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CM THE CM EMERGIN D RATIO MAJOR! ******* JOHN B. JUDIS IIMCIANDUZI NY TEIXEIRA the transition of the national economy will ultimately lead to a transfer of political power in the United States. They make a very reasoned argument, based on changes in work, in values, and in demography. But it requires that you regard the 2002 election as an aberration driven by war rhetoric and a vacuAn in Democratic leadership. As the authors describe, the ’90s saw a steady gain in Democratic voting with increases in Congressional representation in 1992, 1996, and 2000. In 1992, 1996, and 2000, the Democrats increased their presidential vote in each election. \(The authors remind us that Nader did indeed cost Gore the election by providing Bush’s margin of victory in Florida and New Hampshire, thereby making the world a much more dangerous place, removing necessary support for millions of poor people and recent immigrants, threatening the little bit of environmental balance we have left, and bringing us the world Ronnie Dugger lamented in these pages. Judis and Teixeira paint a portrait of a post-industrial America whose economy is organized around metropolitan areas and high technology, information technology, creative enterprise, and services. By 2000, eighty percent of the American workforce was producing services or ideas. The authors use the word “ideopolis” to characterize these new economic centers. \(Even in recession, economist Richard Florida must be making a mint as the guru of the And they find the voting patterns in these centers are changing significantly, creating a new Democratic coalition. Gore gained 54.6 percent of the vote in these centers, compared to 41.4 percent for Bush and 3.3 percent for Nader. These centers accounted for 43.7 percent of the national vote in 2000 and are the fastest growing regions of the country. Most significantly, professionals are the fastest growing labor group in these centers and in the country as a whole, and their conversion to the Democratic Party is an important factor in the potential emergence of a Democratic majority. It is also changing the suburban vote. Three decades ago, the suburbs were havens for white-flight professionals. The increasingly African American and Hispanic inner cities voted Democratic, while the white suburbs voted Republican and opposed most public policy that benefited the urban core. Well, that’s changing. The suburbs are increasingly diverse. As they’ve grown, they’ve taken on many of the problems facing cities. Most important, the “ideopolis” suburbs and cities increasingly see themselves as one metropolitan community, whose economic health depends on urban as well as suburban vitality and whose social health requires great diversity. As a consequence, the suburbs of these economic centers are also voting increasingly Democratic. Who are the constituent parts of this incipient Democratic majority? In part, they are what the authors call George McGovern’s revenge: minorities, women and professionals. After passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, African American voters moved solidly into the Democratic column and began voting in greater numbers. The African American percentage of the electorate grew from less than 6 percent in 1960 to nearly 12 percent in the 1990s.With the exception of Cubans, Hispanic Democratic support has been strong, based largely on immigration and economic policy, while the Hispanic percentage of presidential voters increased by more than 40 percent between 1992 and 2000. Asian-Americans represent the fastest growing population in the country. Traditionally, Americans of Chinese and Vietnamese descent voted Republican, while those from Japanese and Filipino families tended to vote Democratic. But party differences on economic and immigration policy have begun to change that. In 2000, Chinese Americans backed Gore by 64-21 percent, while Vietnamese voters favored Gore by 54-35 percent. Polls in 2000 showed all Asian-American voters favoring Gore by more than 2-1. In 1960, women voters backed Richard Nixon, 53-46 percent, com pared to men, who supported John Kennedy, 52-48 percent. Then in the ’60s that began to change. By the 1980s, the gender gap asserted itself. In 2000, men supported Bush by 53-42 percent, while women supported Gore by 54-43 percent.You can create a laundry list of the reasons for this sea change: increas ing participation in the workforce by women; Republican stands on the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, and Title IX; the Religious Right’s influence in the Republican Party. The political results of the shift have been huge. The women’s vote made up the continued on page 31 1117/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11