Whither liberalism? Again?

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Nov. 3 2004 6:45 PM

Whither Liberalism? Again?

Here comes the usual bad advice.

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Democrats should sit tight and await the inevitable demographic shift that will put them on top again. This is the enormously appealing message of The Emerging Democratic Majority, a book that John Judis and Ruy Teixeira published right before the Democrats took a pasting in 2002's midterm congressional elections. (For an extended discussion of the book, click herehere, and here.) It may well emerge. But Judis and Teixeira's coalition a-borning depends heavily on people whose lives were shaped by academic and quasi-academic environments, i.e., it excludes the white working class. The best Judis and Teixeira can say is that as Republicans continue to wreck the economy, these proletarians will migrate back to the Democratic Party. Even if it were possible to have a Democratic Party that didn't include the working class, would we really want one?

And who knows whether this demographic messiah will ever arrive, anyway? Teixeira is a genius at crunching data in ways that keep the flame burning, but on his Weblog he hasn't yet weighed in on the 2004 results. He'll have a hard time spinning this one.

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So what should the Democrats do?  In the words of Jack Benny: I'm thinking, I'm thinking!

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.