ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR AND A WINNER OF THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY'S ANNUAL POLITICAL BOOK AWARD
Political experts John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira convincingly use hard data -- demographic, geographic, economic, and political -- to forecast the dawn of a new progressive era. In the 1960s, Kevin Phillips, battling conventional wisdom, correctly foretold the dawn of a new conservative era. His book, The Emerging Republican Majority, became an indispensable guide for all those attempting to understand political change through the 1970s and 1980s. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, with the country in Republican hands, The Emerging Democratic Majority is the indispensable guide to this era.
In five well-researched chapters and a new afterword covering the 2002 elections, Judis and Teixeira show how the most dynamic and fastest-growing areas of the country are cultivating a new wave of Democratic voters who embrace what the authors call "progressive centrism" and take umbrage at Republican demands to privatize social security, ban abortion, and cut back environmental regulations.
As the GOP continues to be dominated by neoconservatives, the religious right, and corporate influence, this is an essential volume for all those discontented with their narrow agenda -- and a clarion call for a new political order.
In 1969 a prescient Kevin Phillips published The Emerging Republican Majority, predicting the rise of the conservative Republican movement. Now Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, and Teixeira, a fellow at the Century Foundation and author of The Disappearing American Voter, argue that, if current demographic and political trends continue, a new realignment of political power is inevitable, this time sweeping Democrats to power. In support of their thesis they argue that the electorate is becoming increasingly diverse, with growing Asian, Hispanic and African-American populations all groups that tend to vote Democratic. On the other hand, the number of white Americans, the voting population most likely to favor Republicans, remains static. Further, according to the authors, America's transition from an industrial to a postindustrial economy is also producing voters who trend strongly Democratic. Judis and Teixeira coin the word "ideopolis" for the geographic areas where the postindustrial economy thrives. They also argue that other changes, specifically the growing educated professional class and the continuing "gender gap," will benefit Democrats, whose political ideology is more consonant with the needs and beliefs of women and professionals. Judis and Teixeira predict that all these elements will converge by 2008, at the latest, when a new Democratic majority will emerge. Wisely, they warn that their predictions are just that, and that events might overtake the trends. But their warning will bring little comfort to Republicans, who will find their well-supported thesis disturbing.