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United States Politics

The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties 609

HughPickens.com writes: Daniel McGraw writes that based on their demographic characteristics the Democratic and Republican parties face two very different futures. There's been much written about how millennials are becoming a reliable voting bloc for Democrats, but there's been much less attention paid to one of the biggest get-out-the-vote challenges for the Republican Party heading into the next presidential election: The Republican Party voter is old—and getting older and far more Republicans than Democrats have died since the 2012 elections. By combining presidential election exit polls with mortality rates per age group from the U.S. Census Bureau, McGraw calculated that, of the 61 million who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, about 2.75 million will be dead by the 2016 election. About 2.3 million of President Barack Obama's voters have died too but that leaves a big gap in between, a difference of roughly 453,000 in favor of the Democrats. "I've never seen anyone doing any studies on how many dead people can't vote," laughs William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in demographic studies. "I've seen studies on how many dead people do vote. The old Daley Administration in Chicago was very good at that."

Frey points out that, since Republicans are getting whiter and older, replacing the voters that leave this earth with young ones is essential for them to be competitive in presidential elections. "Millennials (born 1981 to 1997) now are larger in numbers than baby boomers ([born] 1946 to 1964), and how they vote will make the big difference. And the data says that if Republicans focus on economic issues and stay away from social ones like gay marriage, they can make serious inroads with millennials." Exit polling indicates that millennials have split about 65-35 in favor of the Dems in the past two elections. If that split holds true in 2016, Democrats will have picked up a two million vote advantage among first-time voters. These numbers combined with the voter death data puts Republicans at an almost 2.5 million voter disadvantage going into 2016.
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The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

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  • by Aaron_Pike ( 528044 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:18AM (#49724873) Homepage

    It boggles my mind, the extent to which U.S. culture only sees two different possibilities. It makes me want to take up smoking and jogging just to see if anyone's ears start bleeding.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:22AM (#49724897)
      Agreed... I was born and raised republican, but left the party a long time ago. I'd have become a democrat if the democratic party were anything like it was during the JFK years. Glad there's more choices, and no, I don't feel like I'm throwing my vote away.
      • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:31AM (#49724921)

        I was born and raised republican

        Interesting. My parents never talked politics. They never mentioned who they were voting for. Or even IF they were voting.

        Come to that, I have no idea at all who my siblings vote for now, or even if they vote.

        And I'm none too sure who my wife and child vote for, or if they vote....

      • by Enry ( 630 )

        You mean jack income tax rates up to 90%? Half kidding, but I'm curious what you see about the differences between Democrats now vs. JFK era.

        • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:09AM (#49725153)

          A modern JFK would be labeled pro-war; the party would complain about wasteful spending trying to outdo Russians; JFK was more conservative than most conservatives are today - and yet not ultra religious, racist, and bigoted the way most republicans come off (whether they are or not). JFK was for a stronger economy and realized that you needed successful businesses to do it.

        • You mean jack income tax rates up to 90%? Half kidding, but I'm curious what you see about the differences between Democrats now vs. JFK era.

          IIRC the 90% marginal rate was under Eisenhower. And I'd be all for returning to that!

      • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by conquistadorst ( 2759585 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:38AM (#49724965)
        I'd be curious to see if the population of disillusioned independents is growing faster as well. I'd speculate most of them would be categorized as "moderates" which is a species rapidly disappearing, sadly from both political factions. I for one count myself among them, both parties have developed fundamental show stoppers that make it impossible for me to vote for either candidate in presidential elections. I don't at all consider my vote "thrown away". A vote for a 3rd party is a vote against both, it still counts and enough of them should garner attention for more moderates eventually.
        • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:11AM (#49725165)
          Yes - the problem with ubiquitous media and the ability for parties and pundits to use social networking is that they concentrate on dividing us when, in fact, the parties are more alike than not. They pick their single issues they can use to "motivate their bases," things that really have had no consequence in the last forty years (like the abortion "debate").
          • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:27AM (#49725321)
            I'm glad you think that the abortion issue hasn't changed in the last 40 years. You must not be female and must not be paying any attention. Many states have made changes that have made abortion difficult to get. For example there have been laws that closed all but ONE clinic in one state, others that required "vaginal probing" with some sort of ultra sound stick along with requiring the Dr. to lie to patients, and several that have banned abortion after 20 weeks. There has been a lot of change in the last 40 years in this area - most of it driven by the religious zealot arm of the Republican party and of course mostly in the south.
            • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:4, Informative)

              by theArtificial ( 613980 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @02:53PM (#49728501)
              Ultimately they remain not difficult to get otherwise the poorest wouldn't get them in such high numbers. There are much better questions to be asking, let's add some facts into the discussion, shall we? In a nutshell this seems to be a poor issue, in a country that struggles with contraceptive use. Blacks are over represented. For those with an agenda this is an empowerment struggle (her body, her choice etc.). I've also noticed when it isn't wanted it's a bunch of cells, when it's wanted it's a baby (women crying over a miscarriage). Source with nice graphs [guttmacher.org]. At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and at 2008 abortion rates, one in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in 10 by age 45.

