Tracking America's Shifting Political Coalitions
(Photo by Robin Holland)
This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with economic and political critic Kevin Phillips about the results of the 2008 elections and what they tell us about the future of American politics.
Phillips, whose 1969 book THE EMERGING REPUBLICAN MAJORITY [PDF link] correctly predicted an era of dominance for the GOP, said:
"I think the Democrats are going to have enormous problems over the next four years [with] a coalition in which they represent new emerging demographic groups [like minorities and the under-30 vote] but also, based on contributions and political geography, represent the financial community now -- the upper-income groups. And how they straddle this, which is something they've never had to straddle before, especially in difficult times, I think will strain the demographics."
Pointing to the success of California's Proposition 8, which found strong support from minority groups in its bid to ban gay marriage, Phillips suggested that the victorious Democratic coalition might fracture in years to come:
"I think that only supports the division between the ordinary people and the financial elites, the fact that blacks and hispanics on some cultural issues are a lot more conservative than the suburbanites in Fairfield Country, Connecticut or Morris County, New Jersey... I can conceive that they would be more open to some of the black conservatives and Republicans who say 'you can't trust those people.'"
What do you think?