Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics is one of the better analysts of basic political trends out there, so I was looking forward to his new book The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs – and Who Will Take It. I was fortunate enough to snag a review copy for RedState, and found it to be a fairly persuasive argument that our general assumptions about the implications of any given election are usually wrong. It was not exactly a groundbreaking argument for me, but then I’m already familiar with Sean’s writing on RCP.
Sean makes three claims in The Lost Majority:
“First, that the 2010 midterm elections were a result of Barack Obama and the Democrats misreading both their mandate and how they had been brought to power, imagining a realignment in 2008 when, in fact, none had occurred. Second, that the emerging partisan majorities described by theorists from both parties are mirages. Third, that the entire concept of realignments/permanent alignments, which underlies much of the misbegotten analysis of the 2008 elections, is bankrupt and should be abandoned.” (page xiii)
The first claim is not exactly going to be controversial to anybody who isn’t a Democrat; the second and third are perhaps more likely to be matters of some controversy to ideologically-minded readers. They should not, however, be dismissed out of hand; after all, there were a lot of very book-smart people advising the Democrats in 2009 and 2010 who based their opinions on the belief that long-term partisan majorities are inevitable and that alignments are possible The collapse of their models should at least be seen as cautionary.
Continue reading RedState Review: The Lost Majority.
Sean Trende, in the process of noting that, really, Obama’s numbers are grotesquely bad right now, mentioned independent voters:
Given the enthusiasm gap between the parties, the 2012 electorate will probably be roughly split between Republicans and Democrats. Independent voters will therefore hold the key to the election.
Consider these three 2010 Senate challengers frequently cited as examples of candidates who are too extreme to win. It’s a little-known fact that Ken Buck won independents by 16 points in Colorado. In Nevada, Sharron Angle won them by four points. Even Christine O’Donnell, who is something of the ultimate warning sign against Tea Party excess, lost independents only by three points. They all lost their races in large part because they faced Democrat-heavy electorates. Had the electorates been evenly split between the parties, all three would have run very close races.
Whatever their faults, Romney, Gingrich, and Perry are not Christine O’Donnell-style candidates.
Continue reading #rsrh QotD, Sean Trende brings the DOOM edition.
…sure, he straightforwardly demolishes those two’s latest attempt to resurrect the rapidly-cooling cadaver known as the “Emerging Democratic Majority” (short version: the demographic trend is not automatically the Democrats’ friend). But Sean unaccountably hides the real news: he’s got a book coming out next month.
I don’t buy political books, but I’ll buy The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs – and Who Will Take It. Sean Trende was the first guy I can think of who was patiently explaining that: a, the Democrats were likely to lose the House in 2010; and b, passing Obamacare would not save them from that fate. In other words, somebody with a pretty good track record right now.
He ain’t so tough.
Mind you, Sean’s not saying that Obama’s in bad re-election shape, either: he’s currently scoring the President at essentially 50/50, with the slightest edge against the man. But he’s definitely out to demolish some of the current Democratic talking points. Short version (and this is only Part One):
- The popular correlation between incumbency and re-election falls apart if you look at it too long;
- If the economy is rebounding, it is not rebounding quickly enough to give the President sufficient wind at his back; and
- Even the favorable polls for the President are not showing hard support for him – and certainly not for his policies.
Continue reading RCP’s Sean Trende: Obama’s not in great re-election shape.