Demographics and my Pre-Mortem
By Arnold Kling
In response to Bryan’s pre-gloat, some commenters seem to suggest that demographics are over-rated as an electoral force. You might want to look at Red States and Blue Cities. William Easterly comments,
We now see that there are really no Blue States, there are only Blue Cities. The rural blue areas are mostly reflecting concentrations of blacks (South), Hispanics (Southwest), or native Americans (West), along with the remaining 11 rural white people voting Democratic somewhere in West Virginia. Otherwise, if you see a patch of blue, it’s probably a lake.
If the median voter of the future is going to be more urban and less white, I don’t see what the Republicans are doing to move in the direction of the median voter.
I still think that the 2010 election will turn out to be an outlier relative to the trend line. I think that if President Obama had not appointed Tim Geithner and re-appointed Ben Bernanke, he could have positioned himself and his party as reluctant participants in the bailout. Instead, with Geithner and Bernanke, Obama made the bailouts and the Democrats inseparable. ,
Take away those appointments, and the whole dynamic of this election could be different. The public is saying, “We hate the bailouts.” The Democrats are stuck saying, “You are stupid and irrational.” Without Geithner and Bernanke, they could be saying, “You’re right. We wanted something totally different.”
Of course, I think the Democrats really believe in TARP, and in that sense they may deserve to be tied to the bailouts. When I met a Congressperson for the first time in my life, it was a few days before the first TARP vote, and some Cato folks brought me along. It was a Republican Congresswoman. I argued hysterically against TARP, and one of my points was that this level of government control over the financial system was “The Democrats’ wet dream.”
She voted for TARP. In some weird sense, TARP was a trap for the Democratic Party.