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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

What Changed?

I’ve got a short piece up at the Progessive Policy Institute site that runs through the election results and tries to answer the question: what really “changed” in the “change election?”
At the conclusion of this piece, I discussed the two emerging “big theories” about Obama’s victory: realignment or “reaction.” The first theory suggests that Obama consolidated a new Democratic coalition that’s been in the works, in fits and starts, for a while, along the lines of the hypothesis developed by TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira and The New Republic’s John Judis, in their 2002 book The Emerging Democratic Majority. And as it happens, the second theory, which is that Obama’s win was primarily an immediate reaction to Republican misgovernment and the financial crisis, was first and best expressed by former TDS Managing Editor Scott Winship in a TNR piece yesterday.
This debate will surely continue until such time as future events make it moot.

One comment on “What Changed?

  1. sporcupine on

    Can you quantify the difference between Sinatra/1960 and Crosby, Stills & Nash/1972?
    No, but you know the party turned nearly inside out and the country almost upside down.
    I respectfully submit that Johny Legend singing “The doggone girl is mine” to the Statue of Liberty, on the Colbert Show, is a crucial sign that 2008 is a revolution that big.
    Or, if you prefer, note that they sang the National Anthem, loud and proud, in Harvard Yard early Wednesday morning. Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDX6d4ut_Ug
    Behind the imagery, we’re riding a demographic tide. No one under 50 remembers Vietnam as a threat to them or integrated schools as anything worth discussing. No one under 25 understands why a country that can invent Google can’t get a few liberal agenda items to become action.
    Or to start at the other end, the Republicans used to be able to tap into a deep, shuddering layer of fear in order to get from 45% to 51%. That fear was strongest in the generation now retiring, slowing down, and moving on. Jerry Falwell felt it in every cell of his being. Rick Warren thinks the Gospel calls him to get serious about African poverty.
    It’s out there, and it’s big, even it’s outside what the exit polls thought to ask.


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