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Outside view: Emerging Democrat minority
UPI ^ | 11/23/2002 | Horace Cooper

Posted on 11/23/2002 7:24:42 PM PST by hitthefan

Outside view: Emerging Democrat minority

By Horace Cooper
A UPI Outside view commentary

From the

Washington Politics & Policy

Desk

Published 11/23/2002 6:55 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Democrats have a real dilemma on their hands. In the wake of the November elections, the challenge of repositioning their party so that it is more attractive to the American electorate is more difficult than it might appear at first glance. But reposition they must or potentially they risk becoming a long term minority party or -- worse -- being superseded by an upstart political party.

Many analysts offer fairly pedestrian advice to the Democrats about what they most do to increase their political appeal (including developing a more coherent message; focusing on issues important to main street America; find more enthusiastic and photogenic messengers; etc.), this most recent election outcome demonstrates that the problem is far more serious and systemic.

The collapse of the Democratic party's electoral majority is neither necessary or automatic. It has however occurred and unless that fact is recognized soon this collapse may remain permanent.

Even if the Democratic nominee for president is successful in 2004, a highly unlikely prospect, the serious problem of the party's disintegration will likely continue.

According to United Press International, Americans voted for the GOP over the Democrats by a margin of 53 to 47 percent. A telegenic face doesn't easily undo a 6-point margin.

This is the political landscape after November 5. Republicans hold a majority of statehouses, a majority of governors, a majority of senators and a majority of congressmen. As a result the GOP has a bench from which to launch new candidates making them a viable party in races across the board.

In contrast, the Democrats find themselves increasingly taking a pass in potentially competitive races by either fielding unqualified candidates or no candidates at all as they did in several senate and house races this year.

Having every Democrat united on one message is not going to overcome this state of affairs.

Actually its worse than that. There are places in the country like Texas and Virginia where there simply are no serious Democrat challengers left (undefeated, capable of raising a credible level of funds, likely to command at least 40 percent of the vote in the general election, etc.).

In Texas every statewide office is held by a Republican. In Virginia Democrats hold only two out of five and that appears to be the upper limit. To be fair, Democrats appear to have a similar advantage in California. But the advantage is deceiving.

The Republican party is viable in California. The GOP candidates consistently

and regularly break 40 percent, significantly higher at the statewide level. Republican Bill Simon's lackluster gubernatorial bid still came within six points of upsetting incumbent governor Gray Davis. Repositioning the party so that it appeals to more than just beneficiaries of the social safety net as some progressives recommend won't negate this type of structural disadvantage.

Consider that among several voting groups, Nov. 5 was a walk through the electoral killing fields for the Democrats. White men nationally gave the GOP a 20-point margin and the trend looks likely to increase rather than contract.

Married women favored the Republicans by 10 points on election day.

Rural voters in general preferred the GOP by an average of 20 points. And the former Democrat stronghold, the South, voted overwhelmingly against the Democrats, expelling several governors and at least one senator from office while handing new legislatures over to the GOP.

There is a serious values gap aiding the GOP and hindering the Democrats. Increasingly a sizeable percentage of the voting public rejects the Democratic party out of hand.

The sense that the party promotes the agendas of elite liberals, caters to

minorities at the expense of equality of opportunity and fails to treat national security issues seriously undermines the electoral prospects of the party.

Heading into the 2004 campaign the Democrats face a serious headwind. For the first time in a generation Gallup polls show that the American people have a more favorable view of the GOP than the Democratic party.

Even as Ronald Reagan was winning 49 states in 1984, he was unable to translate his landslide electoral support to the Republican party itself. While the GOP has maintained a favorable rating, meaning more people liked it than disliked it, theDemocratic party was always more popular with the public because it represented the interests of the average person.

That advantage no longer exists. Increasingly the public thinks of the Democrats as the party of special interests. Notwithstanding Ruy Texiera and John B. Judis' thesis that there is an "Emerging Democratic Majority" it appears that unless that majority is undergoing an unusally long gestation period -- say 25 to 50 years -- the untold story is how rapidly and how far the Democrats have descend from the hieghts of political power they once enjoyed. In less than 30 years the party has changed from having a stronghold in every area of the country to now being primarily the two coasts. From being popular in urban and rural to dominating only in the inner city.

