October 15, 2002
Ruy Teixeira, Co-Author of "The Emerging Democratic Majority"
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
In the midst of despair, as the forces of darkness have descended over the Potomac, there is cause for hope. According to Ruy Teixeira and John Judis, authors of "The Emerging Democratic Majority," the Democrats are poised, in terms of demographic trends, to take over the White House and Congress. That may explain why the Republicans have resorted to deceit, misinformation, propaganda, subterfuge, impeachment, and stolen elections to maintain power. Remember, Bush ran campaign ads that made him look like a soft and fuzzy Democrat. Only after being appointed did he pull the bait and switch and turn into the Darth Vader of right wing politics.
If there's any confirmation of the trend proposed by Teixeira and Judis, one need only remember that the Democrats won the last three presidential elections in terms of popular vote -- and if you give Florida to Gore, the Democrats have built a blue state electoral majority for years to come. Of course, that's if there's another election, but let's not go there right now.
"The Emerging Democratic Majority" is not a rhetorical salvo against the Republican party. (The commentary in this preface is purely BuzzFlash's.) To the contrary, it's an easy-to-read, thoughtful demographic study of why the Democrats should be winning the presidency and control the Congress.
Of course, the big unanswered question here is can the Democrats get the Democratic message out and not be co-opted or outsmarted by the Republicans?
Yes, there are more voting Americans now who are, in theory, sympathetic to the Democratic platform. However, whether or not the Democrats can be shrewd enough to get their points across -- and strong enough to define the issues rather than being defined by them -- is the subject of another book altogether.
In short, what "The Emerging Democratic Majority" proves is that the political leadership of America belongs to the Democrats for the asking. Of course, much of the American public is still waiting for them to stand up to the Republican thugs and define the questions, rather than being defined by them.
BuzzFlash strongly recommends "The Emerging Democratic Majority" for its solid research and reasoned tone. We were pleased to interview one of its co-authors Ruy Teixeira.
In this time when we stand on the precipice of a state envisioned by Orwell, it's reassuring to know that Americans prefer truth, justice and the American way. They are just waiting for someone to lead them out of this nightmare of government by deception, secrecy and sale to the highest bidder.
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BUZZFLASH: You wrote "The Emerging Democratic Majority" with John Judis. In a nutshell, what is your basis for saying there is an emerging Democratic majority that is proceeding in a similar way to the then-emerging Republican majority during the Nixon and Reagan eras?
RUY TEIXEIRA: I think the short course, as it were, is that if you look at the way the country has changed in the last couple of decades, you can see that in terms of changes in attitudes, in terms of how the economy is developing, in terms of the emergence of different demographic groups -- it all fundamentally disadvantages the Republicans and advantages the Democrats.
Just as Kevin Phillips, in 1970, correctly pointed to some of the ways in which the country was changing that were going to basically advantage Republicans and give them a sort of natural majority -- which didn't mean they were going to win every election, but they would have a natural majority -- we believe the same thing is happening today, and it's been happening throughout the '90s.
And the basic reasons for this are, one, the margins of these electoral groups that I've just mentioned -- particularly professionals, women and minorities. If you look at professionals, in the last four elections they have averaged 52-40 percent for the Democrats. And that's different than managers, who have similar incomes sometimes and who have averaged 49-41 percent for the Republicans. You look at women, especially working, single and highly educated women, they've all gone strongly Democratic. Single working women, for example, have gone from about 19 to 29 percent of women, and they now vote something like 69-29 for the Democrats -- huge, huge support.
And everybody knows minorities support the Democrats. Maybe it's less well known how rapidly they've grown. They're about ten percent of voters in the early '70s. They're close to a fifth today. Probably be close to a quarter by 2010. And this is the group that overall has been voting about 75 percent Democratic. Look at Hispanics, Asians and blacks all together -- you have the emergence of these electoral groups, which are fundamentally changing the demographics of a lot of states in the United States. Probably California is the most vivid example.
