In 2008, Barack Obama was widespread To have built as a groundbreaking political coalition: young people, racial and ethnic minorities, trained professionals, urban and suburban voters. He is said to have built an innovative campaign infrastructure that uses big data and social media in an unprecedented wayincreases Voter turnout and democratic share of the vote with constituencies that are usually under-represented in the ballot box.
All of this should not only benefit Obama, but also the party that was capitalized. Indeed, after the 2008 election, the Democrats had won the presidency and consolidated her hold through both chambers of Congress. At the state level, they had governorates in 29 states and checked both chambers in 27 state legislations. In contrast, Republicans controlled only 14 state legislatures and 21 governorates.
In fact, many went so far as to believe that the Obama coalition heralded the arrival of a long-prophesied permanent Democratic majority in US politics. You were wrong.
In 2010, the Democrats lost control of the house in the the most comprehensive reversal of Congress in 62 years. They also saw tremendous losses in the state legislatures that allowed Republicans to control the ten-year redistribution after the census unprecedented degree.
In 2014, the Democrats would continue to lose senate. And two years later, of course lose the presidency also. The party also recorded massive losses in state competitions. When Trump took office in 2016, Republicans controlled both chambers of the U.S. Congress, both chambers in 32 state legislationsand held 33 governorates.
Under Trump, the GOP would also dominate the courts. Rough a quarter Trump is appointed out of all active federal judges. Republicans could also place three Supreme Court justices over the course of Trump’s tenure – a Conservative majority of 6-3 remains that is likely to last for some time.
Fortunately, the parties practically always lose their seats in the House during their first half. The GOP in 2018 was no exception. Although the losses were the Republican Party almost exactly average It was enough for a first half to hand the house over to the Democrats.
Another major win in 2020: Joe Biden made it Take Donald Trump from the seat and is ready to take over the presidency in January 2021. Nevertheless, the Democratic Party is in an overall weaker position than it was before the elections.
Democrats lost seats in the house – put them on the right track lose the chamber in 2022. You can fail to take control of the Senate. they lost a governorship. The Democratic Party also saw persistent erosion in state legislations, bringing the GOP back to a dominant position in terms of post-census redistribution. According to Thirty-five It is estimated that Republicans will control the reallocation of around 43 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives. Democrats will have comparable control over just 17 percent of the seats. This is no small loss as these cards will rule the elections through 2030.
In short, although Barack Obama likes to call himself and his allies “right side of the story“- and implies that his opponents were thrown in the trash can – history seems to have had different ideas. But what happened to the Obama coalition? What went wrong with the rising Democratic majority?
T.To answer that question, I have been comparing the Democratic and Republican voting shares for different groups over the past 16 years. One thing that struck me as I looked at the baseline survey data – especially when comparing Democratic and Republican margins over time for different constituencies – is that parabolas kept popping up in the data. The numbers would go up or down significantly just to return to a historical baseline. The visualization of the data confirmed this suspicion.
For African-Americans, racist “others”, Protestants and non-religious people, the 2008-2020 path has been a consistent decline in loyalty to the Democratic Party, culminating in a return to its 2004 level of support.
However, some groups followed a slightly different route to the same goal. For example, Democrats saw declines in whites, men, seniors (voters 65 and over), and rural voters that fell below their 2004 baseline over the course of the Obama and Trump administrations, but their margins shifted back to their pre-Obama positions Year 2020.
Across the board, however, the entire Obama and Trump administration essentially ended up campaigning with all of these groups.
For others, 2008 seemed to remain central – and all of the changes after The year 2008 seemed to be erased by the end of this cycle. For example, Hispanics, Asians and Catholics have shifted even further towards Democrats after 2008. However, in recent years, virtually all of these gains have been eliminated.
The silver lining is that while the declines in Hispanic and Asian voters over the past eight years have been substantial, Democratic margins for these voters remain well above pre-Obama times. Of course, it is conceivable that the party could continue to post losses among Hispanics, Asians and Catholics – but for now, its margins have only shifted to 2008 levels.
Others followed the opposite path. For example, women moved slightly towards the GOP in 2012 but switched back to Democrats over the next two cycles. Meanwhile, city dwellers, Catholics, voters aged 30 to 64 and those with a college (but no degree) switched significant from 2008 to 2016 in the direction of GOP. However, they all almost went back to their 2008 baseline in this election.
Movements in the LGBTQ vote, on the other hand, are highly unusual compared to most other groups. Instead of reacting to the arrival of Obama or Trump on the political scene, LGBTQ voters seem to react to different factors than the rest of the voters.
