February 10, 2015

JEB IS JUST A RETURN TO VIABILITY:

The Democratic Majority That Emerged -- And Disappeared (Michael Barone, February 10, 2015, Real Clear Politics)

The Republican Party has always been built around a demographic core of people considered by themselves and others to be typical Americans, even though they are not by themselves a majority. Northern Yankee Protestants in the 19th century, white married people today. When they come up with policies that have broader appeal beyond that core, they can win majorities. Otherwise, they can't.

The Democratic Party has always been a coalition of disparate groups that are different from the Republicans' core. Southern whites and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century; blacks and gentry liberals today. When they cohere, Democrats can win big majorities. When they split apart, the party is a disorderly rabble.

During most of George W. Bush's presidency, Republicans had viable policies. Bush was re-elected, but with only 51 percent of the vote. Then, with violence in the streets of Baghdad and New Orleans, the Republican majorities disappeared.

That, plus a strategy of running candidates tailored to local political terrain, gave Democrats majorities in 2006 and 2008.

They had a chance to extend those by coming up with policies generally deemed successful and which held their disparate coalition together.

They failed on both counts. Big government policies -- the stimulus package, Obamacare -- proved generally unpopular. And other Democratic policies began splitting the party's coalition. Gentry liberals' environmental policies antagonized blue collar unions and Jacksonians from West Virginia to Oklahoma, once one of the party's mainstays.

Hispanics in target-state Colorado were turned off by gentry liberal priorities -- abortion absolutism, gun control, opposition to fracking. Asians in California were repelled by attempts to re-institute racial quotas and preferences in higher education that directly harm them.

Posted by at February 10, 2015 6:25 PM
  

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