I'm talking to you from Illinois, I gather. Illinois has been a state affected by changing demographics. It's also been affected by another very important point that we deal with in the book: the emergence of what we call "ideopolises". If you look at the areas of the country that are changing the most rapidly economically, they're becoming part of this post-industrial economy, where the production of ideas and services is replacing the production of things. These ideopolises are postindustrial metropolitan areas that include both the suburbs and the city.
If you look at these areas that have sort of moved the farthest down this path, these are all areas that are going Democratic. And not just in California, and not just on the East Coast, but also in places like where you are, in Chicago. Even in places in the South, like the high-tech areas and the tourist areas of Florida. Look at the Research Triangle area in North Carolina. Look at the Austin area in Texas. It's all over the place. So, in a way, if you look at the picture of America in terms of how it's developing as an economy and as a society, it's really these areas where the Democrats have the advantage.
In fact, if you compare the beginning of the Reagan era to the last presidential election, in 1980, Reagan handily carried votes in the ideopolis and non-ideopolis areas of the country. But if you look now at the 263 counties that we believe to be counted as among part of this ideopolis sector of the United States, that ideopolis sector cast about 44 percent of the overall vote and supported Gore by 54-41, which is a complete turnaround from their political behavior twenty years previous.
So in a nutshell, we're saying that if you look at the way the country's changing, if you look at how it's evolving, if you look at how it's moving into the future, those are the areas where the Democrats are doing well. And if you look at the places that are sort of developing slowly or stuck in the past, that's where you find the Republican space.
BUZZFLASH: Well, you have three criteria that you set up in your introduction to kind of use as benchmarks for this change into an emerging Democratic majority. And those are work, values and geography. Do you want to explain why those are the three criteria you chose?
TEIXEIRA: Well, in terms of the work thing, we're really talking about the changes toward the postindustrial economy, which is producing, for example, a class like professionals, who are now moving in a strongly Democratic direction. We're talking about geography. We're looking at the way in which you see the emergence of these postindustrial areas we call ideopolises. And if you look at their values -- which is something I haven't touched on yet; maybe I'll just expand it in for a second: If you look at the values of postindustrial America, arguably the sort of common sense of America today is the moderate part of the movement of the '60s.
In other words, the movement for women's rights, the movement for civil rights, for diversity, for tolerance, to protect the environment, to protect the rights of consumers -- all of these things which might have had their somewhat extreme elements at the time, and, in fact, contributed to the emergence of a conservative Republican majority of the '70s and '80s because there was a backlash against the extremism of some of these movements. But in each and every one of these cases, a moderate version of those movements and of the values those movements represented have, in a sense, become internalized as the common sense of large sectors of the country, particularly in the ideopolises we've talked about.
In fact, public opinion analysts generally agree: If you look at the greatest changes in public opinion over the last forty years, they have been in the area of social and cultural values. And they've all been changes in a liberal direction, without exception.
BUZZFLASH: Well, a basic tenet in the book seems to be that we're also moving toward a multi-cultural society, which I would assume you would pose or put up California as the kind of model of that. Last year, for the first time, there was a threshold crossed that there were more minorities than so-called whites or Caucasians in California.
TEIXEIRA: That's correct.
BUZZFLASH: And it seems the Republican Party is in disarray in California. And in the last presidential election, the Bush campaign seemed to have given up on it relatively early, despite putting on a game face about it. And certainly, for many reasons, the gubernatorial candidate in California is in serious trouble now.
TEIXEIRA: Well, yeah, there was just an article about the California gubernatorial race and the Republican Party in The New York Times. It was just basically reporting that despite the fact that everyone knows Gray Davis is not the world's most compelling candidate and has huge problems of his own, the Simon campaign just has no traction. And the Republican Party in general has no traction. And it actually went through, in the article, groups we've just been talking about, and how they all seemed to have relatively little interest in the Republicans.