Did 9-11 have an impact on this? Perhaps, but it shouldn't be overstated. The trend is the real issue. Does a war-time president like Bush whose leadership skills shine during a crisis provide benefits to his party? Certainly, just as a charismatic president like Reagan drew the country towards him and made being a Republican respectable for new demographic groups.

The reality is that the collapse of the Democrats is part of a 30-year long development. Since 1964 the Democratic party, while winning the presidency four times, has received more than 50 percent of the vote in a presidential election exactly twice. In 1964 and in 1976, but just barely.

The GOP on the other hand while winning six times has gotten a majority 4 times in 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988.

Also, in 2000 the election in which Al Gore won the popular vote while losing in the electoral college, he carried fewer than 200 congressional districts, foreshadowing the House Democrats' uphill challenge in retaking the House in 2002.

What does this mean? It is possible for the Democrats to topple a GOP candidate here and there such as in Wyoming, a state Bush won by more than 40 points in 2000 but elected a Democrat governor. But the problem is those elections are anomalies rather than trends. The fact is that the so called "GOP electoral lock" at the presidential level has expanded and now in approximately two-thirds of the country the GOP candidate for state and national office starts out with an advantage that must be overcome by his Democratic rival.

The longer this trend continues the more difficult it will be to reverse. Losing replicates itself. As the back bench is depleted by losses, new challengers come in with less experience and less viability and they lose even more.

Issues such as their attacks on the Boy Scouts, support for needle exchange in the inner city, and a reflexive hostility to U.S. military action are part and parcel of the modern Democratic party.

While these and similar issues are a large cause of the public's alienation with the Democratic party, reversing course may not be the best option. Critics of the DLC and other "centrists" within the party rightly charge that if given the choice between the GOP and the GOP, voters will elect the GOP every time.

On the other hand, there needs to be a real examination among the party members as to why issues important to core Democrat constituencies prove to be losers nationally. Reversing course on issues like the death penalty and middle class tax relief may help in the short run (i.e. Bill Clinton election in 1992 for example). But, as 1994 proved, beware the wrath of a scorned public.

The truth is that unless the party can convince the public to change its view on these issues, the decline of the party will continue.

Perhaps the bleakness of the present situation will challenge the Democratic party sufficiently that it decides to take action now. It's more likely though that the party elders will agree that better polling, TV friendly candidates and other smoke-and-mirror approaches will solve their problems.

Even if these techniques work in the 2004 presidential election they can't sustain the party against this long-term trend. When the GOP has a majority of inner city mayoralties it will be too late.

(Horace Cooper is a senior fellow with the Centre for New Black Leadership.)

Copyright © 2002 United Press International
 


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 11/23/2002 7:24:42 PM PST by hitthefan
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To: hitthefan
My favorite line:
2 posted on 11/23/2002 7:34:37 PM PST by polemikos
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To: hitthefan
" Increasingly a sizeable percentage of the voting
public rejects the Democratic party out of hand. "
3 posted on 11/23/2002 7:38:35 PM PST by gcruse
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To: hitthefan
Married women favored the Republicans by 10 points on election day.

I don't think I've seen this figure before, although I've seen it said that married people with families tend to vote Republican.

4 posted on 11/23/2002 7:40:14 PM PST by Cicero
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To: polemikos
"The truth is that unless the party can convince the public to change its view on these issues, the decline of the party will continue."

So, expect it, haranguing, demogogging(sp!?), hectoring, we-know-better-than-you-what's-good-for-you, it-takes-a-village rhetoric to spew from the mouths of the dems. Expect it, and ignore it!

5 posted on 11/23/2002 7:43:39 PM PST by jocon307
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To: hitthefan
...Planned Easy Democrat Solution =

...HILLARY RODHAM running for President in 2004...