              Eighteen percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are teenagers; those aged 15–17 obtain 6% of all abortions, 18–19-year-olds obtain 11%, and teens younger than 15 obtain 0.4%.

              Women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions: Women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and women aged 25–29 obtain 24%.

              Non-Hispanic white women account for 36% of abortions, non-Hispanic black women for 30%, Hispanic women for 25% and women of other races for 9%

              Women who have never married and are not cohabiting account for 45% of all abortions.

              About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.

              Forty-two percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830 for a single woman with no children).

              Twenty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes between 100–199% of the federal poverty level.

              The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

              Fifty-one percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method in the month they got pregnant, most commonly condoms (27%) or a hormonal method (17%)

              The number of U.S. abortion providers declined 4% between 2008 (1,793) and 2011 (1,720). The number of clinics providing abortion services declined 1%, from 851 to 839. Eighty-nine percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion clinic in 2011; 38% of women live in those counties.

              Forty-six percent of abortion providers offer very early abortions (before the first missed period) and 95% offer abortion at eight weeks from the last menstrual period. Sixty-one percent offer at least some second-trimester abortion services (13 weeks or later), and 34% offer abortion at 20 weeks. Only 16% of all abortion providers offer abortions at 24 weeks.

              In 2011-2012, the average amount paid for a nonhospital abortion with local anesthesia at 10 weeks’ gestation was $480. The average amount paid for an early medication abortion before 10 weeks was $504.

              Eighty-four percent of clinics experienced at least one form of antiabortion harassment in 2011. Picketing is the most common form of harassment clinics are exposed to (80%) followed by phone calls (47%). Fifty-three percent of clinics were picketed 20 times or more.
        • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @10:01AM (#49725559)
          Most people I know (I'm in my early 30's) have grown utterly disgusted with both Republicans and Democrats and are now more-or-less libertarians. I think it's a trend that will grow as more and more people realize that both Republicans and Democrats have utter contempt for civil rights and personal choice.
          • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @10:12AM (#49725647)

            One can only hope. But we face the long hard task of the individualistic libertarians out there coming together in large enough numbers to begin to make a difference.

            The irony is that the one thing too many of the Republicans and Democrats agree on is that the citizens have too much liberty.

            I do sense a growing swell of "leave us the fuck alone" coming from the citizenry in many aspects of life. It is a message neither the Dems or Reps will acknowledge.

            Perhaps libertarians can rise, but I worry it won't happen.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tburkhol ( 121842 )

            Most people I know (I'm in my early 30's) have grown utterly disgusted with both Republicans and Democrats and are now more-or-less libertarians. I think it's a trend that will grow as more and more people realize that both Republicans and Democrats have utter contempt for civil rights and personal choice.

            I think this is because political parties in the US have subsumed stereotypical family roles. Democrats prefer a nanny state that keeps close watch on citizens and protects them from their own bad judgement. Republicans prefer a papa state that keeps close watch on citizens and punishes them for bad judgement. Then there's a bunch of people who don't really think anyone has any business telling them how to live their life, so long as they're not hurting anyone else.

          • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @12:02PM (#49726725) Journal

            Most people I know (I'm in my early 30's) have grown utterly disgusted with both Republicans and Democrats and are now more-or-less libertarians. I think it's a trend that will grow as more and more people realize that both Republicans and Democrats have utter contempt for civil rights and personal choice.

            And how precisely would libertarians defend civil rights and personal choice, other than for those with the most money and power who would be free to shit over everyone else without any checks or balances?

            Don't forget, "most people" aren't going to be in the top 1% (or 0.1%).

          • Libertarians (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @01:22PM (#49727541)
            Libertarian is just short hand for 'Bring on the post-apocalyptic waste-land. I'm tired of paying taxes and I have enough weaponry to impose my will on others.'
          • Most people I know (I'm in my early 30's) have grown utterly disgusted with both Republicans and Democrats and are now more-or-less libertarians.

            I'm guessing you don't know many people then. I think most of us know some people who have a libertarian philosophy (fair number here on slashdot) though frequently they seem to be republicans or tea party supporters. But they definitely are a minority. Usually I see them in the Ayn Rand worshiping or Tea Party strains though there are others. Most people regardless of age group think libertarianism is a bit of a fringe philosophy including most independents.

            I think it's a trend that will grow as more and more people realize that both Republicans and Democrats have utter contempt for civil rights and personal choice.