They quoted a political science professor as saying the whole thing reminds him of the Monty Python skit about the guy who comes in and complains about his dead parrot. And the guy doesn't want to take it back at the pet shop. And he sort of goes into a rage and says, you don't understand, this parrot is dead. It's no longer breathing. It's kaput. It's departed. It's left the planet Earth, and so on and so forth. I don't know if people remember that sketch, but it was very funny. Very applicable to the way the Republican Party currently is faring in California.
BUZZFLASH: Well, let me ask you this, and you didn't discuss this much in the book, but it's certainly a sort of BuzzFlash theory. And so I'm not trying to impose it upon you -- I just want your reaction to it.
BUZZFLASH: In the context of your book, one of the things we've posited is that when there was this enormous effort over eight years to unseat, in any way possible, the elected President of the United States -- that is, Bill Clinton -- many of the forces behind this had to do with a battle view, sort of implied if not explicitly stated, between the emerging multicultural America -- and I include career women in that -- versus the male-dominated era. And that, in many ways, the Republican Party -- and certainly the voting patterns have shown this -- has become the party of the white male. And the Democratic Party has become the party of the minorities, women and solidly Democratic white males who vote Democrat for other reasons -- union members and so forth. I mean, is that part of the battle we're seeing unfold?
TEIXEIRA: I think that you can certainly look through that prism. It does provide you with some purchase on what happened -- that there is this kind of rear guard reaction problem. Very influential elements of the Republican Party try to hold back the tide in terms of where America is going and try to use reactions to these changes as wedge issues in various states and in various districts.
Now the problem with that as a strategy is it's not much of a long-run strategy, you understand? It's a harassing strategy. It's a delaying strategy. But it's not, despite what Karl Rove, Bush's political guru, says, any kind of realignment strategy. This is not a way of taking advantage of change to make your party the dominant party. Instead of putting yourself on the side of history, this is a way of trying to stop history.
And I think, just like most other attempts to stop history and hold back the tide, it's not going to work too well. The influence of these kind of elements is one reason why the Democrats, assuming they can work together, assuming they've got leadership, can continue to move forward.
The Republicans should continue to have this kind of disadvantage. They've got plenty of people in the party trying to stop these changes. They can't be flexible enough. And people argue that, oh, well, you say the country is moving in the following direction, and the Republicans are somewhat isolated. Why can't they just move to the center and be just like the Democrats? Well, if Republicans could be Democrats, then they'd probably be Democrats. But the fact of the matter is most of these people are not going to give up their views on these issues very easily.
And these are the same people, as you say, who tried to bring down Bill Clinton, took the 2000 election in unusual ways, and are still trying to split and fracture the Democratic coalition in any way they can. And again, this is a harassing and delaying kind of strategy. It's not really a majoritarian strategy. I think it's doomed to failure.
BUZZFLASH: Well, let me ask you about another issue. And again, you know, this is more our opinion. I think your book does a wonderful job of providing very good data to back up your theory about an emerging Democratic majority. Particularly what struck us was -- you have this in the introduction -- in the last three elections, the Democrats have won twenty states and the District of Columbia each time, amassing 270 - 67 electoral votes, just three short of a majority. We know what that led to in terms of the Gore election, but I guess, given that, I wanted to ask: It seems that the Bush campaign in 2000 and, in the course of the past two years, has been running -- and not that either party is immune from being deceptive -- but Bush ran on this compassionate conservatism platform. But then he put in place a far right-wing infrastructure in most of the Cabinet departments, and certainly in terms of his judicial nominees. Should they agree that there's a bait-and-switch going on? The bait seems to be something toward the center, while the switch is, once in office, he's going ahead and putting in that right-wing agenda which could not get a popular vote.
