A week or so ago, I posted "Democrats and demographics" arguing that, in California,
The post was a little lazy. I didn't bother to dig into election results outside of California to report exactly what the national picture of the white vote looked like. In particular, that 40 percent number was just an informed guess. Slate columnist David Weigel has done the digging in discussing the prospects for President Obama's Democrats in 2014:
Thus, on the national level, Democratic Party victory seems at present to require getting close to 40 percent of the white vote -- and Democrats do just fine (nationally) whenever they exceed that percentage. That's hard to achieve in much of the country in midterm elections in which younger and browner voters are less likely to turn out. In some races, Democrats are throwing money and field staff at the turnout problem. The California experience -- all those community-based and union campaigns -- again suggests that such an effort can make a difference.
I doubt money can build a community voting practice in one or even several cycles, but we do here demonstrate that if funded activists stay with the project, electoral dynamics change. The change may not be in direction, but well placed efforts can speed up underlying trends. The underlying trends continue to favor a Democratic populist electorate for the foreseeable future.