POLITICS
11/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Could This Year Be The Start Of A Democratic Era?

For a decade, Democrats have heard promises that a durable electoral majority was just around the corner. It's easy to construct such a majority on paper: Racial minorities and young voters (those born after 1978) turn out at record levels, working-class whites suppress their socially conservative leanings to vote their pocketbooks, and suburban professionals and their spouses vote together as unified blue households. Such a coalition could obliterate the aging, white, male, socially conservative Republican base that has dominated American politics for most of the past three decades.

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With Barack Obama as their presidential candidate and Howard Dean as party chief, and with widespread revulsion toward the Republican Party, many Democrats believe all the forces are finally in place to unleash this long-awaited majority. If it happens, and if the majority holds through subsequent congressional and presidential elections, it will represent a historic transformation comparable to the moment when Franklin D. Roosevelt at last unleashed the potential majority made up of farmers, city-dwellers, and first- and second-generation immigrants to end the Republican hegemony that had prevailed since 1896. Has that moment arrived?

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