            Unlikely. There is no evidence I can see of

          • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @01:59PM (#49727917)

            I don't think it's limited to those of your age. I"m about twice your age and I feel that both the Democratic and Republican parties have pretty much become an organization that feeds itself and no longer represents those who elected them.

            Both seem to be war mongers (it's not as if Obama has gotten us out of Afghanistan). They both seem to perpetuate the military/industrial complex.

            Remember, it was Kennedy that escalated the US presence in Vietnam. Ironically, it was Nixon who got us out of that war, only because the general population was fed up with all of our young being killed in a "no win" war.

            The Dems seem to be nanny folks, union supporters and those bent on giving out welfare way too easy.

            Repubs are religious right wingnuts. They are stuck way back in time with their "values".

            I'm hoping that we all get frustrated enough to precipitate a viable third party candidate but the deck seems to be bent in the directing of only giving us two choices.

            A perfect example of the failure of the system was the California Senate candidates being a choice between Barbara Boxer (yuk) and Carly Fiorina (yuk).

            Some choice that is.

        • As a small-government fiscal conservative who doesn't give a rat's ass about social conservative issues (e.g. a libertarian), I know I, and many like me, are waiting for the old/religious right/social conservatives to die off. I think that when that happens, there will be a big influx of non-socialist Democrat voters to our side.
      • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:02AM (#49725107)

        I'd become a REPUBLICAN if the Republican party were anything like it was in the JFK years. There were Hawks and there were Doves, but they weren't exclusively in one party or the other, and outside of their opposing views on war and expansionism, they could be civil to each other. It was only the Cold War and Nuclear Armageddon, not like the very foundations of the Universe were at stake.

        Now everything's a pledge and a "litmus test" and the loonies run the asylum.

        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          I can't mod you up, so I just wanted to say those are good points.... except they weren't really all that civil (but they were more so than today, perhaps).
        • I'd become a REPUBLICAN if the Republican party were anything like it was in the JFK years.

          That would involve kicking out all the Dixiecrats that were part of the Democratic party back then but left due to civil rights and joined the Republicans under Nixon and Reagan.

      • You can say you don't feel like it all you want, it's not going to change Duverger's Law. Math doesn't give a damn if you "feel" like you're not wasting your vote.

      • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by whitroth ( 9367 ) <whitroth.5-cent@us> on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @12:49PM (#49727199) Homepage

        Not surprised. I've met other former Republicans who say the GOP has moved so far to the right it's left them behind.* Meanwhile, I'm *really* tired that the last two Dems I voted for President who won are both Eisenhower Republicans.

        At least for now, I have someone to vote for who's not "the least worst".

                                mark

        ---
        Bernie Sanders for President!

    • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:32AM (#49725347)

      Welcome to the US where everything is given as two artificial choices. Seriously... I was approached a couple of days ago and asked if I believe laws should be based on the Bible? When I said no the person quickly accused me of wanting a "muslim theocracy (his words)". I guess the current constitutional republic wasn't one of the two choices he considered for his argument.

      I'm not big supporter of either party. I'm like most of the US and just vote for the lesser of the two evils.

      • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @12:20PM (#49726897) Journal

        “It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

        "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

        "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

        "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

        "I did," said Ford. "It is."

        "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"

        "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

        "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

        "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

        "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

        "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

    • Re:Only Two Futures? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Megane ( 129182 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @10:44AM (#49725919) Homepage

      One big reason for this is the Electoral College [wikipedia.org] system for electing the US President. If, say, one party had 40%, and there were two parties with a similar platform splitting the remaining 60%, the minority platform will win.

      In the 1912 election, Teddy Roosevelt running as the Bull Moose party [wikipedia.org] candidate managed to beat the Republican candidate Taft, and Woodrow Wilson won with 42% of the popular vote. He also got 88 electoral votes to Taft's 8.

      In the 1992 election, H. Ross Perot [wikipedia.org] took 18.9% of the popular vote, but failed to get a single electoral vote, and probably didn't affect the election enough to be responsible for the loss by GHW Bush.

      At least it isn't as bad as the recent UK election, where UKIP had significant support in terms of individual voters, yet only ended up with two seats. In the US, senate and congressional elections require a 50% majority for a candidate to win. If the majority is not met, a run-off election with the two leading candidates determines the winner.

      • Part of the problem in the U.S. is that the Senate is just House 2.0 ever since they changed it to a popular vote.

        The Senate is supposed to represent the States, not the People:

        Article 1, Section 3: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

        Lots of bullshit happened in this country between 1900 and 1920 that strengthened the Federal government at the expense of the States, an
        • Unelected senators were the reason the senate was a bastion of corruption and pay for play politics. Returning the senate to such a state would NOT be an improvement. It would be just about the only action you could take right now that would make it worse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It boggles my mind, the extent to which U.S. culture only sees two different possibilities.