And, to a certain degree, there's an appearance that the President is a moderate man, when, in reality, he's adopting stances that are extremely right wing, including replacing -- just yesterday there was a new story -- science advisory groups that don't agree with him. That's really sort of, in a way, accepting your theory, but proceeding on a basis of deceiving the public that the Bush administration is moderately conservative, rather than radically conservative. People in general who vote don't pay attention to appointments within the infrastructure. They don't really have an awareness of how right-wing the infrastructure of the administration is. And so, therefore, the Bush administration is trying to come off as being more toward the center in its public appearance.
TEIXEIRA: Yes. Well, I think that is certainly an area in which they have done damage and will continue to do damage, trying to use the levers of power to sort of stock the infrastructure with what they believe to be the right people. But, in a way, you could argue it reflects or is related to their basic Achilles heel from the Rove strategy -- even as he's trying to present the appearance of moderation, in reality Bush is not particularly moderate himself. Most of the people setting policy aren't particularly moderate. And this will come out into the real world.
If you look at, for example, what happened after 9/11, when arguably the Republicans had a chance to really reposition themselves toward the center -- take advantage of all the good will that was being generated for the administration in terms of how it's prosecuting the war -- they were not able to do any of that on a whole range of issues from tax policy to environmental policy, to a number of other things. They took, consistently, clearly hardline, conservative positions. They're backing away from it now. They continue to try to raise the issue of privatizing Social Security, and so on and so forth. And just when it comes to any kind of conflict between corporate interests and what the public wants and what the public needs, and what Democrats have in mind, they typically have chosen to be on the corporate side.
And I just think that's the kind of contradiction that's going to continue to come out, no matter what they do. So even as they sub rosa -- you know, try to put people in all these positions -- I think it continues to come out what the basic priorities of the party are. And again, these are priorities that, because the country's changing, are not consistent with the kinds of groups the Republicans really need to reach -- groups the Democrats are going to have a much easier time with.
The example you just mentioned about stocking the science panels -- I mean, this is a very serious issue, this sort of conflict between science and progressing into the future and following the dictates of people motivated by religious ideology. This came out in the stem cell thing. It's coming out in the cloning debate. It'll come out in other things in the future. Fundamentally, this is an issue on which the Republicans are on the wrong side. So it's not going to be as easy for them just to appoint some people who are going to derail things. Eventually it'll come to light what's being derailed. So I think it's somewhat of an effective strategy in the short run, in terms of getting the people into these positions. But in the long run, it makes them incapable of repositioning the party in the way it needs to be to really be competitive with the Democrats.
BUZZFLASH: Now let me ask you about a very timely issue, which is brought up in your book but certainly seems to be an even more pressing issue at this point. You and your co-author qualify your theory to note that post-September 11th, and as long as there's a war on terror, your theory is somewhat relegated to a secondary role because the public rallies to the support of a president in a time of war.
And the war on terror was somewhat subsiding until the new enemy emerged -- Saddam Hussein, who we all admit is a terrible, horrible man. But the administration seemed to become obsessed with him at a time when there wasn't any indication that he was doing anything more horrible at this particular moment than he's done in the past. Yet it seems to be pressing that no matter what and seizing the agenda, even if now they will admit inspectors into Iraq.
So I guess my point is, is your theory really sort of submerged, as long as the President and his advisors and Karl Rove can seize the agenda and focus on war and, therefore, keep the Democrats from bringing up these other issues which appeal to this new progressive center electorate that you define as the emerging Democratic majority?
TEIXEIRA: Well, I don't think so. Actually, what we said in the book was certainly there was the potential that, depending on how things unfolded, this could have a substantial delaying effect on the Democratic majority, but we didn't think it could derail it in the final analysis anyway. And even at the time we wrote, the gubernatorial elections that took place last year -- the two key ones were Virginia and New Jersey, of course -- the Democrats won both of them. So the ability of the President to cover the weaknesses of the Republican Party simply by being President at the time of some kind of war actually seemed limited even then.
