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Leading Off:

Demographics: Maybe you're tired of the whole "the Republicans can/can't win by increasing their share of the white vote instead of reaching out to non-whites vote" argument; if you aren't, please check out the new magnum opus from National Journal's demographics guru Ron Brownstein. (I'm not tired of it at all, but I certainly agree with Brownstein's assessment of it as "Talmudic," to the extent that the back-and-forth between a number of writers that I like—Sean Trende, Alan Abramowitz, Ruy Teixeira—keeps getting more and more self-referential and technical.)

Brownstein takes issue with the GOP's plans to double-down on white voters, not just for the already-beaten-to-death issue that the white population just keeps becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the electorate, but also because the white electorate is changing in ways that are less hospitable to Republicans. It's becoming more college-educated, more single, and more secular. (The only way it's changing in a GOP-friendly way is that it's becoming older.) There are still a few charts in his piece that leave you wondering how the Democrats manage to win anything (especially the chart showing how badly they fare among married white persons, regardless of gender or education), but in general, it shows the demographic winds at the Democrats' backs continuing to pick up.

There are some similar themes in another fascinating demographic long read, from Wednesday in the New York Times by Thomas Edsall. Edsall discusses a concept called the "Second Demographic Transition," where the shift is less about race or income and more about shared values, including "postponement of marriage, greater prevalence of cohabitation and same-sex households, postponement of parenthood, sub-replacement fertility, and a higher incidence of abortion." The places where there's more movement in that "ideational" direction are also the places where Democratic votes have increasingly been concentrated (for the most part, major metropolitan areas, though also college towns: anywhere the "creative class," per Richard Florida's phrasing, is clustered).

As an illustration of his point, check out the county-by-county map that accompanied Edsall's article. You'd swear you were looking at a map of presidential results (or maybe more accurately, a map showing the trend in presidential results from, say, 1988 to 2012), but no: you're looking at a map of "Second Demographic Transition" values from county to county. (In other words, each county's rates of indicators like same-sex households, cohabiting households, percentage of women without children in the household... somehow all condensed down into one number.)

Map of Second Demographic Transition
Combining that with Brownstein's observations about how there will be more singles and more seculars within the white population, and you can see the recipe for an even greater numbers of Democratic voters in the "creative class" parts of the nation. That's all well and good from the perspective of winning presidential elections—but may also be a recipe for even more polarization and gridlock at the House level, given the growing cultural and economic disconnect between the blue voters clustered more and more tightly in the nation's urban areas and the increasingly-implacably-red voters spread out across the rest of the landscape.


GA-Sen: Ex-SoS (and more notoriously, ex-Komen Foundation VP) Karen Handel is the first Senate contestant to hit the airwaves in the overcrowded Republican primary field; however, it's just a radio ad, running on talk radio and country music stations in the Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah markets. It hits rivals Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey, and Paul Broun over Obamacare, not for voting for it but just for guilt-by-association, seeing as how they're federal employees and vaguely benefit from its existence.


NC-Gov: Ordinarily, it'd be way too early to start talking about the 2016 North Carolina gubernatorial race, but there's been a whole lot of chatter about it in the last few weeks... which may be a good sign, if it means that people are sensing Pat McCrory's vulnerability or at least a growing desire to turn the page. Reid Wilson (now at WaPo) looks at some of the recent Dem announcements: most prominent is AG Roy Cooper, who has toyed with us on this race many times before but is doing it again, expressing his interest and saying he'll make up his mind "relatively soon."

Also popping his head up is Raleigh-area state Sen. Josh Stein, a former deputy AG to Cooper, who's saying he'll run for whichever office (governor or AG) that Cooper won't run for in 2016. The other name-floater is former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker, who says he won't decide until after the 2014 elections but is definitely interested. If any of them get in, they'd join ex-state Rep. Kenneth Spaulding, who's already unequivocally in.

OK-Gov: Here's an intriguing possibility: the return of ex-Gov. Brad Henry, the last Democrat in Oklahoma to win... well, pretty much anything. Don't start getting your hopes up too high, though, that he'll be back for another gubernatorial run in 2014, against GOP incumbent Mary Fallin: in response to urging from local Dem power brokers that he run, he says it's "unlikely" but he won't "completely rule out the possibility."

