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A wake for the Republicans?

Guest Blogger

Things look pretty grim for the Democrats at the moment. With the midterm elections fast approaching, the tide of power could shift dramatically. But would it be a lasting turn in the fortunes of the Democrats? Dylan Loewe, a Democratic speechwriter and strategist, sees a silver lining. Despite any setback in November, Loewe points to major shifts in the electorate that raise the prospect of strong Democratic control in the future. He lays out the details in “Permanently Blue: How Democrats Can End the Republican Party and Rule the Next Generation,” recently released by Three Rivers Press. Here, Loewe, who holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard and a law degree from Columbia, describes why a Republican celebration next month may actually be a wake.

By Dylan Loewe

The Republican Party spent much of the 1930’s and ‘40s struggling for relevance. FDR’s landslide victory in 1932 created massive Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, majorities that would stay inconceivably large through his full 12 years in office.

It wasn’t until 1946, with President Truman’s approval ratings hovering around 30 percent, that the once-marginalized GOP would find the strength for a comeback. That November, Republicans gained 55 seats in the House and 12 in the Senate, regaining majority control for the first time in 14 years.

In the years that followed, however, the Republican comeback turned out to be awfully short-lived. The Republicans famously lost the White House in 1948, along with control of the House and Senate. They would briefly regain control of Congress in 1952, but by 1954, they would lose their grip on the majority for a generation. Democrats regained a House they would not lose until 1994, and a Senate they would hold until 1980.

For all the talk of Republican resurgence, the comeback turned out to be little more than the death throes of a party destined to spend a decades in the wilderness.

Fast forward to 2010.

Again, Democrats find themselves in a position to lose a substantial numbers of seats in the House and Senate, and perhaps, their majorities. Republicans are cheering, confident that the strength of the Tea Party movement, the enthusiasm of their base, and the public’s dissatisfaction with Democratic leadership are poised to build a wave as large—or larger—as the one that swept them back into power in 1994.

And yet, just as in 1946, the Republican party is poised to regain the majority while still staggeringly weak, and without a strategy for governing going forward. In fact, the very things that are propelling the Republican resurgence this year will, almost certainly, be responsible for its coming downfall.

Take the Tea Party as the most obvious example. In an off-year election like 2010, with a small, angry, conservative electorate, and with an economy sputtering to recovery at a rate no one considers acceptable, it’s little wonder that a movement that has stoked such enthusiasm would be an asset, even as it pushes the party spectacularly rightward. But that same rightward tilt, in a presidential election year, is likely to be a death sentence.

In 2012, there will be roughly 40 million more voters than in 2010, most coming from among minorities and young voters, traditional Democratic constituencies. In 2008 minorities gave President Obama 80 percent of their vote. Voters of the Millennial generation gave the president 66 percent. In the two years since, no groups have felt the brunt of the economic downturn more acutely than these. And yet both groups remain steadfastly committed to the Democratic party.

In 2012, if Republicans cannot attract large chunks of those groups to their side, they are all but certain to lose the presidential election, and likely to lose ground in Congress.

Smart GOP strategists know this. And yet, they know, too, that their hands are more or less tied. The Tea Party has put the Republican Party in an impossible position, one in which any break with ideological purity, any attempt at modest moderation (say, a reasonable stance on immigration reform), is met with massive—and effective— retribution. That’s a lesson Lisa Murkowski, Bob Bennett, and others, have learned the hard way.

Still, a good Democratic year in 2012 doesn’t spell a long-term majority. For Democrats to accomplish what they did in 1954, for the party to build a majority that is unassailable, it would need to see dramatic changes—inconceivable changes—in the makeup of the voting populace itself. After all, as we see today, Republicans, even while incredibly unpopular, can still muster the strength to build a majority.

Yet, that shift is exactly what’s happening. The voting population is changing in stunning ways, all of which will benefit the Democrats.

Those same groups mentioned earlier, minorities and young voters, are rapidly growing as a percentage of the American population. Eighty percent of the population growth in the country over the last decade has come from minorities. According to the Census Bureau, in the next decade, the Hispanic population will grow another 40 percent. That’s enough growth, over a relatively short period of time, to even turn Texas blue.

The youngest generation too, is reshaping the landscape. Every year between now and 2018, four million more Millennials will become eligible to vote. By 2018, they will be 90 million strong—bigger than the baby boomers—and will make up 40 percent of the eligible voting population in America.

At the same time, for all their current strength, Tea Party Republicans are a dying demographic. Populations are shrinking in the South and in rural areas. Massive growth among Democratic constituencies is expected to be accompanied by static—and in some cases, declining growth—within the Republican base. That formula will require the Republican party to change if it wants to stay a majority party. But it will require changes the Tea Party base will never accept. It’s an impossible choice for the GOP, a lose-lose any way it’s sliced.

In the short term, Republicans can feel free to break out the champagne. But over the long term, what looks like a celebration will be more akin to a wake.

By Steven E. Levingston  | October 25, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Guest Blogger  | Tags:  democrats in midterm loss; republican party future; republican midterm victories;  
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Comments

"In 2012, there will be roughly 40 million more voters than in 2010, most coming from among minorities and young voters ..."
Clueless to the end.

Of course Democratic elites have been having wet dreams about this for years, clueless to the fact that it will also mean that the White Democratic leadership, like Pelosi and Reid, will also eventually be given the boot. (Good riddance.)
- - - -
Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.

Posted by: tma_sierrahills | October 25, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Teabaggers, you can commence your howling & cursing...now!

