Why Demography may not be political destiny

I concur with Scott that Michael Barone’s piece on the demographic redistribution of America is the must-read piece of the day, if not the month. Michael shows that the latest migration of Americans, from Coastal Megalopolises to Interior Megalopolises, like the last great movement from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt, means that Democratic strongholds are losing population to Republican ones. It also means, however, that the Democrats will have new opportunities in Republican strongholds, since the newcomers will be more likely than the long time residents to vote Democratic. Meanwhile the Democratic strongholds will likely remain where they are politically because the immigrants who replace the folks who leave will be reliable Democratic voters.
Ultimately, as Mark Tapscott observes, the decisive factors are likely to be what the parties stand for and how successful they are when they hold power. Migration from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt didn’t dilute Republican strength there because the Reaganite party was more attractive than the party of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. Today’s Republican party may be another story, and thus cannot count on demography to bail it out.


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