Even if he did decide to re-emerge (and it's certainly plausible; he's only 50), there's still the question of whether he's eligible to serve again. The Oklahoma state constitution was amended in 2010, his last year in office, to limit a Governor to eight years, but he contends that wouldn't apply to him since it can't be enforced retroactively.

VA-Gov: Another day, another poll with a big lead for Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race... and this one comes from an unlikely source, Rasmussen Reports, in what's apparently their first poll (other than their daily presidential approval tracker) since Scott Rasmussen left the firm that he founded. They find T-Mac leading Ken Cuccinelli 45-38, with 7 for "another candidate" (important, since Libertarian Robert Sarvis has been polling at about that level in polls that mention him by name) and 10 unsure. That's slightly better than their early June poll, apparently their only other poll of VA-Gov, where T-Mac led 44-41.

So, is the dawning of a new, more accurate Rasmussen? Although this poll is right in line with the most recent PPP and Quinnipiac polls (which had margins of 7 and 6 respectively), it's only one data point and too early to tell anything. However, one thing buried in the details is worth noting: they used a two-day sample (Sep. 3-4). Since Rasmussen previously only used one-day samples with no callbacks, well, at least that's progress.

And get ready for an ad per day, or more, for the stretch run in the Virginia governor's race. Today's offering is a jobs-centered one from the Terry McAuliffe camp.


UT-02: Utah's 2nd congressional district is one of the House's most hopeless cases (going 29 percent for Obama in '12, though that's a low water mark with favorite son Mitt Romney on the ballot). So, it's more than a little surprising to find that GOP freshman Chris Stewart (who grabbed this as an open seat, after Dem Jim Matheson jumped over to the slightly-less-red UT-04 after redistricting) getting a better-than-Some Dude Democratic candidate for 2014.

State Sen. Luz Robles (from SD-01 in Salt Lake City, one of five Dems in the 29-person Senate) announced on Thursday that she'll run. First elected in 2008, she doesn't seem to be up for re-election in 2014, meaning she wouldn't have to give up her current seat for a steeply uphill House run. (Stewart defeated a former Dem state Rep. Jay Seegmiller, with 62 percent of the vote in '12 when this was an open seat.)

VA-10: Long-time Republican Rep. Frank Wolf keeps presenting a tempting target for Democrats, in that he represents outer-ring suburbs in the Washington area that are swingy at the presidential level and rapidly getting more diverse. It's always been fools gold, though (kind of like the Republicans, and, say, New Jersey), and Wolf has won comfortably even in good Democratic years. At any rate, the Dems have their willing victim lined up for next year: attorney Richard Bolger. As Roll Call's article points out, in the event of a retirement from Wolf (not expected this cycle, but he's 74, so it's bound to happen some day), Bolger's odds would improve dramatically—but the Wolf retirement would probably also prompt a flood of other Dems higher up the food chain.

Other races:

NYC Comptroller: Two new ads surfaced Thursday in the New York City comptroller's race, which, with Bill de Blasio's increasing dominance in the mayoral race, has taken over as the must-watch race in the Big Apple. And fittingly, the two candidates' ads go at each other hammer and tongs: Scott Stringer's ad hits Eliot Spitzer directly for the prostitution scandal that ender Spitzer's gubernatorial tenure, while Spitzer's ad does a bit of Bloomberg tie-in, hitting Stringer for opposing term limits in 2009.

NYC Mayor: If you're unfamiliar with the different neighborhoods of New York City, and the demographics and voting patterns of the people who live there, the New York Times has a helpful primer. (It's also worth looking at simply if you appreciate a well-made interactive infographic that's a cut above the usual stationary map.) It measures each neighborhood's political clout in two ways: the quantity of "prime voters" and the amount of money contributed to candidates.

WI-St. Sen: Democratic state Sen. Tim Cullen won't run for re-election in 2014 to the Wisconsin State Senate, currently controlled 18-15 by the Republicans. Cullen's departure won't really affect the calculus much; SD-15, primarily in Dem-leaning Rock County, went 62 percent for Obama in 2012, and Assemblyman Andy Jorgensen seems likely to replace him. Instead, it's a chance for a bit of an upgrade, seeing as how the often-moderate Cullen was kind of wobbly for a blue district: He was the most compromise-oriented Dem member during the 2011 fight over organized labor rights and briefly left the Dem caucus in 2012 for a stint as an independent.

