How long have I been saying this? No one ever listens:
In the months since the 2012 elections it has become apparent that the victorious Democratic coalition Obama assembled is still not sufficiently large to overcome the unprecedented Republican obstruction and sabotage of the normal processes of American political life.
Although long-term demographic trends, such as the increase in minority voters and the rise of the Millennial generation, are favorable for the Democrats, translating those trends into true political and electoral dominance will remain difficult so long as Democrats rely on simply turning out core Obama coalition voters. Their margins will be too thin and subject to backlash, especially below the Presidential level.
To create a stable Democratic majority, Democrats need to win the support of a significant group of voters who are now part of the Republican coalition. As the 2012 elections demonstrated, the group that has perhaps the greatest potential in this regard is the white working class.
Consider the following:
First, in terms of sheer size, even at 36 percent of voters (and that is the exit poll figure—the Census data indicate a share about 8 points higher), the white working class remains one of the biggest sociologically distinct demographic groups that is now heavily part of the Red State/GOP coalition.
Second, a significant number of white working class voters have historic ties with the Democrats—even among those who currently vote Republican. Some have personal memories and others family traditions of past Democratic voting. No comparable connection or previous ideological affinity exists with today’s upper income or other Republican voters.
As a result, on both the positive side and on the negative side, the white working class has the potential to be a—if not the—decisive swing voter group for the future.