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The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs - and Who Will Take It Hardcover – January 3, 2012
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'For years I thought there was nothing new to be found on the well-trodden ground of American political history over the last century. I was wrong. In The Lost Majority Sean Trende provides an original and convincing analysis of the politics of our past and a bracing look at where it can go in the future. Required reading for all political junkies.' - Michael Barone, Senior political analyst, The Washington Examiner 'The last 10 years of American politics have been a roller coaster that has confounded all the experts. Until now. In this groundbreaking book, Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics re-conceives the last 80 years of American history to explain persuasively why both the Republicans and Democrats have foundered, and what happens next to both sides. This one is a must-have for those with an interest in next year's electoral battle' - Jay Cost, The WeeklyStandard --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Sean Trende is the senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics.com and has one of the top track records in the industry for correctly predicting the outcome of elections. His work is regularly cited by commentators on both sides of the political spectrum, including Rush Limbaugh, David Brooks, Michael Barone, and Nate Silver. He is a regular guest on Fox News and makes regular radio appearances on NPR's "All Things Considered," CNN Radio, and FoxNews Radio. He lives in Midlothian, Virginia.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
In "The Lost Majority," author Sean Trende offers compelling evidence that, however it may seem in the aftermath of any single election, neither party can ever assume it will dominate the other for decades and that decades-long realignments as they are commonly discussed by political scientists do not really exist.
Trende illustrates his thesis by walking the reader through American political history of much of the last century--with great arguments and abundant maps, graphs, and tables, the author discusses many of the phantom coalitions and real coalitions of the past. He shows that the New Deal coalition lasted nowhere near as long as is nearly always posited and that other coalitions, such as the Eisenhower and Clinton coalitions, are not even acknowledged by many but were fairly robust in their day.
One of the chief calumnies that Democrats use to scare swing voters away from the GOP holds that the South swung to the Republicans after the 1960s because of race, but Trende provides definitive evidence for anyone willing to be convinced (and, sadly, there are vast legions of those out there who simply are not) that the South began to break away from the Democratic Party toward the end of the 1930s and did not fully complete its journey to Republican bastion until the 2000s--and that economics, not race, was the prime mover.
The author shows which types of coalitions are especially prone to dissolve, including the Obama coalition of a few years ago. Following the 2008 election there were analysts who honestly thought that Democratic losses in the 2010 midterms would be minimal, but Trende notes the tensions between parts of the Obama coalition and lists the events of 2009 and 2010 that caused the coalition to come apart. Also examined are the youth, Latino, suburban, and white working-class vote and how those groups might vote in the future.
Perhaps the best analogy that Trende uses to describe coalitions is that of a water balloon--when one portion is pressed, other parts are stretched. Actions parties take to attract certain voters cause other voters to exit. This concept of shifting coalitions is fundamental to American politics and one of the most important checks on tyranny, as James Madison stated in his famous Federalist 10.
One of the most astonishing facts reported in "The Lost Majority" illustrating the phenomenon of shifting coalitions is that each party has held about 300 of the 435 House seats during the last twenty years, something I certainly didn't know before reading the book. Also, one need only look at the maps of the close elections of 1976 and 2000 and see how dissimilar they are to see that today's swing state can within a relatively short time become a stronghold of one of the parties or vice versa.
Because political coalitions are fragile, the White House is within reach for both political parties in any given election, depending on conditions in the country (something also asserted by Allan Lichtman's Keys to the White House, another must read for political junkies).
Despite those who think that one candidate or another is a lock more than three years out, this is true for 2016 as well. If the economy has a more robust recovery, ObamaCare suddenly becomes popular when fully implemented, the scandals of recent months fizzle, and all is quiet in foreign affairs, a Democrat will likely be elected to succeed President Obama. But if ObamaCare remains unpopular, the scandals reach deeply into the White House, the sharp economic contraction that many expect to arrive before the end of 2014 makes its unwelcome presence felt, and the current administration allows Iran to get nukes, the GOP nominee will win handily, carrying states that have not gone Republican since the 1980s.
As many have stated, Sean Trende is an honest broker as well as a great number cruncher and psephologist. In "The Lost Majority" as well as in his regular columns, he produces truly striking insights, such as his comparison of West Virginia to Montana to name one example. This is an outstanding book, and I hope Trende stays in this line of work--I hope to be devouring his columns for numerous election cycles to come.
Sean Trende, who is the Senior Elections Analyst for RealClearpolitics.com, is one of the most startling talents to emerge onto America's political stage in ages. Possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of American elections, Mr. Trende is able to make connections and provide insights into electoral trends which lesser pundits are simply incapable of.
In "The Lost Majority", Mr. Trende explains how the dream of a permanent Democratic majority emerging from the 2008 election was an illusion, mainly because all political majorities/coalitions are transitory. What sets this book apart, however, is Mr. Trende's unique insights on demographics. Namely, how much of what you hear that is passed on as "known facts" regarding how racial/ethnic/economic groups vote is simply wrong.
Buy this book! I can promise that what you read will utterly change the way you view American politics. Not many electoral analysts are capable of this. But if you have read Mr. Trende in the past, you know that for him this is routine.
This work is one of the best political analyses I have read. Ever. Trende has managed to apply analytical rigor to a popular topic, which is whether and how one party may win "permanent" control of the government. He totally eviscerates the notion, and really leaves the opposition nowhere to turn.
This book is especially useful nowadays as a counterbalance to the "emerging Democratic majority" thesis as it has evolved among pundits since John Judis and Ruy Teixeira originally published the book of the same name a decade ago. (Some, certainly not all) liberal Democrats keep assuring themselves that, sooner or later, thy will not need to appeal to independent voters because demography inexorably favors the Democrats. It's wrong and Trende explains why.
And the next time the GOP wins, some conservatives will appropriate the same triumphalist posture, and Trende has an answer for them, too.