Bill Schneider’s Reuters post “What America’s leftward shift means for elections” provides a dollop of hope for progressive Democrats. As Schneider explains:
With each new poll, it’s becoming clear that the United States is shifting to the left. A majority of Americans now supports same-sex marriage. And legalization of marijuana. And normalization of relations with Cuba.
Gallup reports that, in 2013, the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as liberals reached its highest level since 1992. True, it’s only 23 percent. Conservatives, at 38 percent, still outnumber liberals. But the trend has been slowly and steadily upward for liberals since 1996, when it was 16 percent.
This shift is due entirely to Democrats becoming more liberal — 29 percent of Democrats in 2000, 43 percent in 2013. At the same time, Democrats have won the national popular vote in five out of the six presidential elections since 1992 (all but 2004). Barack Obama won a majority of the popular vote twice — something Bill Clinton couldn’t do.
Schneider adds that “a coalition of 10 Democratic constituencies that united to elect and re-elect Obama: young voters, working women, single mothers, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Jews, gays, educated professionals and the “unchurched” is growing. But he concedes that the Republicans still have an edge in manipulating redistricting, House incumbency and geographic clustering.
Schneider believes that the GOP blockade will hold until 2022, when post-census redistricting will kick in. Let’s hope that he is underestimating the pro-Democratic demographic transformation of the Americn electorate now underway and the Dems’ improving voter targeting and turnout.