I think it is the case that, if issues of survival are brought up -- and 9/11 did bring that up -- it obviously produces a big rallying effect to the President that does at least peripherally help the Republican Party. However, it does not mean, therefore, that by pursuing one military adventure after another, they can sort of indefinitely stave off the Democratic majority. I don't think so. I mean, the Iraq thing is not quite the same thing at all as the response to 9/11 and the attempt to root out the Al Qaeda terrorists. That's a long discussion about, well, if we're really trying to get the Al Qaeda terrorists, why are we going after Iraq, since there doesn't seem to be a direct connection? But just leaving that aside -- and I think that it's something that is foggy in the American mind -- I think that they're now going to have difficulty figuring out how to proceed in light of Iraq's willingness to let inspectors into Iraq.
This thing may unfold over a longer time period than they want. And if you look at the demographics of how people feel about the possibility of war and the possibility of going into Iraq, the very groups that we talk about as forming this emerging Democratic majority are precisely the people who are least enthusiastic about doing this. And the people who want to stay the course almost no matter what, as far as you can tell from the polling data, are exactly the kind of folks who are base Republican voters who aren't part of this emerging majority -- rural, white, Southern, conservative, and so on.
So it's not clear to us that even in the medium term this kind of strategy is going to work very well for them. I just don't think that playing one national security card after another is any kind of magic bullet for them. I think we'll probably see that in the future.
What we were talking about in the book, in terms of something that could really turn things around for a substantial period is some horrible scenario -- continuing terror attacks on the United States. I don't think this is what we're talking about here. We're talking about a much more complex and murky situation that's some strange combination of a serious geo-political problem and the Republicans' need to, in a sense, bring something else up to change the subject, given that on an entire range of domestic issues people don't think a whole lot of them, as I was discussing right at the beginning of the interview.
The tide is moving against them. As the country is changing, it's moving away from them. So they're trying to avoid this problem by emphasizing some of these other issues. But I think over the medium run, and certainly over the long run, it's not going to work.
BUZZFLASH: I don't know if this is a fair question to ask, but you're a big boy, so you don't have to answer if you don't want to -- do you think the Democrats have done a decent job in defining the issues that are attractive to this emerging Democratic majority? Because certainly I would say BuzzFlash feels that Democrats have not been really skilled in the political arena and have not done what is necessary to win political battles, which is to put the other side on the defensive. The Republicans, certainly for the last fifteen years, have been seemingly more skilled -- with maybe Bill Clinton being an exception -- at defining issues to their advantage.
In your book, you talk about the Republicans looking to make themselves quote-unquote the party of patriotism. And certainly that's an episode we've been going through for the last year. The Democrats seem to have a much more difficult time and seem much more tentative at defining issues in such a way that the Republicans are on the defensive. If this were a football game, certainly in the last two years, we'd have to say the Democrats were playing defense 90 percent of the time and the Republicans only 10 percent of the time, at least as far as the Bush administration. Do you agree or disagree, or have any opinion about that?
TEIXEIRA: Well, I have to say that I think I can endorse more or less the official BuzzFlash position here. Yeah, I think it's true that the Democrats haven't done a particularly great job of taking advantage of what opportunities they have and taking the fight to the Republicans, as it were.
I mean, look at what happened with the tax cut. It was the single most significant domestic policy decision in the last couple of years. They did a terrible job of fighting the tax cut, and twelve senators wound up caving in the Senate and helping that bill get through. And in a few cases, you can see what the Senators were talking about in terms of endangering the reelection, and in others, it was completely unclear what they were doing -- I mean, Torricelli and Diane Feinstein from California.
And even in the states where that was a little bit more understandable, it was still unclear it was really going to hurt these senators. But nevertheless, that's what they did. And part of what this reflects is that the Democratic party and leaders within it don't have, in a sense, the courage of their own demographics and of the way the country's changing, and how good their politics may really be.