Grab bag:

TX Redistricting: The legal saga of the Texas's House and legislative districts has gotten impenetrably difficult to follow, with different issues being considered by different courts in San Antonio and Washington DC, but there are at least two important takeaways from the order handed down by the San Antonio court on Friday. One, 2014 elections can proceed as scheduled, using the maps created by the legislature in 2013 (which changed very little from the previous maps) as interim maps.

And two, the court approved an amendment to the pleadings, apparently requested after the SCOTUS rendered Voting Rights Act sec. 5 unworkable several months ago: The plaintiffs can proceed with their request that Texas be "bailed in" to preclearance, via VRA sec. 3. (Section 3 is a previously little-used provision that allows a jurisdiction to get kicked back into the preclearance regime through a showing of discrimination; it's cumbersome, but about the only remaining piece of the VRA that still has teeth.)

WATN?: The story of Richie Farmer shows how quickly one's fortune can change. In 2011, the state's agriculture commissioner was a rising star potentially on his way to the state capitol, as the GOP's Lt. Gov. nominee. However, in 2013, he's on his way to prison instead, thanks to a Thursday plea agreement on federal charges of misappropriation of public funds. (That's on top of being divorced by his wife and badly losing that 2011 race.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  New PPP poll on NYC Mayor's race. (8+ / 0-)

    De Blasio  38%
    Thompson 19%
    Quinn        13%
    Weiner         9%
    Liu               5%
    Other           7%
    Undecided   10%


    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 05:37:45 AM PDT

  •  At a recent teaching post, an 8th grader told me (7+ / 0-)

    "Doesn't it seem like there's fewer and fewer white people?" Pretty perceptive for a 14 year old.

  •  Henry won't run (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, MI Sooner

    I don't think any democrat could be elected in Oklahoma statewide anymore.  Just write off the state until some sanity may re-emerges.
    He was a tax cutting democrat but I think he is pro choice not a great selling point in OK.

  •  Easy rightwing solution; Redefine "white." (5+ / 0-)

    It's been done all through history.  A century ago, "white" meant English, German, or Scandanavian.  Irish Catholics, Italians, and Polish were certainly not considered "white" by these people.  But now they are.

    All the rightwingers have to do is start admitting all Latinos to the "white" club (yes I know some Latinos are white, but certainly not all) and they just solved their demographics problem.  Cynical and evil? Of course. Which is why they will do it. Remember folks; You heard it here first.

    And really, why not?  "White" and many other ethnic designations are just synthetic creations anyway.  It's not like redefining an already fake premise undermines its already fake meaning.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 06:26:09 AM PDT

    •  But doing that... (4+ / 0-)

      ...means they have to stop being racist to Hispanics.

      If they stop being racist, even to some Americans, I'd call that a win.

    •  It's always been more about class than race. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, Radical Moderate

      The rightwingers are already talking about makers and takers.  The CEO's and hedge fund managers on the one hand, and the middle class and poor whose kids serve in the military, teach our kids, put out fires, rescue ordinary citizens, and others who struggle in one way or another on the other hand.  The GOP would happily swap their religious fundamentalists for financially successful minorities, which explains the Log Cabin Republicans in my view.

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:20:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All the more reason why Hispanics will be admitted (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to the White Club.  Hispanic Americans are attending college in record numbers and many are quickly moving up the economic ladder.  Once you get enough money and clout you're in.

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

        by bigtimecynic on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:34:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They will do that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but it will still take a generation or two for Latinos to vote R again.  It is somewhat similar to white Catholics in the 1940s and 1950s, Rs were ready to accept them as "whites", but many of them never forgot the discrimination and bigotry they were subject to by the Rs.  (The Rs treated ethnic immigrants in the 1920s even worse than the current ones are treating Hispanics.  They refused to reapportion in 1920 and passed a whole bunch of very restrictive immigration laws. )  It wasn't until the late 1960s before large numbers of these groups started voting R.  Even as late as 1968, Humphrey beat Nixon among Catholics 62-29.

