At HuffPo, senior polling editor Mark Blumenthal has a review article discussing Stanley Greenberg’s new book, “America Ascendant,” which calls for a new progressive era to address “revolutions that are changing America, changing politics, changing culture, changing economics.” Blumenthal interviews Greenberg (audio of full interview here), and shares some of his observations, including:
Greenberg argues in the book that these revolutionary changes, including a population that is growing younger and more racially and culturally diverse, will lead to a period in which America will be “exceptional again.” But he believes that renewal will require a period of sustained political reform, comparable to the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century, and the defeat of the “counter-revolution” being waged by the modern Republican Party.
The book, based in part on years of Greenberg’s polling and focus groups, also looks at the profound “downside” to this time of change: stagnating wages, an endemic cost-of-living crisis, a perceived end to “middle class dreams.” These “deep contradictions,” as Greenberg describes them, have produced pessimism about the future and great skepticism about leaders in Washington, including President Barack Obama.
As for the Republican party and its future, Blumenthal notes:
While Greenberg counsels Democrats to advocate “very bold policy changes,” he also believes that a Republican “implosion” is now underway in the GOP presidential primary.
The Republican Party, as Greenberg describes it, is “a rural, white, married, evangelical, religious party in a country that’s becoming less married, more secular, more urban.” The “furious counter-revolution” the party has waged for a decade to keep the “new American majority” from governing, he said, has “alienated the Republican Party from the country.”
He sees the evangelical and tea party blocs as “driving the base of support” for presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson, and believes they could ultimately boost support for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Greenberg is also ready to declare former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “gone” as a presidential aspirant. “There’s no place for Bush in the Republican Party,” he said. Bush has positioned himself as a “more electable” candidate. But Greenberg pointed out that he “presents himself as the most conservative on choice issues, which makes him unacceptable to [GOP moderates], the one group of voters that might have voted for a moderate establishment candidate.”
In the interview Greenberg acknowledges that a “shattering loss” for the GOP in 2016 could strengthen Republican moderates and make their party more competitive later on. “For now, however,” concludes Blumenthal, “Greenberg sees the GOP’s counter-revolution on a collision course with the demographic trends reshaping the American electorate.”