      That's only your myopia. Unlike European multi-party systems, where each party represents a political group, in the US, the two parties each represent a dynamic coalition of a wide variety of political groups. The equivalent of a "US party" is a European coalition government, not a European party. And Europe is just as binary that way: there is the coalition that's in power, and there is its opposition.

      I think the US

      • Even assuming you're correct, there's still a big difference: in US, those coalitions are largely static, and historical trends now show that each such "coalition" is more and more tightly knit and more separated from the other one. Indeed, in the most recent House elections, we have actually for the first time came to an arrangement in the House where the most conservative Democrat is to the left of the most liberal Republican.

        In Europe, OTOH, coalitions are dynamic, and only require pragmatic bargaining,

    • US has only two political parties and using football (America's sport) there can only be two teams. And like football, there are only a few who make all the moves (NFL and spectators). Like the political parties, football teams huddle to discuss the next play. Spectators have no idea what they are talking about and they have very little influence on the outcome of the play, all they can do is cheer or boo. Concept of additional political parties whether they be the Libertarians or the Greens is too mysterio
  • One Assumption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:21AM (#49724887)

    One assumption that this summary makes is that people do not switch party affiliations throughout their life. I used to be Republican, but have wised up as I've gotten older. However, I understand that typically as folks get older they tend to do the opposite of what I did (though I have no source to cite for this). Nonetheless, if true, it would mean that Republicans have nothing to fear from the changing demographics. Unless the article addresses this, the information presented is meaningless.

    • Re:One Assumption (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:36AM (#49724953) Homepage

      ...so you are expecting people who are not white and not evangelicals to suddenly and magically vote Republican then? Because they like to antagonize just about everyone else. It used to be that white middle aged males was their demographic but they can't safely depend on that anymore because times changed.

      The politics of their core demographic shifted.

      Meanwhile the party has doubled down on alienating people that don't quite fit the old mold but are pretty close to it.

      • Re:One Assumption (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:15AM (#49725211) Journal

        Exactly. The Tea Party and similar ultra conservative factions are forcing Republicans to keep fighting culture wars that the majority of American society has already moved past. That may win Republicans votes in Congressional and state level races, but in the long term it is unsustainable. Just look at a map of Obama's 2012 victory. The Democrats are making inroads in conservative states.

        The problem for.Republicans is that their own political machine is strangling them, forcing candidates on voters that voters are far less likely to vote for, or even if they do, are so noxious to voters elsewhere that it has the same effect.

        If the Republicans can't figure out a way to marganilize people like Ted Cruz and prevent them from grabbing the microphonez they're doomed.

        • It all comes down to the money. The Republicans can't marginalize their core conservative base because then they lose 80% of their money. What's worse, if they kick the tea party out of their caucus then that 80% of their money goes to fund competitors, leaving the grand old party much less old... but also much less grand.

          TFS is about right; if the Republicans focus solely on economic issues in an honest rather than ideological manner then they will shine with GenX as well as Millenials. A lot of the peo

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zobeid ( 314469 )

          Quote: "The Tea Party and similar ultra conservative factions are forcing Republicans to keep fighting culture wars. . ."

          The Tea Party has no position on cultural issues. The Tea Party has no position on gay marriage, or abortion, or immigration, or drug legalization. It's a one-issue group, just like the NRA is a one-issue group. The NRA's issue is guns. The Tea Party's issue is the national debt.

          I know, there are many in this world who will try to tell you different. Most of those are either liberals

          • Re:One Assumption (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @12:00PM (#49726711)

            The Tea Party has no position on cultural issues. The Tea Party has no position on gay marriage, or abortion, or immigration, or drug legalization. It's a one-issue group, just like the NRA is a one-issue group. The NRA's issue is guns. The Tea Party's issue is the national debt.

            http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/tea-party-leader-we-ll-take-the-debt-ceiling-hike-if-you-put-gay-troops-back-in-the-closet

          • The Tea Party's issue is the national debt.

            That's interesting, I thought it was "Taxed Enough Already."

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        That's true and not... unfortunately there are segments that alienate one group or another, and they are all republicans so it looks like all republicans feel that way. There's a huge generally libertarian sect of the republican party that doesn't care what color you are or who you're sleeping with... but they are a vocal minority and try to ignore the idiocy and vote for republicans on policy... but then get associated with the idiots.

        The democrats have segments, too, but have marketed themselves as the p

  • Gerrymandering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:23AM (#49724899) Homepage Journal

    These trends are not new. The sole reason there is a Republican majority in the House of Representatives is the massive gerrymandering that took place in the last decades. Democrats have consistently won the "popular" vote for the house, but districts are tactically set to favor Republicans almost across the board.

