A Democratic Wave in 2016?

Writing in the Washington Post Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg predicts sweeping victories for Democrats in the 2016 elections:

The United States is being transformed by revolutions remaking the country at an accelerating and surprising pace. Witness the revolutions in technology, the Internet, big data and energy, though just as important are the tremendous changes taking place in immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the family, religious observance and gender roles. These are reaching their apexes in the booming metropolitan centers and among millennials.

As the revolutions interact, they are accelerating the emergence of a new America. Consider that nearly 40 percent of New York City’s residents are foreign-born, with Chinese the second-largest group behind Dominicans. The foreign-born make up nearly 40 percent of Los Angeles’s residents and 58 percent of Miami’s. A majority of U.S. households are headed by unmarried people, and, in cities, 40 percent of households include only a single person. Church attendance is in decline, and non-religious seculars now outnumber mainline Protestants. Three-quarters of working-age women are in the labor force, and two-thirds of women are the breadwinners or co-breadwinners of their households. The proportion of racial minorities is approaching 40 percent, but blowing up all projections are the 15 percent of new marriages that are interracial. People are moving from the suburbs to the cities. And in the past five years, two-thirds of millennial college graduates have settled in the 50 largest cities, transforming them.

Shifting attitudes were underscored in this year’s Gallup Poll when 60 to 70 percent of the country said gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between an unmarried man and woman, and divorce are all “morally acceptable.”

The United States is emerging out of its revolutions as racially blended, immigrant, multinational and multilingual — and diversity is becoming more central to our multicultural identity.

Further, these revolutionary transformations have accelerated the growth of a new majority coalition of racial minorities, single women, millennials and seculars. Together, these groups formed 51 percent of the electorate in 2012, but our analysis of census survey data and exit poll projections indicates that they will comprise fully 63 percent in 2016. With these growing groups each supporting Hillary Clinton by more than 2 to 1 in today’s polls, it is fair to say that the United States has reached an electoral tipping point.

The Republican Party’s battle to defeat this new majority has reached a tipping point, too. The brand of the Republican Party today has probably not been as tarnished since the Watergate era.

He may be right but, frankly, I doubt it. Many of the trends he points to are real but I think they’ll mean more for the 2020 elections than they do for the 2016. The results don’t depend on opinion polls take of all Americans, eligible voters, registered voters, or even likely voters but upon the people who actually show up at the polls and vote. This seems to be my day for multiple choice. Will the 2016 elections be

  1. a wave election for Democrats in which Democrats take the White House, the Senate, and the House.
  2. an election in which the Democrats take the White House and, narrowly, the Senate.
  3. an election in which the Democrats take the White House, leaving the Senate and the House with Republican majorities.
  4. an election in which Republicans take the White House, lose the Senate, and retain the House.
  5. an election in which the Republicans take the White House and strengthen their majorities in both houses of Congress.
  6. remarkable only in their banality.

I’m tempted to weasel out by saying that it’s too early to tell the outcome of the 2016 elections at this point—come back and ask me when there’s an actual Republican candidate.

If forced to choose, I’d say that even with the billions in in-kind contributions she’s likely to receive, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate presumptive, will be unable to achieve the turnout that Barack Obama did in 2008 or even that President Obama did in 2012. I think that B-D are more likely than A or E. The fundamentals of presidential elections disfavor the Democratic candidate; the fundamentals of Senate elections favor the Democrats. That leaves B or D. I’ll reluctantly go with B but only because right now it looks as though whoever the Republican candidate will be, he will be ghastly.

Keep in mind that 80% of life is showing up.

17 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    At this point, C.

    There are five competitive seats held by Republicans: FL; IL; NH; PA & WI. The Democrats would need to take all five to get a majority, while retaining Reid’s seat in Nevada. They may only need to tie the Senate, but right now I think local conditions will determine these seats, and it may be essentially a series of five or six coin tosses.

  • You may be right, PD. As things stand right now, there will be a serious Democratic primary battle for the Senate seat. The party bosses seem to be lining up behind Zopp rather than Duckworth. For some reason they can’t support an Asian female who’s also a disabled veteran.

