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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Midterms, Too, Shall Pass

This item by J.P. Green was originally published on September 7, 2010.
It appears that the entire left blogosphere has its collective knickers in a wedgie today over the latest round of downer opinion polls regarding the Democrats’ midterm prospects, and not without reason. Dylan Loewe, however, is marching to a different drummer over at the HuffPo, where he goes all Polyanna in the midst of epidemic doom-saying, also not without reason. Here’s Loewe, excerpted on the topic of the Dems’ longer-than-midterm, prospects:

…There is actually plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the Democratic Party — and the progressive ideals it represents. You just have to be able to look past November to see it…But if you step back, look beyond the current moment, and consider the broader context, you’ll see that Democrats are actually in tremendously strong shape for the long term. What happens this November isn’t inconsequential. But it’s also likely to be a temporary bump on a road toward Democratic dominance.
…It seems difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile that idea with the reality that Republicans may be on the verge of taking back Congress. And yet, that’s where we find ourselves: Republicans are about to win a ton of seats. And they are also about to spend a generation in the minority.

Loewe, author of the newly-published Permanently Blue, conjures up an optimistic vision of America’s demographic future, with Democrat-favoring Latinos becoming a pivotal force in forthcoming elections, along with other minorities and young voters. He points out that President Obama should have a significant financial edge in 2012, while the increasingly fractious GOP stable of presidential candidates will be squandering their financial resources on attacking each other.
And Loewe’s optimism on the topic of “The Millenials” may be a little over the top, particularly in light of some of the most recent polls:

Take the younger generation, for example. The Millennials. This is a group that gave Barack Obama two-thirds of its support in 2008, and has consistently awarded the president high marks throughout his first two years. I suppose that’s not all that surprising given that they are, without question, the most socially liberal generation in American history.
Why should that worry Republicans? Because every year between now and 2018, 4 million new Millennials will become eligible voters. That means that 16 million more will be able to vote in 2012 than in 2008, and 32 million more in 2016. Even if they turn out in characteristically low numbers, they will still add millions of new votes into the Democratic column. By 2018, when the entire Millennial generation can vote, they will make up 40 percent of the voting population and be 90 million strong. That’s 14 million more Millennials than Baby Boomers, making the youngest generation the largest in U.S. history.
How can the Republican Party possibly court a generation this progressive, and this substantial, without losing its tea party base? And how can they survive on the national stage if they don’t?
This isn’t a formula for Republican dominance. It’s a formula for Republican extinction.

But Loewe concludes on a less ambitious note:

But November should be understood in context. This is the last election cycle in which this congressional map — designed predominantly by Republicans — will be used. And it will be the last year Republicans can depend on ideological purification without serious retribution at the polls.
The country is changing dramatically, and in ways that are sure to benefit Democrats. That’s why I’m so optimistic about our future. It’s why you should be too. November might be an ass-kicking. But it’s poised to be our last one for quite a long while.

Much of what Loewe is saying has been said before, particularly by TDS co-editor Ruy Teixeira and his co-author John Judis in their book, “The Emerging Democratic Majority” and in Teixeira’s “Red, Blue, and Purple America: The Future of Election Demographics” Loewe could have also added that the Republicans won’t be able to do much of anything, other than more obstruction, unless their midterm wave is big enough to override presidential vetoes, a prospect no observers are taking very seriously.
But it’s good to be reminded in these dark days of Democratic doom-saying, that one midterm election does not necessarily launch a new political era, and it just might be a little blip, the last little victory in a long time for a party without vision or solutions, other than tax cuts as the panacea for all ills.

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