    The districts are this way because while Millennials do indeed skew heavily liberal/Democrat/progressive, they tend to NOT get involved in state and local politics. Republican governors and state legislatures used the last gasps of the dying generation to secure powerful gerrymandered districts ensuring the GOP holds onto the house, at least until the next census.

    An interesting side effect, however, is that these artificial superdistricts are such that the Republican is practically guaranteed to win it in the general election. Thus, far-right tea party nonsense candidates can appeal to their local base without much fear of throwing the actual election over to the Democrats. The safer these districts are for Republicans, the further right, racist, sexist, and old they'll skew for the foreseeable future.

    Until young people get active in local and state politics, then it literally is a game of just waiting for the current old set in those places to die of old age.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      Nonsense. Maybe Republicans have been more successful in gerrymandering, but both parties have engaged in this practice. That's why there are so many "reliable" Republican and Democrat seats.
      In certain places, you know for certain that the 'R' or 'D' candidate is going to win. Incumbents from both parties typically have a 90+% re-election rate.

      If Democrats are so much more popular, why aren't they able to maintain majorities and governorships in state governments and re-district to their own advantage?

      • Nonsense. Maybe Republicans have been more successful in gerrymandering, but both parties have engaged in this practice. That's why there are so many "reliable" Republican and Democrat seats.

        Indeed. For anyone interested in the overall trend, I'd encourage them to have a look at this report [amazonaws.com], which does not appear to be biased toward or against any particular party and makes use of a number of different measures of gerrymandering.

        After the 2010 census redistricting, they conclude the following regarding both parties' effects:

        The mean Polsby-Popper, Schwartzberg and Reock scores indicate that districts drawn with total GOP control have a higher compactness score than districts drawn with total Democratic control under those measures. States with split control fall in the middle. Nevertheless, districts with a political party in control remain less compact than the national average by every measure. . . . Using the convex hull measure shows a different story. Districts drawn by a split in control come out with a higher compactness score, with districts drawn by the GOP not far behind. Districts drawn by the Democratic Party are much less compact than either.

        While districts drawn by Republicans in this decennial redistricting process may be somewhat more compact than those drawn by Democrats, it is also clear that both parties appeared to take advantage of their situation and draw districts more favorable to their party's election. For example, Democrats took advantage in Maryland and Illinois while Republicans took advantage in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Republicans just had many more states, which may have buffered their average.

        In other words, Democrats controlled fewer state legislatures than Republicans, but where they did control them, they introduced even WORSE (i.e., "less compact") gerry

    • Look no further than California, Maryland, and Illinois. The 3rd District of MD [washingtonpost.com] is an absolute abomination. Hell, the term "gerrymandering" itself is named after Governor Gerry of Massachusetts who was lampooned for signing odd-shaped state senate districts into law. But yeah, fuck all of the Republicans in those deep blue states -- as long as your team wins, right?
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Both parties gerrymander whenever and wherever they can.

      Complaints about gerrymandering are really complaints that people in big cities have no control over how people in rural districts vote.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by argStyopa ( 232550 )

      Nice try, but Republicans have been the minority since they were a party. Your "they just gerrymandered" their way to success can't logically explain their regular ~50% success at the polls.

      Their success electorally has to do with the fact that they're generally (until the relatively-recent evangelical swarm) the party of grownups who have jobs & families, understand cause/effect, understand TAANSTAFL, and participate much more deliberately in the political process.

      This is not to assert - as you have -

  • by Enry ( 630 ) <enry @ w a y g a .net> on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:28AM (#49724915) Journal

    Just because dead people are registered to vote doesn't make it voter fraud (it makes it registration fraud, but that's completely different). Now, if you had dead people actually voting (setting IL aside), then you might have a problem. However, the linked article says:

    There's little evidence that this has led to widespread voter fraud, but it has raised concerns that the system is vulnerable.

    Using this as a basis for demanding IDs to vote is completely dishonest and disenfranchises far more people from voting than you'd catch or prevent at voter fraud. My town sends out a yearly census that you fill out and send back in. Verify your registration details, sign, and send back in (you can probably also deposit it by hand at town hall or fill out the forms there). Not filling it out implies they'll take you off the voter rolls, and seems to be a good compromise if there's no reply after a few years.

    • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:38AM (#49724961)

      Just because dead people are registered to vote doesn't make it voter fraud (it makes it registration fraud, but that's completely different). Now, if you had dead people actually voting (setting IL aside), then you might have a problem. However, the linked article says:

      The US State of Georgia debated a bill on how long a dead person should be allowed to vote. It was the first debate for a guy named Carter who was newly elected to the GA Senate. They settled on three years but I don't think they passed the bill.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:41AM (#49724973)

    It's been pretty much normal since FDR's day for young people to (tend to) vote Democrat and older people to (tend to) vote Republican.