    That may enable Kirk to hold onto that seat which would eliminate Democratic control of the Senate.

  • ... Link

    I can’t speak to the other races, but in Florida the Dems seem very confident that they’ll win, and the Republicans are very scared they’ll lose. It’s a fight, but that’s a bit of a surprise after 2010 and 2014.

    Unless, of course, one has realized that minorities forget to vote in off-years, and that Florida is more and more minority every day. Peurto Rico is moving here en masse, for one thing. Add the increasing number of immigrants, and the picture is clear.

    Maybe not this Presidential election, but at 2024 by the very latest Florida will be as safely blue as NY or California.

  • ... Link

    Miss-typed a tag, sorry.

  • Guarneri Link

    Perhaps Mr Greenberg is unaware of Mr Trump and his signature issue. Of course Mr Trumps current popularity may be due to his sweet disposition, even temperament, political experience or even his hair.

  • ... Link

    Drew, I firmly feel that a part of the appeal of Trump & Carson is that they haven’t lied to voters repeatedly. Contrast that to any Republican Senator (who all solemnly swore that a Republican Senate would oppose Obama), or any of the other Republican Establishment types, who can’t even distance themselves from their lies because they keep perpetrating them over and over again.

    Trump & Carson have their problems, but they haven’t repeatedly raped their own voters and then told the voters its their own fault.

  • TastyBits Link

    President Obama was elected by a specific group of voters, and some of those voters are no longer in that specific group. It is likely that the younger voters who replace them will revert to their traditional patterns.

    (The polling places are not a safe space and micro-aggressions abound. At any minute an old white male of European heritage may start to use Western-centric logic he learned from intolerant, hate-filled Jesuit religious freaks. The horror, the horror.)

    As to the choices, I do not care. It is a freak show, and if my girl* is not going to win, I would like to see President Sanders for the fun of it. The would have to have a special presidential spit guard for him, but it would be the best for years.

    *Nicki (Ms. Minaj to the rest of you.)

  • PD Shaw Link

    I looked at coat-tail effects for Senate races in Presidential years, and found that since 1948, there have been 17 elections:

    7 elections that the President-elect’s party gained seats (avg. 6.00)
    7 elections that the President-elect’s party lost seats (avg. 2.00)
    3 elections there was no change.

    Totals for all 17 elections:
    Range: +12 to -4
    Mean: +4
    Median: 0
    Mode: -2

    Really, there are three elections that are the source of the high average of Senate seat gains: 1948; 1980 & 2008.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Looking at this data in the context of what are effectively a party’s third Presidential term, the results are:

    1952: +2
    1960: +1
    1968: -5
    1976: 0
    1988: -1
    2000: +4
    2008: -8

    I don’t that I can make anything out of these figures, in six out of seven of these general elections the incumbent President’s party lost, but in the one year he won, his party lost one seat. Arguably I should include 1948 ((+9) Truman elected to continue 16 years of Democratic Presidents) and 1992 (zero) Bush fails to be re-elected to continue 12 years of Republican Presidents).

  • PD Shaw Link

    effectively a party’s _seeking a_ third Presidential term

  • Guarneri Link

    You may be correct, ice, but I think the immigration issue resonates, especially with a broke and highly unemployed/underemployed country like us.

    Greece now reporting that one of the Paris terrorists (and so that will eventually mean all of them) was a “refugee” from Syria won’t help matters in the eyes of voters. It looks like the ISIS J-V team is capable of blowing away people 150-200 at a time and is not so contained…………..

  • steve Link

    D or E. I actually expect the GOP to take the WH but don’t expect much to change in Congress. Hard to keep the office 3 years in a row. Just shouldn’t happen unless economic conditions are very good. That said, it is possible they blow it by nominating one of the clowns. Those guys are as uninformed as Drew. Tax cuts for the wealthy anyone? Any other country we want to invade and be treated as liberators? The war will pay for itself (maybe $50 billion, $100 billion tops anyway).


  • jan Link

    Do people really mull over election choices, outside of their own party choices or the context of their own ideology?

