Could the democrats losing in 2010 pay off in the long run

According to 538, the democrats are going to lose in 2010. They will lose roughly 4-6 net senate seats and about 30-60 house seats. There is a realistic chance the house will go to the GOP.

So on the surface this is horrible. But long term, it might actually be good.

Demographics in the US are shrinking the GOP and growing the democratic party. The GOP is a party that more or less excludes the economically insecure, non-married, non-christian, non-white, non-conservative.

However all these groups are growing dramatically. Nonwhites went from 13% in 1992 to about 26% in 2008, and will reach about 34% in 2020.

People born after 1978 tend to be economically and socially liberal. They went democratic pretty hard starting in 2004 (the dem advantage was up to about 34 points in 2008). By 2020 they will make up nearly 1/3 of the electorate, up from about 20-25% now.

We are becoming more and more secular. The % labeling themselves non-religious goes up about 5-10 points every generation.

All of these assumptions rest on the assumption that voting habits will follow demographics. That isn’t guaranteed. About 50 years ago women leaned GOP and southern whites were heavily democratic. Now women lean democratic while southern whites are republican.

But if the GOP wins big in 2010, they will likely take it as a referendum on the tea party and hardline conservatism, and feel those ideologies are what got them reelected (rather than fear of 1 party rule, or lack of action by the dems on the economy, or lack of courage, discipline and principal on the part of the democrats, etc). So the GOP will move further to the right. They will become more radical and obstructionist, which will drive even more people out of their ranks. More laws like the one in Arizona will alienate latinos. More pro-life legislation will alienate women. More indifference to economic issues of the working class will alienate the insecure. More creationism, climate change skepticism and bad math (tax cuts + endless war + no meaningful spending cuts = balanced budget) will alienate professionals and intellectuals. As a result they will alienate these people (women, professionals, young people, non-whites, the economically insecure) etc. even more than they already have. And these groups will keep growing while the GOP base (elderly white christian conservatives) keeps shrinking.

By the middle of the next decade, the GOP could truly be a minority party. After winning in 2010, they push too far to the right and end up alienating the public all over again (like they did in 2005).

The problem is, most likely so will the Democrats. They almost always seem to interpret losses or discontent as a sign that they aren’t right wing enough.

I wonder if that information is accurate as of this week. I think that the oil spill could have big consequences especially in Gulf Coast states. Not because it’s good policy to change stances based on crisis, but because it makes good propaganda to intersperse shots of the spill with chants of “drill, baby, drill!”

If the Democrats do lose the election I think it would cause leadership changes and a move to the right, but not in terms of members shifting willingly, but because all the ones that will be still be standing will be more to the right/center, as will the new ones coming in. The core of Democrats that have not wavered on health care for instance, will not change their stance: if the loudness of the perceived unpopularity of it was not enough for them to change position on it, nothing will make them.

This is, of course, the GOP read on the 2008 election, with the parties and ideologies reversed.

More generally, it seems that after every presidential election, there’s speculation that the winning party has now set itself up for permanent dominance, and it never happens.

Young voters have always skewed liberal; the problem is that they get older.

Immigration will be much more of a problem for the Democrats than the Republicans in years to come, since the electorate at large is so widely opposed to anything that looks like accommodation for undocumented immigrants. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Obama took an immigration bill off the agenda after polls showed 70% of Americans supported the Arizona law. For years, Republicans tried to tag Democrats as “soft on crime,” and immigration could be a whole new vehicle for doing so.

I do think the Republicans will start to soften their opposition to gay rights. Very few people objected to the hospital-visitation rule, and very few people will object to the admission of gays to the military.

Right now, the public is on their side on gay marriage, but for most people, that’s just a word; even Bush supported civil unions. As younger Republicans come into the party, serious opposition is going to dwindle to the fundamentalists, and while they may often set the tone, they rarely set the agenda. The party’s opposition to gay marriage will be like its opposition to abortion or support of public prayer or creationism: Tinkering on the margins, occasional inflammatory local or state actions, but no real push at the national level.

Other way around. If the Democrats lose, the center of gravity in Congress is going to shift to the left, because they’ll be the ones around. The Democratic seats that are most vulnerable are the seats in Republican leaning areas who are more to the right.

It’s my assumption that people become more conservative as they get older. This would be more apparent on the economic side, but I know a lot of spoiled Boomers who grew up to bemoan how kids today expect everything to be handed to them rather than honestly working for a day’s wage.

Of course it could pay off in the long run, by convincing the Pubs that it’s the hard-right/Libertarian/Tea Party base that’s a winner. Let the GOP marginalize their RINOs, and they will marginalize the GOP for decades to come.

Possible. It worked in 1964 - Goldwater’s destruction discredited the party’s hard right for a generation. It paved the way for the moderate-liberal wing led by Nixon to take the party over. But then, his own personal discreditation let the rightists get their man Reagan in, but that’s another story.

Non-presidential elections typically see the President’s party lose seats in both chambers of Congress. As many as Nate Silver is predicting is unusual, but not unprecedented. Silver is usually very good in his predictions.

Is it a good thing for the Democrats to lose seats? Not if you are a Democrat. Unlike professional sports, your lottery/draft chances do not improve by being a loser. In fact, defeats usually end the careers of politicians, and the party’s future chances of developing that candidate. It does allow the party to retool it’s message and make it more centrist. The Democrats might do this following losses in Nov 2010. The Republicans in the past several cycles have moved their message further right in response to all election results. Elections are won from the middle, not the wings. The Obammuel White House is governing from as far right as it can, matching Bush II in many respects. This is leading the Republicans to stake out the area further right, meaning the Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck nutty area. Without a nominee like Romney, the Republican Party is in for a long walk in the wilderness.

Will Sarah Palin run in 2012? Well, she found that running and losing in 2008 was very highly profitable for her. I have seen it estimated that she made over $10 million since leaving office as Alaska’s Governor. The only way for her to keep this up in the long term is to run again. If she wins, she is the President (please no), and if she loses, then she makes another bundle of money being the beauty queen standard bearer.

The young have always leaned left. Then they get older and lean right.

This part, however, is true, and is a reason why the Dems should try to increase immigration, especially low-skilled immigration (poor AND non-white) by any means necessary, even if it means neglecting our prosecution of illegal immigration.

Thats not true on both parts. This generation of youth is more left wing than previous youth, and people do not become more conservative with age.

Ah, the old “we may lose this time, but it’s better for us in the long run” trick.

It’s never better to lose in politics. You just don’t know what the future is going to be like. This country consistently swings back and forth between the Dems and the Pubs. Lots of us were telling you that in the last few elections when the Dems won big. The won big, in large part, because conservative to moderate Dems carried traditionally Pubbie districts in the wake of Bush’s utter failure as a president. Well, that’s history, and those districts don’t have Bush to hate anymore-- they have Obama to, if not hate, to be disappointed in.

Arguably it worked in the Goldwater defeat of 1964. That, combined with the conservative loss in Roe v Wade led to the embrace of movement conservatism which has run the GOP and to a lesser degree the country for several decades.

So … I guess winning this year would have been bad for the Democrats in the long run?


Then your thesis is, in essence, “No matter what, it’s good for the Democrats!”

That is surely an unprecedented view on these boards. I admire your courage in advancing this opinion.

To assist a hignorint furriner, is this true?
Certainly true here, but equally you don’t hear anybody claiming God is an Australian.

Are the Christian Right (Is there a Christian Centre or Left?) compensating for their reduced numbers by shouting louder?

Or are the non-sectarians are less inclined to the political process and don’t vote?

I think the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Acts had a teensy bit to do with it, too. Just a teensy bit…