Oh, dear. It’s worse for the Democratic party than I thought.
The GOP dominance in these predominantly white working-class districts underscores the structural challenge facing Democrats: While the party has repeatedly captured the White House despite big deficits among the working-class white voters who once anchored its electoral coalition, these results show how difficult it will be to recapture the House without improving on that performance. “The question is: Are we at rock bottom here?” says Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic voter targeting firm TargetSmart Communications.
These trends present Republicans with a mirror-image challenge. The vast majority of their House members can thrive without devising an agenda on issues—such as immigration reform—that attract the minority voters whose growing numbers nationally have helped Democrats win the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.
Note the weasel phrase in the last sentence, there: now that ‘Republicans can’t defeat incumbent Democratic Senators’ has joined ‘Democrats always win special elections’ in the great heap of Rules Of Thumb Past Their Sell-By Date you can expect to hear that particular factoid. Because Democrats won the popular vote in five of the last eight Presidential elections. And five of the last nine. Six of the last ten. Six of the last twelve. Eight of the last fourteen. Eight of the last sixteen. And that gets us to the end of the Truman administration. Put another way: hey, here’s a news flash! The Democrats and Republicans have been trading the White House every eight years or so since my mother was a child. Expect that to happen in 2016, too. (more…)