...with another woman as her running mate...

...with the slogan to the 50% of the voters of this country that are women that...

.."It's now OUR Turn, Baby"..!

...Unfortunately, HILLARY RODHAM =

...HO CHI MINH...

still.
6 posted on 11/23/2002 7:44:15 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE
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To: Cicero
I don't think I've seen this figure before, although I've seen it said that married people with families tend to vote Republican.

Which of course is just one of the reasons Democrats want to destroy marriage and families...

7 posted on 11/23/2002 7:47:06 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC
I'd love to see the Dems become the party of Lautencadaver and Tinseltown. Its would make the representative of all that's decrepit and unflattering about America.
8 posted on 11/23/2002 7:49:09 PM PST by goldstategop
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To: jocon307
 
"The truth is that unless the party can convince
the public to change its view on these issues...

    ...then the Dems will have to get a new set of voters.

I thought it was the function of governing was to implement
the will of the voters, no change their views to coincide
with the government's.

9 posted on 11/23/2002 7:52:49 PM PST by gcruse
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To: gcruse
I would be among that happy throng.
10 posted on 11/23/2002 7:54:19 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth
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To: ALOHA RONNIE; All
...HILLARY RODHAM running for President in 2004...

I guess by then she will be MAINLINING BOTOX like Embalming Fliud.

Have you seen closeups of her recently...She is getting, as they say, long in the tooth!

11 posted on 11/23/2002 8:08:10 PM PST by Lael
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To: hitthefan
White men nationally gave the GOP a 20-point margin and the trend looks likely to increase rather than contract.

What else could Democrats reasonably expect? It is a core principle of the Democratic Party that white men are not welcome in the United States anymore. This position fairly oozes out of everything they say and do, except when they need somebody in a hurry who can get something done.

Bashing men, and especially white men, is a highly popular position in some quarters, but the Democrats can't expect it not to cost a few votes here and there. It's the flip side of all that money they get from EMILY's List.

    Married women favored the Republicans by 10 points on election day.

They've figured out that the Democratic Party wants their sons to feel unwelcome in the United States... to go away, or become unemployed, or die... before they've even had a chance to get out of school.


12 posted on 11/23/2002 8:12:08 PM PST by Nick Danger
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To: hitthefan
The author does not mention that the Democrats are corrupt to the marrow. Actually, few political analysts mention that fact, but I think it is a big part of the reason Democrats are losing support.
13 posted on 11/23/2002 8:25:28 PM PST by T Ruth
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To: Dallas
I've been wondering the last couple of years if the Libertarians are going to
replace the Democrats as the second major party.

Thesis and antithesis clash which leads to a revolution/consensus/resolution that
ends that phase of history, then opens the way to a new thesis.
That was Karl Marx, and the Dems devotion to Marx, anti-American Way,
pro-communist took a body blow when the USSR bit the dust.

Now they are socialist, and the World Workers Party and Socialist Workers
Party form the central cadre of their activism, whether they know it or not.

Basically, Americans have rejected godless communism, no matter how much the
media and Hollywood tried to ram it down our throats. And they still believe in
America and the American Way. So the left increasingly becomes old and
rejected. The Greens are grabbing the environment from them but still are
anti-American and Nader is communist in his beliefs (no one should be allowed
to make more than $100,000 a year), so they can't make it.

Libertarians offer the real choice that embraces godless liberal positions on social
issues, but is not anti-American; it is pro American economy and pro American
security.

Is the world heading for the clash of those who believe in religion based morality
versus those who think personal freedom means anything goes as long as it
"doesn't hurt anyone?" And is George W. Bush actually leading those who
believe in one religion based morality against those who believe in a different
religion across the world, while at home ironically he is leading a fight against
those that don't believe in religion.
14 posted on 11/23/2002 8:30:42 PM PST by patriciaruth
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To: hitthefan
The truth is that unless the party can convince the public to change its view on these issues, the decline of the party will continue.

Now there's the telling line. Translation: we're not wrong about this stuff, the public is, and it's our job to turn them around. I really hope they try this tack, since it's a recipe for losing.

