Identity politics are back! The 2008 presidential campaigns may have
been all about African-American voters and female voters, but some
think that the star demographic for the 2010 midterm elections will be
"angry white seniors." Who are these people and how could they become
the decisive electorate in 2010?
- Democrats Have a White Seniors Problem Ron Brownstein reads
the electoral math, predicting big GOP gains. "In midterm elections,
the electorate tends to be whiter and older than in presidential
elections," he writes. "Small shifts in who votes can have big
consequences on Election Day."
Brownstein warns that Obama-dominated young and minority voters won't
turn out. "Their place will likely be filled by white voters,
And that possibility looms as a huge gray cloud over Democrats. In
2008, Obama won the votes of just 40 percent of whites over age 65
(compared with 54 percent of whites under 30). All surveys show that
white seniors remain the most resistant to Obama's health care agenda
and the most skeptical of him overall."
- ...But It's Only a Problem for Midterms Brownstein warns
that Republicans pursuing white seniors now are setting themselves up
for losses in 2012. "But that dynamic also means that Republicans could
do very well in 2010
without solving their fundamental demographic challenges. In the 2012
presidential election, the young and minority voters central to Obama's
coalition are likely to return in large numbers. The risk to the GOP is
that a strong 2010 showing based on a conservative appeal to
apprehensive older whites will discourage it from reconsidering whether
its message is too narrow to attract those rapidly growing groups."
Democrats Will Lose Youth Support Reihan Salam suggests
that Republicans, in addition to picking up seniors, could erode a
crucial Democratic electorate. "One wonders how many young voters will
return. It's possible that 2008
saw an unusually high level of youth turnout that won't be replicated
any time soon. If unemployment surpasses 10 percent and stays there for
a prolonged period, youth unemployment will presumably be somewhat
higher. These voters might not be inclined to actively and
energetically support the party in power at that point. To be sure,
it's not clear that Republicans will be able to win them over. A
jobs-focused agenda would help."
- Many Vulnerable Democrats, But GOP Strategy Lacking Charlie Cook predicts
quite a few Democrats risk being unseated, but says the Republicans
lack the finances to sweep Congress. "Democrats could be ruing the
'year of the angry white senior' at the polling place, not just the
town hall," he writes. But: "At the moment, the GOP's slate of
candidates in potentially vulnerable
Democratic seats doesn't look all that intimidating. Just 12 of the 66
House Democrats in the Likely Democratic, Lean Democratic, and Toss Up
columns face Republican challengers who held $100,000 or more in their
campaign accounts at the end of June. Still, there is danger on the
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