- Paperback: 118 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (October 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1517063582
- ISBN-13: 978-1517063580
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,150,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Millennial Majority: How a New Coalition Is Remaking American Politics 2nd Edition
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The book begins with a review of political coalitions and realignments throughout American history. It then introduces readers to the demographic, cultural, and economic forces that gave rise to the coalition assembled by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign. That coalition -- made up of Millennials, women, minorities, and educated professionals -- appears poised to dominate American politics for the next four decades.
Winograd and Hais argue that Barack Obama's election to the presidency signaled the beginning of the end for the Reagan coalition which dominated American politics since 1980. In their view, Obama's re-election in 2012 represents a further repudiation of the Reagan coalition and its governing agenda. The financial collapse of 2008 and subsequent Great Recession not only left the American Dream and the basic social contract in tatters; it ushered in a Fourth Turning -- a protracted period of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that will eventually give rise to a new social contract and civic ethos, tailored to the Millennial worldview. That worldview is optimistic, favorable toward activist government, socially inclusive, multilateral on questions of foreign policy, and networked rather than centralized.
This leaves both of America's major political parties with a unique set of challenges, which the authors discuss at length. Democratic leaders must figure out how to how to respond to the demands of their new coalition in an era of gridlock, polarization, and Wild West campaign finance laws. Republicans face a much larger set of ideological, technological, and communications challenges -- not to mention the very real threat of demographic marginalization. As the Democratic Party's base continues to grow, the GOP's base -- overwhelmingly white, male, wealthy, religious, and Southern -- is shrinking as a percentage of the national electorate. Within a decade or so, Republicans must either make dramatic changes or face political irrelevance.
Winograd and Hais are critical of the Obama administration's early over-reliance on policy and performance at the expense of savvy politics and public relations, as well as his less than entirely effective use of Organizing for America as a tool to advance his own agenda. Whether the reconstituted Organizing for Action will be deployed more effectively in the President's second term remains to be seen. And while the President may be focused on passing his second term agenda, Winograd and Hais believe the more fundamental question is whether the coalition assembled by President Obama will persist in his absence. In their view, history will judge this president not as much by his policy accomplishments, but by whether his presidency leaves Millennials, women, and minorities with a lasting grip on power.
For now Democrats and their base appear poised to define the new civic ethos, but as Winograd and Hais point out, Democratic leaders cannot simply rest on their laurels. If there is one criticism we have of the book, it's that we wish the authors had spent as much time looking forward as backward. Their forward-looking insights have consistently defied conventional wisdom, and then become conventional wisdom when proved right by history. As any good generational theorist will tell you, the past holds the key to understanding the future.
If history rhymes but never repeats, Winograd and Hais have become its master lyricists -- and Millennial Majority seals their reputation as such.
Visit www.firstpersonpolitics.com/blog to read our full review.
This new generation, Millennials, share attitudes and a point of view that suggest what the authors call a new civic ethos, a new way of looking at the rights and responsibilities of citizens and their government. There is a question, implicit in everything the authors write, and it is one of the reasons why this book deserves a second reading: How much of what a generation believes will become central to the public discussion and what form will it take? Lincoln, as the authors note, remarked during one of his debates with Douglas that nothing can be accomplished without the support of public opinion. But Lincoln, having decided what needed to be done, set about in some of the greatest speeches ever given to convince the public to stand with him on the issue of slavery and the union. Now, a hundred fifty years later, candidates for the presidency, as the authors report, are trying to use the latest technology to deliver messages tailored to the specific interests and opinions of each individual. What this will do to the nature of public debate, what this will do to the very possibility of self-government, are just some of the questions that Millennial Majority will force you to consider. And that makes this one of those rare books that, when you finish reading it, you will want to read again. D.W.Buffa