Enjoy the next 2 yrs, because once the country sees what you have wrought (a "return" to the values of the John Birch Society, a worse-off economy than the disaster we have now), they will drop you the, & the right wingnuts who've co-opted you, like a steaming pile of [organic waste].

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | October 25, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Teabaggers, you can commence your howling & cursing...now!

Enjoy the next 2 yrs, because once the country sees what you have wrought (a "return" to the values of the John Birch Society, a worse-off economy than the disaster we have now), they will drop you the, & the right wingnuts who've co-opted you, like a steaming pile of [organic waste].

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | October 25, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Once again the teabag sensibility lashes out, posting about "liberal elites", as if that really means anything. They heard it from Palin and Angle. So it must be vomited back in lockstep party purity. They heard it from Limbaugh and Beck. So it must be religiously stated over and over like good minions in a dystopic Orwellian nightmare. "Liberal elite" Say it again. Say it with solidarity. Say it with the power of your fearless leaders behind you. Say it....like the true communists you are.

Posted by: fmamstyle | October 25, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Funny.
Dylan Loewe predicts death for the Republican party.(right after winning these mid-terms, of course)
Keep on whistling Dylan :)

Posted by: spamsux1 | October 25, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, actually prefer two-party government, because no one group of ideological soulmates can have all the right answers.

Unfortunately, the Republicans and their mad-dog sidemen are making the two-party system impossible in practice. I'll shed no tears when they collapse into irrelevance like the long-lost and unlamented Whigs and Know-Nothings with whom they share their heritage of thickheadedness.

Maybe after the Republicans have passed, we can create a genuine center-right party (drawn from not-crazy Republicans and conservative Democrats) and a center-left party made up of the rest of the Democrats and progressives together.

Now *that* would be a two-party system that reflected American realities.

Posted by: Kritz | October 25, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The majority of people will vote for whoever shows them capable leadership and positive results. 9.6% unemployment isn't going to get it done no matter what party you belong to. The idea that minorities are mindless and will vote democrat if they're white democrat masters toss a couple crumbs their way is pretty racist. The idea that the young people will never grow up and never change their voting patterns is just retarded.

Posted by: peterg73 | October 25, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

This analysis take into account the recent Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United. As long as corporations get lower taxes and less regulation with the Republicans, that's where the political money will go.

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“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” – Benito Mussolini.

Posted by: yubetcha | October 25, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

This analysis does not take into account the recent Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United. As long as corporations get lower taxes and less regulation with the Republicans, that's where the political money will go.

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“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” – Benito Mussolini.

Posted by: yubetcha | October 25, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Dream on, Dylan....no one can predict the future!

Posted by: SeniorVet | October 25, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it's the Democrat Party that is facing its demise.

Currently, the Democrat Party is an unstable alliance of groups that have nothing in common except for their dislike of white, Christian men. Blacks don't like Latinos, Jews, Asians or Gays. Latinos don't like Blacks, Jews or Gays. Blacks, Asians and Latinos don't care about the environment, which is a religion to young white people. Union workers are older than Tea Partiers.

Whites, on the other hand, are a homogeneous group that will only gain solidarity as the Minority Occupational Government continues to oppress them.

Posted by: pmendez | October 25, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Though Obama recently admitted that he planned on using "hand to hand combat" with a Republican Congress, reports reveal a much sneakier strategy. According to the Los Angeles Times, "as President Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term: to advance his agenda through executive actions he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile CongressRead more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/columnists/tantaros/index.html#ixzz12a7l3Dxe
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house.html?nid=roll_whitehouse - Find key speeches the president has delivered since taking office. Search by keywords, speech text, date or subject terms - alsoUse our interactive graphic and database to track and analyze the timing, demographics, backgrounds and connections of Obama's senior political appointments

Posted by: WhaThe | October 25, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Obumbles definitely has a gift - his mind candy has made some people delusional - wonder how mesmerized they will be when their check from work has a deduction for health “care” - care that will give their freeloading neighbor health"care" for nothing because he won't work - or an illegal alien free health "care" because he lies about his qualifications - or gives Junior free care for his runny nose, while granny doesn't get her expensive medicine covered; of course they will never get old - and need health care.
Things have "progressed" to near bankruptcy, and social services will have to be cut at some time anyway - so enjoy all the necessary "reforms" - some day people will say don't care if it's socialists/totalitarian control - got to have a job - keep getting in bed with the devil/keep thinking the government will do whatever they want, and see how much hell can be mandated.
– compare Chamber of Commerce website to SEIU – there's an obvious socialistic-i.e. current neo-democrat socialist agenda vs. Capitilistic theme. - keep spewing lies, it only gives conservatives/Republicans more power.

Posted by: WhaThe | October 25, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

“In the short term, Republicans can feel free to break out the champagne. But over the long term, what looks like a celebration will be more akin to a wake.” – Believe you're wrong there are a lot of people that care about America – young and old. By 2012 this neo-democrat socialist administration will be seen for what it really is – the healthscare TAX and the economy is against this administration now – and even though they will try to blame all things evil on the Republicans/conservatives – the truth will win.

Posted by: WhaThe | October 25, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree. The Republicans and especially the Tea Party are a dying demographic. Basically a bunch of angry old white men, and the smaller they get the louder they become.

My hope though is that they follow the path of the Whigs and the Know Nothings -- marching into the dusty pages of the history books, to be replaced by a much saner conservativism. The kind of conservativism we see today is just plain insanity.

Posted by: pjs1965 | October 26, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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