According to trends in voter registration, it seems that the GOP is on its way out.
Before the 2008 election, I was talking to some friends who were worried about a John McCain victory; I assured them that that appeared very unlikely, as huge numbers of people were registering as Democrats. This was due, in large part, to Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency. I predicted a massive victory for Barack Obama, a prediction that came true on election day. However, it seems that this victory was just the beginning of the end for the GOP.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself… I still remember the 2000 election and Karl Rove’s plan for a permanent Republican majority. Up until 2006, that seemed very likely. But after two failing wars, a sagging economy, and revelations of torture, the American public had had their fill of Bush and the Republican party. In the 2006 mid-term election, Democrats had a majority in congress, albeit very slight. The election saw a massive turn-out of voters, an early sign of the coming 2008 Presidential election: For the Democrats, it was a ray of hope; for the Republicans, it was an omen of things to come.
A recent study by Ruy Teixeira entitled “New Progressive America: Twenty Years of Demographic, Geographic, and Attitudinal Changes Across the Country Herald a New Progressive Majority” demonstrates that massive voter registrations among minorites, particularly among Hispanics and African Americans, and changes in party preferencees among suburban and college educated whites, are turning in the favor of the Democratic party. Using charts, graphs, and election results from the last three decades, Teixeira demonstrates that Obama has garnered more support among minorities and whites in virtually every state when compared to Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. As for changes in demographics, minorities went from “15 to 28 percent of the electorate.”
John Judis wrote an article entitled “The American Liberal” in the New Republic. He opens the article by blasting Newsweek’s editor Jon Meachem, who, before the election, had a cover story declaring that America was a conservative nation. Obama, according to the article, would have “to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal.” According to Judis, Bill Clinton’s Presidency marked a leftward shift in the American electorate, a shift that was “delayed by September 11, and resumed with the 2006 election.” Like Teixeira, Judis points to three groups for the success of Obama and the future of the Democratic party: “professionals (college-educated workers who produce ideas and services); minorities (African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans); and women (particularly working, single, and college-educated women).” With a Republican party on the ropes and without any solid leadership, Barack Obama has the ability to solidify and expand the Democratic base.
Though John McCain won among Evangelicals by a large majority (74-26%), Obama still did better among this group than John Kerry (who won only 21%). The Evangelical youth are becoming increasingly motivated by environmental issues and poverty, and less concerned with issues like abortion and stem cells. Should this recent trend translate into a long-term shift, the GOP would lose its very soul.
One can only hope…