    And yet the Republican Party hasn't disappeared. Probably because some of those young D's eventually grow up to be old R's.

    Note that the reasons for that transition are manifold, but I suspect largely a matter of the definition of "conservative" and "liberal" (which definitions have been shifting as time passes - what is "liberal" today will be "normal" tomorrow and "conservative" the day after).

    • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:08AM (#49725147)

      The conventional wisdom was that in your youth, you were a liberal and as you "wised up" (grew older/more cynical) you became conservative.

      The joker in the deck was that presently the younger generation is less vanilla than the older generation and the older generation isn't being very welcoming to people who aren't like them and never will be. So what used to be a pipeline from Democrat to Republican has developed a blockage and a lot of people are being squeezed out of the party pipes entirely.

      • The conventional wisdom is wrong. Well, not quite, but the obvious interpretation isn't accurate.

        When they did some polls recently on specific issues that are liberal or conservative, what they found is that people may swing a lot in their earlier years, but once their views solidify, they stay largely the same even as they grow older. In other words, someone who was pro-choice and supported same-sex marriage in 1995, when they were 20, will still support them in 2005 when they are 30, and in 2015 when they

  • Fox News (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:42AM (#49724983)

    Fox News, perhaps the greatest grassroots triumph of the Republican Party since Reagan left office, is starting to become a liability for the party. Sure, it's evening newscasts still trounce CNN and the others in the ratings, but everyone (including Republicans themselves) views Fox News as the voice of the GOP. And it's a dogmatic, right wing voice down the line on economic and domestic issues, the voice the helped destroy the Republican Party in the northeast (practically all of the party's leading politicians there have been derided as RINOs by the rest of the party). It appeals most directly to older white voters, as TFS points out; these are the people who tune in night after night to watch Bill O'Reilly.

    Personally, as a former independent who now votes consistently Democratic, I'd love to see the revival of the northeast Republican wing of the party. It was the POV of pragmatic businessmen, not conservative ideologues who wanted to enforce the teachings of the Bible while ensuring that America "stood tall" militarily in the Middle East, and against Russia.

    • Re:Fox News (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @12:39PM (#49727063)

      Even as a Bible-believing conservative (and a registered Republican voter...*sigh*), I find myself aligning with the Republicans vanishingly often these days. I may be morally conservative, but that doesn't mean that I pine for the way things were hundreds of years ago, which is how I feel the party wants it when I see their stances on the economy, education, healthcare, military spending, and a number of other areas I see being reported in the news. The Republicans leave me with very little to agree with, other than the moral issues with which I feel obligated to align myself. I wish it wasn't this way.

      The same is true for the Democrats, incidentally, just on different sets of issues. The real problem is that as a nation we have become so partisan and so polarized that non-issues become issues simply because "the other side" took a stance and we feel a sense of duty to disagree lest we let them claim credit. Honestly, with the way the Republicans have been marginalizing themselves recently, I'm hopeful that it'll either lead to a complete redefining of the party to incorporate the best aspects from the more successful smaller parties, or else will lead to the collapse of the party and its eventual replacement with something new. Naturally, the Democrats would position themselves to capture displaced Republicans, which would almost inevitably result in either the Dems or the new/redefined party being more appealing than what we have now.

  • is that the party that moves to the center and focuses on issues that face most voters, such as the economy, financial security, etc. and doesn't let their lunatic fringe who focus on one issue, that the majority of voters either don't care about or don't agree with, decide what the party stands for will gain support. However, as long as candidates are decided by primaries and millennials don't vote in them the parties will not change. The one thing politicians fear more than lack of money is lack of voter
    • You can only "move to the center" if you're a third party. If the Democrats move to what was the center (as they keep doing and have kept doing over the last three or four decades), the center moves as a result and they're no longer at it. Worse, their attempt to look less extreme helps their opposition, which now also looks like it's closer to the center.

      The Republicans understand this somewhat better, and have drifted to the right, knowing that this, too, moves the center, but moves it rightwards, leav

      • You can only "move to the center" if you're a third party. If the Democrats move to what was the center (as they keep doing and have kept doing over the last three or four decades), the center moves as a result and they're no longer at it. Worse, their attempt to look less extreme helps their opposition, which now also looks like it's closer to the center.

        The Republicans understand this somewhat better, and have drifted to the right, knowing that this, too, moves the center, but moves it rightwards, leaving both parties looking slightly more extreme rather than just the party that's made the move.

        What you are describing is the midpoint between party positions which doesn't necessarily represent the center of the voting population. So it's not so much establishing position close to theater sides but going for the sweet spot of the voting public. The other side may attempt to move their as well or move further to their extreme but that should not result in a move in reaction.