In any case, from the data we’ve studied so far, it seems difficult to understand how Biden could have won in 2020. Yes, the Democrats roughly compared their 2008 vote to many groups. However, they ended up in a worse position with a number of core groups including whites, African American, racist “other” and LGBTQ voters.
Democrats’ margins for those earning less than $ 30,000 a year also continued to decline each year from 2008 to 2020. Obama won those voters by 33 percentage points in 2008. By 2020, the Democrats’ lead had dropped to 8 points.
Fortunately, there seem to have been many other voters alienated from Trump that from 2016 to 2020 they shifted significantly towards the Democratic Party.
Middle-income earners ($ 50,000 to $ 99,000 per year), suburbanites and University graduates Everyone has moved dramatically away from the GOP under Trump. This shouldn’t be particularly surprising as those voters more than others appreciate things like decency, courtesy, and political correctness. They want the President to be “President”. Trump clearly wasn’t.
But to the extent that aesthetics sparked these flaws, many could end up returning to the GOP if the party voted someone more “respectable” down the line. In fact, voters who made $ 100,000 a year were initially like that deterred by Trump that they shifted to Democrats to an extent in 2016, that was with no recent historical precedent. By 2020, however, they voted again for their paperbacks and supported Trump at about the same level as Mitt Romney in 2012. After Trump, the entire constellation of bourgeois voters followed suit.
A similar dynamic appears to work with moderate and independent voters.
The Democrats’ 2020 margin with independents has been the best for any recorded presidential cycle dating back to 1972 (when these records begin). Overall, it was the largest margin among Independents any party has won in a presidential cycle since 1984. Their margins with moderates were also historic – not just among Democrats, but for both parties – and went all the way back to 1972.
Given that these voters are not solid partisans, many appear to have voted for GOP candidates – resulting in a situation where Biden won the presidency by at least 6 million votes despite his party losing significant congressional and state races recorded. In future cycles, many of these moderate and independent voters are likely to vote for a Republican president as well. You seem to have clearly opposed Trump rather than embracing the Democratic Party.
In the course of the Obama administration, young people increasingly left the Democratic Party. However, in an obvious reaction to Trump, a new generation began to give more support to the Democrats. In the meantime, the party has even slightly exceeded Obama’s 2008 margins in 2018. However, it seems that young people were not enthusiastic about Biden: The democratic share of the vote among the 18 to 29 year old voters has already dropped significantly.
IIn short, many of the groups that were instrumental in Biden’s 2020 victory do not appear to be part of an enduring coalition. They tried to oust Trump. When this is achieved, a large part will likely shift back to the GOP in the coming cycles.
This is exactly what happened after 2008. Suburbanites, middle-income earners, and college-educated voters were widely described as Core ingredients the Obama coalition. However, this assumption was premature. As the graph above shows, after Obama took office, all of these groups have shifted significantly to the Republicans – and continued to favor the GOP for the remainder of his term in office. That said, while these voters actually shifted towards Democrats in 2008, they didn’t seem like big fans of the Obama administration in the years that followed. You might respond well to Biden in kind.
So Democrats are in a precarious position. Many of the constituencies that are central to the Obama coalition have turned their backs on the party. Even under Trump, the erosion of Democrats among minority voters has increased continues unabated. You see consistent wear and tear below People of faith also – not only with Christians, but also with Muslims, Jews and other believers. The energy the party built with young people in 2018 seems to be waning. However, the Democrats have not attracted new constituencies to offset the declining loyalty of these voters. Instead, many of those who helped Democrats get victories in 2018 and 2020 seem likely to head back towards the GOP if Trump is no longer on the ballot.
I know, I know. 2020 was a tough year. And Joe Biden’s victory was understandably a rare moment of light for many.
But the truth is, now that the “resistance” has won, it is not clear how the center will hold up. There isn’t really a “Biden coalition” to speak of. There’s just the shell of the Obama coalition, which is unlikely to get the party much further than before – and a mix of swing voters who didn’t particularly love the Obama-Biden administration and probably won’t be enthusiastic about the Biden. Harris Administration too.
That said, in Trump’s absence, Democrats appear to be on the verge of an identity crisis – and possibly an electoral crisis as well. Who was the party against has been evident for the past four years. But what is the party actually to the? For that matter, who is the party for? Solving these questions – not just in principle, but in practice – will be a messy affair in the months and years to come. Not everyone will like the answers.