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The Emerging Democratic Majority (Lisa Drew Books) [Hardcover]

John B. Judis , Ruy Teixeira
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 27, 2002 Lisa Drew Books


At the end of 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 conservatives through the 1970s and 1980s -- and, indeed, for all those attempting to understand political change at the time. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, with the presidency and the House in Republican hands, 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. Their book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, is the indispensable guide to this era.

In five well-researched chapters, the authors show how the most dynamic areas of the country are trending Democratic. Once the party of the Rust Belt, Democrats are now the party of Silicon Valley and of North Carolina's Research Triangle. Once the party of Archie Bunker and Ralph Kramden, the Democrats are now also the party of professionals, working women, blacks, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics.

These new Democratic voters embrace what the authors call "Progressive centrism." They take umbrage at Republican calls to privatize social security, ban abortion, and cut back environmental regulations. They are leery of subjecting science and the family to fundamentalist religious precepts. They welcome the free market as a spur to growth and initiative, but they don't want companies to be free to pollute the environment, mistreat their workers, or defraud their stockholders.

As the GOP continues to be captive to the religious right and K Street business lobbies, The Emerging Democratic Majority is an essential volume for all those discontented with their narrow agenda -- and a clarion call for a new political order.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kevin Phillip's The Emerging Republican Majority predicted the conservative revolution ushered in during the Reagan 1980s. Judis (William F. Buckley, Jr. and the Paradox of American Democracy) and Teixeira (America's Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters) present an insightful and plausible case for a resurgent Democratic majority, which he believes will ascend by the end of the decade. The majority will be centrist, rather than leftist, and will be bolstered by African Americans, Hispanic and Asian minorities, women, professional employees, and the white working and middle classes that formerly made up the "Reagan Democrats." This majority's geographic base will be the "ideopolises" large metropolitan areas linked by technology cities and suburbs. The authors conclude that despite the events of September 11, 2001, assumed to have enhanced President Bush's popularity, a Democratic majority is soon to emerge when a presidential candidate synthesizes the aforementioned groups, who share similar Democratic economic and social interests. A thoughtful and well-argued book; recommended for all public libraries. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First edition (August 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743226917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743226912
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time somebody said so! September 1, 2002
With George W. Bush riding high in the opinion polls (for the moment, at least) and the Democrats struggling to establish a solid majority in either house of Congress this fall, the title of this book alone is likely to make some Republicans write it off as wishful thinking. They do so at their own peril. Just as the Democrats' 1964 across-the-board landslide proved to be the beginning of the end of the New Deal coalition, Judis and Teixeira argue that George W. Bush's (near-) victory and the narrow survival of the Republican majority in Congress in 2000 will soon be recognized as the last gasp of 1980s laissez-faire conservatism. Of course, partisans of all stripes love to believe that such a watershed in their favor is always just around the bend, but Judis and Teixeira do make a remarkably solid, evenhanded case for their prediction.

The many analogies they draw between the 1960s and the current political climate are probably self-evident to most political junkies already. In both eras, the party in power overestimated its own popularity and the durability of its voting base, and suffered from a growing rift between moderates and those on the far left or right within its ranks. Much as Watergate provided the Democrats with a brief respite from their impending years in the wilderness, the Clinton scandals and Al Gore's somewhat inept response to them have enabled the Republicans to remain in power beyond the scope of their current voting base.

Judis and Teixeira argue that that base has already been showing signs of fragmentation for a decade and will inevitably continue to do so; and they provide a detailed demographic and geographical analysis for their argument. As the Republicans continue to alienate most minority groups, the Democrats' already significant advantage among nonwhite voters will only improve (a process that has been exacerbated rather than eased by the Bush administration's response to September 11, they argue). Among whites, the longstanding Republican advantage is past its peak and began to crack as early as 1992. Judis and Teixeira predict that in the coming decade, these trends have the potential to leave the Republicans with a hardcore support base on the all-important Electoral College map nearly as small as that held by the Democrats in the 1980s, concentrated in the Deep South and upper Rockies. Judis and Teixeira provide predictions for all 50 states, ranging from thumbnail sketches to pages-long analyses depending on the size and degree of change in each state. Although no one is likely to agree with all of their predictions (I don't), the breadth and detail of the study is fascinating regardless of your political allegiance.