15 posted on 11/23/2002 8:50:19 PM PST by John Jorsett
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To: goldstategop
"Its would make the representative of all that's decrepit and unflattering about America."

It's not already? Holy crap...
16 posted on 11/23/2002 8:55:19 PM PST by Monty22
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To: T Ruth
The author does not mention that the Democrats are corrupt to the marrow. Actually, few political analysts mention that fact, but I think it is a big part of the reason Democrats are losing support.

I think more people saw the eight years of the klinton co-presidency, and the attempted putsch of stealing the 2000 election, as a glimpse of the dictatorship the klintons have in store for us. The thought is so chilling, few people want to look it square in the face. And the way the klintons shot the politically wounded of their own party leaves no doubt that the DemocRATic Party and Bill and Hitlery are one and the same.

It's not just that the DemocRAT party represents only corruption and pandering, but also that it exists only to serve the appetites of Bill and Hitlery.

17 posted on 11/23/2002 9:07:17 PM PST by 300winmag
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To: hitthefan
While these and similar issues are a large cause of the public's alienation with the Democratic party, reversing course may not be the best option. Critics of the DLC and other "centrists" within the party rightly charge that if given the choice between the GOP and the GOP, voters will elect the GOP every time...Another problem for the 'rats, though, is that even their "centrist" initiatives such as the DLC are beginning to look like Trojan Horses to the voters - the avowed purpose for establishing the DLC was "to win back the White House", not to the bring the party and its philosophy back more in line with mainstream thinking - the public is seeing what those who helped initiate the DLC really believe when they see Clinton raise taxes and fight bans on even partial birth abortion, and Algore speak out for socialized (excuse me, "single party payer") medicine and against our efforts in Iraq. With blatant leftists such as Pelosi now being elevated to leadership in the party, even if the 'rats are successful in crafting a more centrist message in future elections, it's not clear that the public will still trust them enough to rule according to that message to continue to give them its votes - it may be too late for "reversing course".....
18 posted on 11/23/2002 9:13:24 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: hitthefan
And who do they pick in the House to get them back on track? Nancy Pelosi! That makes about as much sense as playing Russian Roulette with a semi-auto pistol.
19 posted on 11/23/2002 9:19:07 PM PST by AlaskaErik
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To: AlaskaErik
Shhh!

Don't tell them!

20 posted on 11/23/2002 9:22:45 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: hitthefan
"Married women favored the Republicans by 10 points on election day." (UPI)

ALL nonminority women - outside the northeast, urban Midwest, and Kalifornia - do.

For Bush to have won heavily-black Southern states like 1/3-black South Carolina by 16 points (and numerous others), there's no mathematical way any substantial share of nonminority women could have voted Democratic.

21 posted on 11/23/2002 9:23:35 PM PST by glc1173@aol.com
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To: jocon307
Expect it, and ignore it!

Ignore it? I plan to rejoice in it, fight it, mock it, and hopefully bury it.
22 posted on 11/23/2002 9:33:11 PM PST by polemikos
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To: hitthefan
"find more enthusiastic and photogenic messengers"

Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

23 posted on 11/23/2002 9:33:28 PM PST by sweetliberty
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To: patriciaruth
"that embraces godless liberal positions "

I have come to the conclusion with you that philosophically the democrats are dead and the new debate is between libertarian and conservative thought (reflected in Republican vs Libertarian Party), but libertarians do not embrace the same liberal "godless positions". It isn't the libertarians who are stopping the ten commandments or Christmas creches, and there are plenty of Christian libertarians, myself among them. Most libertarians are Constitutionalists who are just fine with there being active reference to God in political debate. They just wouldn't codify it.

24 posted on 11/23/2002 9:37:37 PM PST by FastCoyote
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To: Nick Danger
Re: "White men nationally gave the GOP a 20-point margin and the trend looks likely to increase rather than contract. "

As a white man growing up in this country with Mr. Rogers in the morning, Donahue in the afternoon, and Alan Alda at night, is it any wonder anyone knows what masculinity really is? Am I to tell my kids to look to clinton and gore on how to be a man?