  •  Florida. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical Moderate

    looks overwhelmingly Democratically favorable (purple!) on that county map.

  •  The lone comment... (3+ / 0-)

    on YouTube to that Terry McAuliffe ad is something.  I mean, it's written in English, but the meaning behind the words picked doesn't seem to have any relation to any known language, except maybe Teabagger.

    Steve K

    Mr. McAuliffe, What is a good reason for a woman to divorce her husband?

    You apparently have no regard for marriage, or our children. Women should never stay where they are in danger. Divorce and Abortions are a scourge on our society. Politicians are not leaders they are a reflection of us. We are wrong and broken. You will not get my support.

    So... what if a woman is in danger because her husband is abusive, but divorce is a no-no?  Yeah, I don't even......
  •  gop understands demographics better than Dems. (6+ / 0-)

    Dems are fooling themselves if they think demographic shifts will in the near and maybe even long term give them the advantage.  The gop understands their traditional base is shrinking and have reacted by altering voting and counting mechanisms.  

    Surprise, surprise.  The gop controls the House even though they received less votes nationally.  And from what I gather reading blogs, etc., the power grab will continue for a long time.  

    While Dems are patting themselves on the back for their coming majority, gopers are at work to change the way Electoral College votes are counted within states, and at work finding bigger and better ways to suppress and nullify votes.  I fully expect to see in the coming decades republican presidents who did not win the popular vote.  2000 will be repeated but this time Dems won't have Nader to conveniently blame.

    •  I don't think this will work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but I actually think what they want to do is far far worse.

      Teabaggers actually want to eliminate democracy completely, and use a military coup to overthrow the government.  And then they will try to do mass genocide of all people and things that they consider "liberal".

    •  It has worked in our history and THAT is why I get (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrWebster, aznavy, a2nite

      a bit pissed at so much "demographics will save us" talk here and elsewhere among those on our end of the spectrum. Gaming the system worked to keep the "black vote" nearly nil from post federal occupation of the South until fairly recently, certainly in my lifetime. It took massive effort, no few deaths and federal marshals and even troops to break the Massive Resistance to change.

      The pushback to efforts to reinstitute the control of what increasingly looks like the same bunch warmed over needs to be fierce, hard and I'd like to see result in some prosecutions. Where a conspiracy is evident to deprive racial and other "protected" minorities of their civil rights, as is going on in North Carolina and Texas, I would like to see some jail time and perhaps loss of civil voting rights (felony convictions) for the ring leaders.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 08:46:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not just demographics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, MrWebster

      the real advantage the GOP has is that even if their demographic is a shrinking share of the population at large, it maintains its share of the voting population, especially at the local level, where Democrats are far behind. The "creative class" doesn't have much impact in state and local politics, which is where the real action is and where national leaders get their start. Too many Democratic leaning voters only vote for president, and only if somebody "cool" is running.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 11:45:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck, GOP (0+ / 0-)

    In 2016, you lose a sizable majority of the Racist Vote. Your turnout among the increasingly Republican dead voting bloc remains at 0%, and states like TX and GA become competitive.

    Good article and good post.

  •  So then the (0+ / 0-)

    "Second demographic transition" is another re-branding of "if you are one of us, we'll pretend to ignore how you're different, at least in public"?

    When will the GOP learn that its re-branding efforts are futile?  (Yeah, never, but I gotta ask).

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 08:16:28 AM PDT

    •  I think that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pelagicray, David Jarman, bherner

      The Second Demographic Transition was really fueled by conservative economic policies.  

      I suspect that had the country remained economically as it was in the early 1970s (i.e. no massive decline of blue collar manufacturing and family farms), cultural liberalism wouldn't have gotten the traction that it did outside the upper classes.  If you have a prosperous manufacturing sector, coal mine, or family farm, your children stick around there and keep perpetuating the cultural conservatism that you have been taught.  When those jobs are no longer available, the kids leave and get exposed to other ideas.

      At this point, my sense is that it is over for traditional cultural values everywhere but dying rural areas and the South.  It's death may take some time (and I think teabaggers will try to bring a coup to stop it.), but the last few years seem to suggest a death knell for these things.

