In today's fraught political climate, one thing is indisputable: the dream of the emerging Democratic majority is dead. How did the Democrats, who seemed unstoppable only two short years ago, lose their momentum so quickly, and what does it mean for the future of our two-party system? Here, RealClearPolitics senior analyst Sean Trende explores the underlying weaknesses of the Democratic promise of recent years, and shows how unlikely a new era of liberal values always was as demonstrated by the current backlash against unions and other Democratic pillars. Persuasively arguing that both Republicans and Democrats are failing to connect with the real values of the American people - and that long-held theories of cyclical political "realignments" are baseless - Trende shows how elusive a true and lasting majority is in today's climate, how Democrats can make up for the ground they've lost, and how Republicans can regain power and credibility. Trende's surprising insights include:
The South didn't shift toward the Republicans because of racism, but because of economics.
Barack Obama's 2008 win wasn't grounded in a new, transformative coalition, but in a narrower version of Bill Clinton's coalition.
The Latino vote is not a given for the Democrats; as they move up the economic ladder, they will start voting Republican.
Even before the recent fights about the public sector, Democratic strongholds like unions were no longer relevant political entities.
With important critiques of the possible Republican presidential nominations in 2012, this is a timely, inspiring look at the next era of American politics.
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