One of the co-authors behind the theory of an "emerging Democratic majority,"
first popularized in 2002, declared last month that he was mistaken.
Others, however, scoff at the change of heart, or theory.
The emerging majority argument put forth by journalist John Judis and political scientist Ruy Teixeira was that the Democrats' demographic base was expanding while that of the Republicans was shrinking.
Then Judis took back — at least for the near-term — that analysis in a recent National Journal
essay. He wrote that "it is undeniable" that the Democrats do better in presidential years than in midterm elections. Republicans, however, are unexpectedly gaining among college-educated middle-class Americans with household incomes between $50,000 and $100,000, Judis wrote.
But the liberal writer Jonathan Chait, in New York Magazine
, argues that the original Teixeira-Judis theory is as solid as ever. Chait is convinced 2014 polls that shows Republicans making gains with Asian-American voters and younger middle-class voters are erroneous.
Conservatives may be celebrating
Chait, a former senior editor at The New Republic, says such revelry is misguided and that, in fact, "the evidentiary basis for the original thesis is as strong as ever."
He writes that Judis had actually been backtracking on his original position since 2008. Teixeira told Chait that he disagrees with his co-author's repudiation of their argument.
While Democrats have lost support in some areas of the country, overall, writes Chait, "every election cycle replaces older, whiter, Republican-leaning voters with younger, more racially diverse, Democratic-leaning ones."
Democrats only seem to be in decline. The party remains powerful among the burgeoning bloc of Latino voters. Its base is concentrated in urban areas; its electorate is prone to sitting out midterm elections so that its influence is not reflected in recent House or Senate electoral outcomes.
At the same time, Republicans have to keep increasing their percentage of the white vote just to remain competitive, writes Chait.
"It may be a long, long time until the Democrats' national majority is wide enough to overcome the GOP's structural advantages in Congress," writes Chait.
At the presidential level, though, the rising share of nonwhite voters has established that the "Democratic majority has already emerged."
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