Because if the analysis we're putting forward in "The Emerging Democratic Majority" is correct -- and I think it is -- they've got the wind in their sails. It should be the Republicans who are on the defensive, who are moving away from the way the country's changing in a wide variety of unpopular positions. So why should you be on the defensive then? You know, 9/11, of course, is a big factor in how the Democrats have been acting lately, but they weren't that forceful even before 9/11. Even the way they're handling the Iraq policy debate shows it, in a sense, they haven't found their voice yet. So I guess our viewpoint -- and it sounds like it could be similar to BuzzFlash's -- is Democrats need to find their voice, the courage of their convictions, and take advantage of it. The country's moving in their direction, you know? There's no need to be scared. It should be the Republicans who are worried.
BUZZFLASH: Well, let me close with a combination of observation and question. We think your book is wonderful. We recommend it. It's one of the few causes of optimism for Democrats in this sort of bleak time. But I think the testament to your theory is, regardless of the Supreme Court decision, the indisputable fact that Al Gore received 539,000 more votes than George Bush, and most people concede Al Gore ran a rather lackluster campaign. The Democrats, in essence, won, if you exclude our sort of unusual electoral system, the popular vote by over a half-million votes.
And as you pointed out, in the last three elections they have enough base to be within three electoral votes of victory. And we know that Al Gore's Waterloo was Florida. And nonetheless, he did win that election by a half-million votes -- whatever the process was that came to be that got George Bush in the White House. So, do you see that trend continuing?
TEIXEIRA: Oh, absolutely. In fact, a great deal of what the book is about is trying to make the case that the country is changing in a way that favors the Democrats. And you can take that right down to the same level -- to the regional level -- in a lot of places.
For example, take Florida, in which the Democrats probably got a plurality last time, but didn't actually manage to carry the state. If you look at the five counties in Florida that have added the most people between 1990 and 2000 -- have had the largest growth and added the most voters -- they've all gone heavily Democratic since 1988. So if you look at the direction of change in Florida, that's why it's so competitive now. That's how the Democrats kind of won it. It's moving away from the Republicans.
The same thing is true in a lot of other states. Nevada's leaning Democratic. If you look at some of the Midwestern states where Bush managed to do well, like Missouri and Ohio, there are trends there that show us that the Democrats are sort of moving in the right direction in the state. And there are other states besides where the Democrats were becoming much more competitive, from North Carolina to even a state like Arizona. But if you look just in the shorter run -- I mean, they may not get Arizona for a while -- but if you look at a state like Florida and project out the demographic and political trends, in another eight years, it's almost a solid Democratic state.
The country is just changing too much, and in all the wrong directions, for the Republicans. And these aren't just national trends. They manifest themselves in the state level, and they're going to cause serious political change in the states. So the Democrats may have carried only that 267, now 260, electoral votes in the last three elections. But as we look forward to the future, we think that electoral base could be as much as 332 votes. And we show on a statewide basis how that could be true.
BUZZFLASH: I can't resist one more question. What do you think is the role of money in putting smoke and mirrors around the Republican message -- to the extent that they sell themselves through false advertising, basically as Bush did to a certain degree in 2000 by running on education and running on Social Security. They're coming from opposite sides, but they seem to be doing what Clinton did with his triangulation -- running as a conservative or moderate Democrat so that the voter thinks they're voting for someone who's basically supporting Democratic positions, but actually the person who's running is, as Bush has shown, really going to proceed with a more right-wing agenda.
If the Republicans remain in control of the House or take over the Senate -- and certainly they've got the White House for two more years -- the people in charge or the leadership among the Republicans lean very far to the right in terms of actual implementation of policy.
So how much does money play a factor, if it can finance campaigns that are misleading? Not that that's unusual in politics, but certainly that seems to be a trademark of the current Republican way: In many of these marginal districts or ones that lean Democrat, they run on moderation and then vote right-wing.