Although the authors' political persuasion is unmistakable, there is very little analysis of issues to be found in the book. Instead, they stick to analyzing the parties' respective positions on the hottest issues of the era. Their bluntness in addressing the mistakes and cynical moves of both parties in the past 30 years is likely to offend people of both extremes. But for the more moderate among us, it's a breath of fresh air to read in the same place that, yes, the Republicans did build their majority on appeals to racism, misogyny and homophobia and, yes, the far left can in fact be hypersensitive and intolerant in its own way. Again, anyone with an opinion (again, including myself) is likely to disagree with their characterizations at some point, and it could also be argued that they distort the realities of the 2000 political landscape and overstate the excesses of the post-60s Left in order to better fit their argument. But overall, it is a solidly grounded argument, and Judis and Teixeira do acknowledge four common Republican counterarguments and make a solid case against each of them.

Inevitably, most readers will either want to believe this book before reading it, or hope it's wrong and refuse to be swayed as a result. But either way, it's a formidable and well- supported thesis. I look forward to re-reading it in a few years to see how many of the predictions prove true.

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56 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and complete with numbers! September 1, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
With a great deal of insight and nearly zero partisan rhetoric, Judis and Teixeira (how DO you pronounce that?) offer an easy to read political primer about how social and economic cycles fit in with political cycles. Many political events that were mysterious to me were clearly explained, drawing on historical precedent right up through Election 2000. I found myself convinced that the authors know what is going to happen next in American politics.

The conclusion: the Democratic party will emerge as a new majority by the end of the decade. The Republicans may or may not retain the House this year, and GWB may or may not win re-election in 2004. The authors don't pretend to be fortune tellers; instead they chart trends based on comprehensive analysis.

The text backs up its logic with lots of figures, sometimes charted. Part of the book goes state by state for key states and regions, sometimes down to the county level to show what has been (and will be) happening. Each and every explanation made sense to me, without being too tedious to follow.

The only negative thing I can say is to echo something Joe Conason mentioned in Salon. The authors completely ignore the mainstream media bias against Gore in Election 2000. However, since that really isn't the topic of this book it doesn't take away from the five stars I give it.

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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Democrats are Returning" January 4, 2003
This was a GREAT book if you wanted to learn about political trends over the last 50 years. I often wondered why African Americans voted some Democratic in such high numbers? This book (and others I have read since) discusses how the South turned Republican when politicians such as Barry Goldwater turned against the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act of the 1960's. That is when blacks moved in the Democratic aisle. Ronald Reagan effectively used those racial politics to win the South in the 1980's. Keep in mind the recent comments of former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Remember, Lott also made similiar comments when Reagan began his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Get this book. This is a fun and delightful book for all political persuasions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but predicted the future
Of great decline in republican party as evidenced by recent elections, particularly the POTUS. If repubs don't adapt, book predicts they will vanish, much like Whigs became... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patrick Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Beating The Future By Ten Years
Before I read "The Emerging Democratic Majority", i had mixed feelings about the content I would soon read. Read more
Published on February 10, 2011 by TonyG
5.0 out of 5 stars In retrospect
After reading all of the pre-2008 posts giving multiple reasons why the authors of The Emerging Democratic Majority were wrong, it's telling that they couldn't have been more... Read more
Published on July 20, 2009 by Jaynee Doe
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
When I read this in 2007 I thought that the thesis of the book was fallacious, especially since it was written and released before the Kerry/ Bush election in 2004 and Kerry lost. Read more
Published on June 28, 2009 by lawguy20
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot On Considering How The 2008 Election Is Playing Out
Given the fact that we are two days away from the 2008 Presidential election and the trends predicted in The Emerging Democratic Majority appear to be taking hold in 2008 just as... Read more
Published on November 2, 2008 by JohnyC
3.0 out of 5 stars The CNN of political predictions
This book is like channel CNN: it presents solid facts and poll numbers but like CNN you just can't help but feel the liberal leaning come ringing through after they start off so... Read more
Published on July 18, 2005 by Knicksfan34
5.0 out of 5 stars The Authors have a point, but they miss the larger picture
The Emerging Democratic Majority is a nice read for a liberal, but it is extremely optimistic. The authors, though right in many instances in their thesis, have series problems... Read more
Published on May 28, 2005 by Economist
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Inhale Judis & Teixeira
It is often said that demography is destiny. Back in 2001, two prominent Democratic authors, John Judis and Roy Teixeira, wrote a book called The Emerging Democratic Majority. Read more
Published on March 2, 2005 by Joseph E. Toomey
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope springs eternal...
I read this book the summer before the 2004 elections. I found it an interesting read, there are a lot of statistics that one has to believe. Read more
Published on December 28, 2004 by Martin Andrade
1.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally Flawed
The premise of this book, that because the minorities that tend to vote Democratic are currently growing while the caucasian population is remaning static indicates a rising... Read more
Published on December 15, 2004 by Aaron Hall
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