Bush Rocks.

25 posted on 11/23/2002 9:38:04 PM PST by ChadGore
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To: Intolerant in NJ
Re: "centrist" initiatives such as the DLC are beginning to look like Trojan Horses

Like the DLC clinton taking up gays in the military as a signature issue the moment he got power ?

26 posted on 11/23/2002 9:41:01 PM PST by ChadGore
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: hitthefan
Congratulations on a Great Post!!

This is clear, strong, and well-written.

"(Horace Cooper is a senior fellow with the Centre for New Black Leadership.)"

I am going to be on the lookout for this writer.
Thanks
28 posted on 11/23/2002 10:13:01 PM PST by edwin hubble
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To: hitthefan
Issues such as their attacks on the Boy Scouts, support for needle exchange in the inner city, and a reflexive hostility to U.S. military action are part and parcel of the modern Democratic party.

This reminds me of a great SNL skit from the '88 Presidential campaign - "Dukakis After Dark".

The premise of the skit is that late in the campaign Dukakis decides rather than spending his remaining funds on a useless campaign commercial, he'd rather hold a Hef-style party and invite all his liberal friends. One telling exchange goes as follows -

Lloyd Bensen - "I don't get it, why don't people like us?"

Dukakis - "Well Lloyd, we represent unpopular and discredited views".

The funniest part was Joan Baez's song which sums up everything you need to know about modern liberalism...

Unilateral disarmament,
Abortion on demand,
We'll take your guns away
And bury them in the sand
Free needles for the addicts
And condoms for the kids,
We won't hold criminals responsible for anything they did
who's to say what's right and wrong or anything's a sin
All that really matter is the wars we lose or win...

At this point he cuts her off - but the ending is the kicker
He says - " That just about does it for the campaign. You know, I think the one thing that really hurt us is the fact that Reaganomics works. It really does. I mean, aren't you better off than you were eight years ago? I know I am. "

A (somewhat inaccurate) transcript is here

29 posted on 11/23/2002 10:15:32 PM PST by garbanzo
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To: hitthefan
I personally think that the real lesson to be learned from this swing by so many people from Democrat to Republican over the past 30 years is that it could happen again. And if the Republicans don't decide who they are and how they got where they are, those of us who were raised in Democrat households but swapped over to Republican when the Republicans became conservative are perfectly willing to swap again to whomever will take up the conservative banner. Unless and until the Republicans grow a spine and start actually standing up for the conservative people who put them in office, I will continue to consider myself an independant who votes Republican ... for now.
30 posted on 11/23/2002 10:53:28 PM PST by SWake
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To: hitthefan
If all you think about is killing babies...Vote Democrat.

If all you think about is your Gayness....Vote Democrat.

If you hate anything religious, especially Christian...Vote Democrat.

31 posted on 11/24/2002 5:03:33 AM PST by Claire Voyant
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To: hitthefan
While these and similar issues are a large cause of the public's alienation with the Democratic party, reversing course may not be the best option. Critics of the DLC and other "centrists" within the party rightly charge that if given the choice between the GOP and the GOP, voters will elect the GOP every time.

Gotta love this guy, this piece is spot on!

32 posted on 11/24/2002 8:57:35 AM PST by Darling Lili
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To: hitthefan
Got to bookmark this!
33 posted on 11/24/2002 10:23:06 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: hitthefan
Ha! And, their solution is to be even more liberal.
34 posted on 11/24/2002 10:29:17 AM PST by Paul Atreides
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Got to bookmark this!

Me too, this is awfully sweet. I can't wait for 2004!!!!

35 posted on 11/24/2002 12:57:07 PM PST by MinorityRepublican
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To: ChadGore
Like the DLC clinton taking up gays in the military as a signature issue the moment he got power ?...yeah, exactly like that - one more betrayal by the "centrist" 'rats....
36 posted on 11/24/2002 3:53:50 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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