Premature Celebration

Or, Demographics Are Not Your Friend

The Emerging Democratic Majority
The optimism of youth …

Democrats have been predicting a demographic victory for seven election cycles now, since Judis and Teixeira’s “The Emerging Democratic Majority” came out in the wake of the 2002 midterms. We assumed a number of facts not in evidence: that these new citizens would vote, and that they would vote for Democratic candidates; that the traditional Democratic base would hold strong; and that we had the better ideas. We counted on voters’ support, but did little to earn it. Poor engagement, coupled with our abject failure to also engage with the concerns of White, working class voters, explains much of this loss. We also know that there was a significant enthusiasm gap between the two candidates. Finally, we know that a significant number of voters rejected Clinton but voted for Democrats down-ballot.1 The results show that every state with a US Senate seat up for election went to the same party that particular state picked for President.

The time may come when the Democratic party can rely on demography to carry the day. Too many of us thought we were there already.


Leave a Reply