      •  The rural/urban thing seems to be a real key. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gygaxian, Aquarius40

        From a Washington Post article on an effort to promote secession of five counties in western Maryland from the state by a Tea Party gang touting “The people are the sovereign”:

        What’s different now is how the secession efforts illuminate a hard truth about the country: The rural-urban divide is increasingly a point of political conflict. The population boom in urban areas such as Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs near the District, the Boulder-Denver areas in Colorado, and in Detroit have filled state legislatures with liberal policymakers pushing progressive agendas out of sync with rural residents, who feel increasingly isolated and marginalized.

        In Maryland, the five western counties — Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll — represent just 11 percent of Maryland’s population, according to 2010 Census figures. They earn less than the people who live in more urban areas. They vote overwhelmingly for Republicans in a deeply Democratic state. Nearly 90 percent of the residents are white, compared with 51 percent elsewhere. About 60 percent were born in Maryland vs. 46 percent in other parts of the state.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 08:54:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you look at (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pelagicray, Aquarius40

          the tree parts of the country currently espousing this kind of BS (Northern Colorado, Western Maryland, northern California/Southern Oregon), the demographics are very striking in just how white, disconnected from reality, and privileged they are.  They want to keep the 'urban types' (brown people and liberals, mostly) at bay, and to use them only when necessary, and as stump labor.

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:43:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Personally I'm getting to be for Sherman's (0+ / 0-)

            approach long ago in his march through Georgia—just updated and a bit more thorough. These groups are looking more and more treasonous and subversive in both chatter and action. It is past time for real pushback against what, in some cases, is our own home grown Taliban.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:53:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  doesn't matter how many vote; matters who counts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aznavy, a2nite

    the votes. The Gee O Pee proved that when Bill White lost the 2010 Texas Governor's race.

    They will find ways to suppress votes.
    Black votes first.
    Brown / red / yellow votes next.
    Women's votes of all colors.
    All GLBTQ votes.


    "We don't want Democrats to vote."

    They're not even lying about it anymore.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 08:17:22 AM PDT

  •  I worry about racial polarization amidst (0+ / 0-)

    These tough economic times.
    If one looks at Europe (France/UK/Germany) etc, the right wingers are slowly but surely gaining strength politically, they are no longer deemed extreme, with the T-party folks pariahs.
    And that is exactly whats happening here in the US.
    Its very easy to appeal to base crass instincts of exclusion, rather than meritocracy and inclusiveness, and the fact that we are all on one boat, so we sink or float together.
    The me, me, me, pull yourself by the bootstraps Randian philosophy will appeal to many struggling non college Whites, who have a shorter distance to go, to reach the economic finish line, compared to say Blacks.

    •  As the economy slowly improves this will (0+ / 0-)

      diminish. The unemployment rate is slowly falling, ObamaCares Medicare expansion will act as a second (smaller stimulus) as Federal dollars pour into states that accept it, etc.

      There is a long history of racial/ethnic tensions throughout the world in tough economic times. As things slowly get better, these things will also tend to go down.  

      -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)! Follow on Twitter @dopper0189

      by dopper0189 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 10:14:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OK Ex-Gov Brad Henry (0+ / 0-)

    In addition to the argument that the gubernatorial restriction to eight years would be an ex post facto law in his case,  there is also the argument that it would constitute a bill of attainder.

  •  I laugh at conservatives pundits math (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The so called "5-6 million missing white voter thesis" makes me laugh at how bad conservative pundits are at math. If 5.5 million of them showed up and Romney won 59% of them (or 70 percent!) they still wouldn't have been enough to overcome Obama's 5 million voter popular edge. I mean take a math class dude. 60% of 5.5 million is 3.3 million, but that also means 2.2 million voted the other way, so you only gain 1.1 million. Seriously people actually read that stuff and don't laugh out loud?

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)! Follow on Twitter @dopper0189

    by dopper0189 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 10:11:47 AM PDT

  •  Only a matter of time for republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd much rather have a base that's becoming of voting age, than one that's passing away.

  •  I thought the GOP knew this? (0+ / 0-)

    I thought that the GOP learned this lesson in the last Presidential election? For a more statistics-based write up on this issue, see Is Doubling Down on White Voters a Viable Strategy for the Republican Party?

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