Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I want to add another observation about that joy: it was a joy shared among widely diverse Americans. The Grant Park crowd was one of the most diverse crowds I have ever seen, from all demographic perspectives. On the way to the party we passed a Young Republican event. It was perfectly white and 85% male.
Barack took 95% of the Black vote; 66% of the Hispanic vote; 56% percent of the female vote; 69% of new voters; and 66% of voters 18-29. That adds up to a historic coalition that could prove durable for many election cycles yet to come. Indeed, the one age group McCain won was voters over 65. (USA Today, p. 4a).
So, I think I saw the political future in Grant Park last night, not just the winning coalition for 2008. The era of taking minorities for granted in the Democratic Party must be over, and the key to political success going forward will lay in mobilizing and energizing diversity in America. Barack won NM, CO, FL, and NV. He gave McCain a run for his money in AZ. Kerry lost every one of these states in 2004. Each of these states has large numbers of minority voters, especially hispanic voters.
The central lesson of this election is the political power of diversity. The economic crisis simply allowed this lesson to become manifest in 2008. Assuming this administration outperforms the Bush Administration, I believe Obama has forged a new Democratic coalition, founded upon energized diverse communities.