Kenny Baer's got a piece over at TNR raising the alarm over erosion in the Jewish vote. According to exit polls, there really isn't any erosion in the Jewish vote, but as Baer convincingly argues, that may not actually be true. In any case, it doesn't matter.
At this point, it's really not about keeping the old band together. The sad fact is that the Democratic party is, if current demographic and voting patterns hold, marching straight towards obsolescence. Check out this chart of projected changes in the electoral college due to population growth. The South is growing. The Northeast is shrinking. In 2004, we got 252 electoral votes to the Republican's 286. In 2012, the same state breakdown would give them 290 votes, and us 248. 2024 would would make it 299 to 239, and 2032 would give us 235 electoral votes to their 303.
The trends, one might safely say, are not in our favor.
Fighting to retain Jews in New York, which is what Baer's talking about, isn't really worth our time. We're not losing New York, and working to codify our dominance there doesn't make so much sense, as NY is shrinking. We will need to gain Hispanics so we can mount challenges in Western states like Arizona and Texas (yes, Texas). We will need to figure out how to win some Southern states, like North Carolina and Georgia. But more to the point, we're going to have to learn to be competitive where we aren't, in places like Arizona, Texas, Florida. And for that reason, defensive electoral strategies -- how do we keep the Jews? Are we losing the Blacks!? -- won't work, we're going to have to make a more broadly appealing party because, very very soon, holding our constituencies and gaining a handful more votes won't bring us anywhere near victory.
The good news is that no electoral relationship is immutable. Here in California, we gave you Nixon and Reagan (sorry about that). There in Texas, they gave us Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson. Arizona's got a single female governor along with a clean elections act and Florida is close anyway. So Republican strongholds will change, as will bastions of Democratic strength. But to make them change in our favor, we need to be thinking forward about how to craft new electoral alliances and win over new constituencies, not how to protect our shrinking, sub-50% coalition.
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