  • As millenials and other young Democrats age and get more wealth and power, they will turn into Republicans.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As millenials and other young Democrats age and get more wealth and power, they will turn into Republicans.

      Wealth? Wealth? What in the living hell are you talking about? I work at a tier-1 state university and most of our kids are happy to land any job upon graduation. Most of that generation will not know the wealth of the baby boomers, and not even of my generation (X). One Zuckerberg (yes, I acknowledge there will be more like him) doesn't make up for 100,000 disenfranchised voters.

      The generation that ca

    • I really hope not. The millenials are the most closed minded and intolerant generation of Americans ever to walk the soil of this land. Having them in the party of Lincoln would just be wrong. Better the party die an honorable death than embrace their values.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      Some will, yes. Some will also go the other way.
  • Did the study factor in the known phenomenon of dead Democrats voting in Chicago?
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:15AM (#49725209)

    ...decide to back legalizing pot and abandon their sex war against abortion, contraception and gays and probably pick up a lot of voters who might otherwise go Democratic.

    Backing pot legalization would probably be popular with white collar swing voters who probably like the Republicans on taxes and ultimately take a lot of the harassment heat off blacks by stripping the police of one of their major repression avenues. They might even temper it by announcing that they're going to repurpose those resources being even more law and order on other criminal justice issues to mollify the cops and the law-and-order segment of the electorate.

    Ending the anti-sex campaign against women may be even more beneficial. I've read that a lot of middle class women tend towards a certain conservatism and if you stop acting completely anti-woman this could be a major source of support.

    Both parties are so close for the most part that it seems like only semi-radical changes on a handful of small issues is necessary to move swing voters. And both of these issues are big from a publicity perspective but probably less meaningful to the corporate guys who fund them.

    Republicans could still be the anti-tax/pro-corporate party, pro-military and keep most of their base intact. They may alienate born agains and some law and order cranks with those changes, but who are those people going to vote for anyway? They're not going to vote for tax-hiking, gun-grabbing, affirmative action Democrats (intentional facetious remarks) no matter what.

    It's harder to see the issues on which Democrats could being "radical" on. About the only one I can think of is giving up on their general penchant for gun control. They might consider bring more pro-labor when it comes to issues of immigration/H1-Bs but this runs counter to their larger embrace of multiculturalism and also gets them in trouble with Silicon Valley money that wants more tech immigrants.

    • by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @12:52PM (#49727251) Homepage

      eh, maybe. but if they got rid of all those social wedge issues, what's left? tax breaks for the rich? subsidies for fossil fuels? dirtier air and water? meh.

      honestly, those social wedge issues that, while keeping young people, gays, and minorities away, are EXACTLY what keeps the GOP so staunchly in power in the deep south and amongst old people. Those folks march to the polls and vote in every little primary and off-year election and are driven by pure white hot fear and hatred. it's a hell of a motivator, and i assume the GOP believes it can't afford to take the risk of abandoning those troops.

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @09:23AM (#49725283)
    The following is a list from rollcall.com [rollcall.com] of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office ...
    Orrin G. Hatch, Utah-Jan. 4, 1977 Thad Cochran, Miss.-Dec. 27, 1978 Charles E. Grassley, Iowa-Jan. 5, 1981 Mitch McConnell, Ky.-Jan. 3, 1985 Richard C. Shelby, Ala.-Jan. 6, 1987 John McCain, Ariz.-Jan. 6, 1987 James M. Inhofe, Okla.-Nov. 30, 1994

    The following is a list from rollcall.com [rollcall.com] of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office ...
    Patrick J. Leahy, Vt.-Jan. 14, 1975 Barbara A. Mikulski, Md.-Jan. 6, 1987 Harry Reid, Nev.-Jan. 6, 1987 Dianne Feinstein, Calif.-Nov. 4, 1992 Barbara Boxer, Calif.-Jan. 5, 1993 Patty Murray, Wash.-Jan. 5, 1993

    The following is a list from rollcall.com [rollcall.com] of the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office ...
    Don Young, Alaska-March 6, 1973 Jim Sensenbrenner, Wis.-Jan. 15, 1979 Harold Rogers, Ky.-Jan. 5, 1981 Christopher H. Smith, N.J.-Jan. 5, 1981 Joe L. Barton, Texas Jan. 3, 1985 Lamar Smith, Texas Jan. 6, 1987 Fred Upton, Mich.-Jan. 6, 1987 John J. Duncan Jr., Tenn.-Nov. 8, 1988 Dana Rohrabacher, Calif.-Jan. 3, 1989 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Fla.-Aug. 29, 1989 John A. Boehner, Ohio-Jan. 3, 1991 Sam Johnson, Texas-May 18, 1991 Ken Calvert, Calif.-Jan. 5, 1993 Robert W. Goodlatte, Va.-Jan. 5, 1993 Peter T. King, N.Y.-Jan. 5, 1993 John L. Mica, Fla.-Jan. 5, 1993 Ed Royce, Calif.-Jan. 5, 1993 Frank D. Lucas, Okla.-May 10, 1994 Rodney Frelinghuysen, N.J.-Jan. 4, 1995 Walter B. Jones, N.C.-Jan. 4, 1995 Frank A. LoBiondo, N.J.-Jan. 4, 1995 Mac Thornberry, Texas-Jan. 4, 1995 Edward Whitfield, Ky.-Jan. 4, 1995

