Demographics were never destiny

I’m particularly bitter about this idea because (a) I believed it (until I saw the rise of the TEA party in the 2008-2010 time frame), and (b) this idea affected an entire generation of political activism and made the disaster of 2010 more severe.

This article focused on the two authors without saying anything about the hordes of pundits who echoed the thought ad infinitum.

«Perhaps this is the book’s greatest shortcoming. It assumed that the transition to a new postindustrial, multiracial society would come without anything like the conflict, unrest and reaction that accompanied industrialization. Indeed, the book failed to imagine the basic contours of political conflict in the postindustrial era — let alone why the Democrats would be well positioned to guide the nation through those challenges.»

«In the real world, things aren’t held constant. Demographic change can provoke backlash. And, even if it doesn’t, a party courting new voters might still find itself losing ground among its old supporters, who were brought to the party by a different set of messages, issues and candidates. And even if a party does everything right, and manages to squeeze a point or two out of demographic shifts in a given election — the way President Obama probably did in 2012 — it might just tempt a party to cash in its electoral chips on an agenda that costs support from a key group. It might even convince a party that demographics are destiny — and that the hard work of persuading voters and building a broad and sometimes fractious coalition just isn’t necessary.»

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