    It seems to me few are capable of this.

    That’s why, IMO, there is so little criticism of the current president’s actions/inactions/failed policies from his party loyalists, as they heap most of their criticism, regarding the problems plaguing us today, on the closest republican in the presidential timeline — GWB. It’s like this republican ex-president has hovered in the Oval Office with Obama all these years as a political scapegoat to anything and everything that has gone askew or hasn’t produced the intended outcomes promised by this president.

    The most egregious, IMO, of this president’s pattern of passing blame backwards, was how Iraq (and the entire ME) has imploded during his term in office. When he flamboyantly removed all the troops (against the advice of advisers), Biden was initially touting that Iraq’s stability would be one of his bosses greatest legacies. When it went south, Iraq’s post-war legacy was once again thrown into GWB’s failures-of-leadership zone.

    Fundamentally, evolving policies/positions/Constitutional interpretation, as well as accountability has been continuing features of Obama’s presidency. The fact that so many dems appear to unquestioningly support the perspective, rationales, and even scummy actions coming out of the current WH (including HRC’s inept, corrupt time as SOS) unfortunately seem to be the “tea leaves” of what will happen in 2016 — people will elect the same party (democrats) in the hopes of achieving different results. Consequently, I think #B or C will probably be the most probable outcome of next year’s elections.

  • ... Link

    Oh, I didn’t mean to diminish the impact of immigration. It is Trump’s primary appeal, and it’s the reason he’s the front runner. But that doesn’t explain Carson.

    As for Paris, we will see. I’ve heard several bits – Syrian passports, Egyptian passports, fingerprints of a French national. All is nebulous at this point.

    Have you heard of train derailment?

  • steve Link

    “When it went south, Iraq’s post-war legacy was once again thrown into GWB’s failures-of-leadership zone.”

    Again, it was Bush’s team that negotiated our leaving. They did that while we were still in a position of relative strength, and that was the best they could do. If we had wanted to stay we would have had to give up immunity for our troops. That was the offer the Iraqis made to us when Obama was in office. No way we take that offer. So, while some blame Bush for the decision to leave, and he was responsible for the team that made the deal, I also think that was the best they could do. The Iraqis also had a voice in the deal. They wanted us out.

    Which, BTW, was the correct decision. Unless the US is willing to commit lots of troops for dozens of years we have zero chance of changing Iraq positively. With that kind of commitment, we might have a 5% chance. (Stop and think about this. You guys believe government can’t fix health care, but you think the same government can go into a foreign country and turn it into Sweden in a few years. Bizarre.)


  • mike shupp Link

    In descending likelihood. C, B, and E.

    If enough Republicans turn out to gain the White House for their party, strong performances in Senate and House races are inevitable. Thus (E). Other hand, I expect most voters to find HRC preferable to any of the current Republican candidates, without being wildly enthusiastic about her. So (C) — lack luster success for Democrats.

    Gosh. Wow. Gee. I’m. So. Excited.

  • jan Link

    “Again, it was Bush’s team that negotiated our leaving. “

    True, Bush negotiated the SOFA that was ultimately exercised in 2011. However, it was made with a stern and open caveat that it was the next POTUS’s job to attend to this agreement and renegotiate it if need be. Obama, though, let his oversight of Iraq wither and slide, as he did with any genuine attempts to renegotiate the agreement, even in lieu of his national security advisers advising him differently. This has been stated many times. But, libs are tone deaf and just want to lay SOFA accountability on previous leaders, leaving the current one “dirt-free.”

    “I expect most voters to find HRC preferable to any of the current Republican candidates,”

    Yeah, the dems would prefer a multi million dollar capitalist (even though they screamed at Romney for being one), a liar and con-woman (lack of equal pay for her own female employees, email obfuscations/discrepancies, Benghazi deception, financial conflicts between Clinton Foundation and duties as SOS), a policy chameleon on almost everything (from SSM, Keystone, TPP, Iraq, criminal justice system, driver’s licenses for illegals, ethanol inconsistencies). And, then there is that horrid laugh that the dems want everyone to endure. A preferable candidate???? Check again…..

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