    The following is a list from rollcall.com [rollcall.com] of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office ...
    John Conyers Jr., Mich.-Jan. 4, 1965 Charles B. Rangel, N.Y.-Jan. 21, 1971 Steny H. Hoyer, Md.-May 19, 1981 Marcy Kaptur, Ohio-Jan. 3, 1983 Sander M. Levin, Mich.-Jan. 3, 1983 Peter J. Visclosky, Ind.-Jan. 3, 1985 Peter A. DeFazio, Ore.-Jan. 6, 1987 John Lewis, Ga.-Jan. 6, 1987 Louise M. Slaughter, N.Y.-Jan. 6, 1987 Nancy Pelosi, Calif.-June 2, 1987 Frank Pallone Jr., N.J.-Nov. 8, 1988 Eliot L. Engel, N.Y.-Jan. 3, 1989 Nita M. Lowey, N.Y.-Jan. 3, 1989 Jim McDermott, Wash.-Jan. 3, 1989 Richard E. Neal, Mass.-Jan. 3, 1989 José E. Serrano, N.Y.-March 20, 1990 David E. Price, N.C.-Jan. 7, 1997 Also served 1987-95 Rosa DeLauro, Conn.-Jan. 3, 1991 Collin C. Peterson, Minn.-Jan. 3, 1991 Maxine Waters, Calif.-Jan. 3, 1991 Jerrold Nadler, N.Y.-Nov. 3, 1992 Jim Cooper, Tenn.-Jan. 7, 2003 Also served 1983-95 Xavier Becerra, Calif.-Jan. 5, 1993 Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Ga.-Jan. 5, 1993 Corrine Brown, Fla.-Jan. 5, 1993 James E. Clyburn, S.C.-Jan. 5, 1993 Anna G. Eshoo, Calif.-Jan. 5, 1993 Gene Green, Texas-Jan. 5, 1993 Luis V. Gutierrez, Ill.-Jan. 5, 1993 Alcee L. Hastings, Fla.-Jan. 5, 1993 Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas-Jan. 5, 1993 Carolyn B. Maloney, N.Y.-Jan. 5, 1993 Lucille Roybal-Allard, Calif.-Jan. 5, 1993 Bobby L. Rush, Ill.-Jan. 5, 1993 Robert C. Scott, Va.-Jan. 5, 1993 Nydia M. Velázquez, N.Y.-Jan. 5, 1993 Bennie Thompson, Miss.-April 13, 1993 Sam Farr, Calif.-June 8, 1993 Lloyd Doggett, Texas-Jan. 4, 1995 Mike Doyle, Pa.-Jan. 4, 1995 Chaka Fattah, Pa.-Jan. 4, 1995 Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas-Jan. 4, 1995 Zoe Lofgren, Calif.-Jan. 4, 1995

    • I appreciate the sentiment - but the reality of legislative term limits is it empowers lobbyists because with term limits in place they'll be the only people on the hill who truly understand how to navigate parliamentary procedure and get anything done. It can take a good year or two to get up to speed on that, and another two to four years to build up enough clout to actually get anything done.

      The problems isn't terms, it's gerrymandering. Most of these folks haven't faced a competitive race for their seat

    • If you get rid of all of the professionals, all you are left with are the amateurs.

  • ... you buy a gun, and you become a republican. That's been the cycle for a long time. Yeah, lots of republicans have croaked lately but they're being replaced by democrats shifting over.

    Besides, as we've seen the last 6 years there isn't much difference between the two. One party is right-wing, and the other is 1 order of magnitude further to the right. Either way the republicans and their supporters win.
  • by ColonelPanic ( 138077 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @10:39AM (#49725861)

    1) Hate-crazed science-denying racists and homophobes.

    2) People who are willing to be associated with hate-crazed science-denying racists and homophobes.

  • by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:58AM (#49726675)
    A two party system is bad enough. I would imagine what would effectively be a one party system would be even worse.
  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:59AM (#49726691)

    But people get older all the time.Years ago, you could remain Democrat until you died at 50-60 of a heart attack.

    Now medicine has evolved and more and more people get to the age where you become Republican naturally.

  • What's up with all the political articles? Starting flame wars? I come to /. for TECH discussions. I get my political news elsewhere.

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