic Majority was published, in 2002, there were 211 Democrats, 222 Republicans, and 2 Independents, one aligned with each party. The Senate, at that same time, was comprised of 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and one Independent (Jim Jeffords) who was aligned with the Democrats.

Today, in the House of Representatives, there are 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats, and 1 Independent aligned with the Democrats. In the Senate, there are 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 1 Independent aligned with the Democrats.

emergingdemocraticmajoritys.gif

Teixeira is just bad at this stuff. There's almost no other way to put it. He stinks up the place with his spot-off political analysis.

The reason for his incessant (and increasingly hilarious) mistakes: he is a Democrat apologist living through a "rolling Republican realignment." This week on his blog, however, Teixeira admitted that the future for Democrats may be more dire than he ever imagined:

I’ve documented how poorly Democrats have been faring with white working class voters (defined here as whites without a four year college degree). In 2004, Bush beat Kerry by 23 points among these voters, according to the National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll, up from the 17 margin Bush enjoyed among these voters in 2000. Also according the NEP exit poll, white working class voters were 43.3 percent of all voters in 2004.

That certainly sounds like Democrats have to improve their performance among these voters, and quickly, if they hope to build a majority coalition.

Last week, I presented some data from the newly released Census voter supplement data on the age, race, and education distribution of voters in 2004. Further analysis of these data to look at the specific question of white working class representation among voters in 2004 reveals that the Democrats’ white working problem isn’t as bad as suggested by the NEP data. It’s worse.

That’s because the NEP data underestimate the proportion of non-college-educated in the voting pool and, therefore, the proportion of white working class voters. The Census voter supplement data indicate that white working class voters are actually a majority (51.5 percent) of all voters, rather than the 43.3 percent indicated by the NEP exit poll.

A big challenge for the Democrats just got a little bigger.

Maybe Texeira is starting to understand that his thesis is indefensible; however, if he really "got it," he'd revise his book and change the title to something like The Vanishing Democrat Voter.

But, you may ask, shouldn't we give Teixeira at least until 2010 to let the predictions play out?

Sure.

But, the demographics look pretty awful for the Democrats.

In 2004, Bush won 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties in the country. Latinos swung toward Bush (.pdf) in a big way in 2004. Republicans (generally) tend to have more kids, while Democrats have more European birthrates.

Not only that, but the U.S. Census projects that in 2010, states that voted for Bush in 2004 will make a net gain of 6 additional Congressional seats (as well as Electoral College votes), while states that voted for Kerry will lose 6 (.pdf) [note- pink is +1, red is +3; light blue is -1, dark blue is -2]:

2010censusreapportionment.gif
Click map for full .pdf.

The demographics of America are, simply put, stacked against just about every theory found in The Emerging Democratic Majority.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 June 2005 03:58 PM

Comments

I like your blog, your posts make a lot of sense. I've never heard of this Ruy Texiera guy, but thats probably because he was such a bad political predictor! You may find our political blog interesting, www.frustratedphilosophers.blogspot.com please visit it sometime. Keep up the great work, and God Bless America.

Posted by: Malebranche at June 8, 2005 06:21 PM

Poor guy! Not only is he the worst political predictor! BUT... He resembles the devil. Yikes!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at June 8, 2005 06:25 PM

Is it possible for a Democratic majority to emerge, but one that doesn't vote at the same levels as the Republican electoral majority?

That's what I understand to be the case, at least that's what I deduce from polls where ADULTS favor Democrats more strongly than REGISTERED VOTERS.

Is there an alternate explanation for that phenomenon?

If not, I think Ruy Teixeira could be said to be half-right.

Posted by: Mick Wright at June 8, 2005 07:08 PM

DOh!...

Posted by: Homer at June 8, 2005 09:00 PM

Doh!

Posted by: Homer at June 8, 2005 09:07 PM

It's Pauline Kaehl syndrome.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at June 8, 2005 09:40 PM

Fanstastic post, Will!

Democratic Majority my A**!

Posted by: Jim Hoft at June 9, 2005 09:40 AM

Do you know what today is?...?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at June 9, 2005 10:32 AM

Enjoy the blog, enjoyed the post, with one nitpick. In your census chart, I would note that California has not been a Red State for POTUS or Senate for quite some time. Without downloading the report, it looks like the colors are used to denote addition or loss of seats, but CA did not go for Bush in 2004 as your post states.

Posted by: Karl at June 9, 2005 12:17 PM

Actually, I didn't state that, but I guess I could have made the map more clear. Pink is +1, red is +3. Meanwhile, light blue is -1 and dark blue is -2. The color-coding has nothing to do with red states and blue states, otherwise Missouri and Iowa would also need changing.

Posted by: Will Franklin at June 9, 2005 12:21 PM

All Ruy needs is a set of horns! He is scarey looking!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at June 9, 2005 07:54 PM

If you search Amazon, you can still find used copies of Lanny Davis' (yes, that Lanny Davis) 1974 opus, also entitled "The Emerging Democratic Majority". Davis got a little luckier on his timing due to Watergate, but long term he was just as wrong as Judis & Texeira. For Democrats the song is "Happy Days are (Almost) Here Again".

Posted by: Brainster at June 10, 2005 08:04 AM

Hi Will.

I was just thinking about the Emerging Democratic Majority, because I just read a post over on MyDD that was pretty much another "time is on our side" "it is inevitable" "they will be assimilated" rehash of the same old Teixeira stuff.

And to think there is a stud 1b by the same name.

One of the things that Teixeira missed is the upward mobility of minorities tends to make those groups more Republican over time. Hispanics still vote Democratic, but not by as much. Asians still vote Democratic, but that will change as well. Give it 10 more years and Democrats will be wondering how to win back Hawaii.

Sadly, we have not been able to break the hammerlock on blacks. But we will, I have no doubt.

MyDD's Bowers said that the end of "identity" will be when the Democrats triumph. Yet the only thing holding them together right now are racial divisions. When they evaporate, it is game over.

Posted by: Gerry at June 10, 2005 06:26 PM

The problem with the "Emerging Democratic Majority" theory is that, while the demographic shifts that Teixera points out are indeed occurring, Teixera is assuming that all of those rising demographic groups are prone to vote Democrat.

That is a faulty assumption.

The current version of the Democratic Party stands for nothing other than the notion that "Republicans are bad."

If Teixera is arguing that the dominant demographic groups of the next few decades will embrace the Clintonian center-left Democratic Party of the '90s, he may be less wrong, but that Democratic Party appears to have disappeared along with Clinton's presidency. The Dems are once again the party of northeastern liberalism.

To the contrary, let's look at the groups that will dominate America according to Teixera:

Latino voters: tend to be economically liberal and socially conservative

Urban and suburban professionals: tend to be economically conservative and socially liberal

African-Americans: liberal both economically and socially

If anything, these groups will be largely at odds with one another over policy. Teixera's utopian view of all of these demographic groups joining hands and going to the polls to throw those darned white male rednecks out of power is just wishful thinking.

That's not to say that Clinton-style centrism doesn't have a place in the politics of the next generation. A lot of Americans yearn for a more fiscally-responsible government that is socially less intrusive, and the GOP in DC appears able to deliver neither. Plus, lots of younger Americans trust government more and are more open to state roles in health care, education, etc. I think today's politics will certainly not be tomorrow's, but one thing is clear, whatever replaces the current GOP majority will NOT be the present-day version of the Democrats, which is largely a mixture of tired, old liberal ideologues from the '70s who still think they can reverse Reaganism combined with a clearinghouse of leftist interest groups.

Posted by: Matthew at June 11, 2005 07:24 PM