TEIXEIRA: Yeah, that's a big part of their repertoire -- this sort of ideological cross-dressing -- and bringing that to the public through as many advertisements as they can. I guess our view is that yes, they'll be successful with that to a certain extent. But it's not much of a political strategy when they're having to continually play on the other guy's turf. Naturally, you know that will hurt you eventually -- you know, sort of, by and large that's the advantage to the other guy, because you're not going to be able to get away with that all the time. Sharper lines will be drawn. Ways will be found of making the differences clear between the Democratic and Republican candidates. It's not a strategy that has much potential over the long term. You can't build a majority trying to pretend to be somebody else. That actually didn't work for the Democrats in the conservative Republican era, and it's not going to work for the Republicans as we move into this Democratic era.
Fundamentally, when the issue terrain, the political terrain and the demographic terrain shift against you, you have to do much more serious adaptation to that, and it frequently takes a long time. That said, I do think that right now, in real time, Democrats could do a better job of making the differences clear between themselves and the Republicans, so that it isn't quite so easy for those lines to be blurred.
And that gets back to a discussion we were having earlier about the Democrats at times seeming to lack the courage of their convictions. It's our hope that as the message of this book diffuses somewhat among people interested in politics in the Democratic Party, that they'll have a little bit more of the courage of their convictions. They'll actually pick up the wind in their sails and not be afraid to make some of those differences clear. Because you're absolutely right -- Republicans are going to try to hug them on a lot of these issues, because they're losers for them, and they have to pretend to be like the Democrats. They can only get away with that for so long.
BUZZFLASH: I can't resist two more quick questions. Your book is very reasoned in tone. It's extremely well documented. You make a very strong case, so I wouldn't call it a cheerleading book. You're academic people, and this is a serious book, which makes a certain proposition. But I do think, after reading it, Democrats can clearly take heart that if they're patient, time is on their side. I guess that would be the summary of your book.
Before we had a recession -- and now I guess people say technically we may not be in recession, but nonetheless, we've got an economy in the dumps. But before that, when we were reaching new heights of sustained economic growth under the Clinton administration, BuzzFlash noticed that corporations -- particularly the large corporations which now tend to be the symbols of such excess, but nonetheless almost all of them -- developed these very, very aggressive policies in embracing multiculturalism and hiring diverse people. Allowing even affinity groups to develop in many of these corporations of gays, lesbians, Hispanics, blacks, whatever, because they needed the workers.
And it kind of struck us that the corporations, which tend to clearly be big supporters of the Republican Party, couldn't afford to oppose multiculturalism. They had to embrace it because they needed a workforce. And it was interesting to us that the very corporations that support the Republican Party were way ahead of the ideological wing of the Republican Party. There are more women in the workforce. And in a strong economy, the corporations have no choice. They're profit-line driven. And as America becomes more multicultural, they can't really afford not to embrace it, because otherwise they don't have people to run their staff and industrial output. I was just sort of curious whether you had any thoughts on that, because that's another sign reinforcing your theory.
TEIXEIRA: Yeah, I think you find actually this opposition to the Democrats being much less intense in the areas that are furthest along in this sort of postindustrial transformation, where diversity is sort of an inevitable fact of life and something not to be fought but to be welcomed. And you find businesses in these areas, in your Californias and places in the Northeast -- even in the Chicago area -- are much more sympathetic to these kind of cultural goals.
Still, on economic grounds, a lot of these people will be fighting the Democrats. But they're cross-pressured, in a way, by the cultural and the economic factors. They're not like really old-line businessmen who are completely fine with the hard-right program with cultural issues, completely fine with the hard-right program on the economy and sort of libertarian. And the Democratic Party is picking up and will continue to pick up, I think, support of some of these more progressive elements of business, which is something we see historically as coalitions emerge. They may not start with significant sections of the business class, but eventually chunks of them come around to be part of that coalition.
BUZZFLASH: Well, the most striking thing I guess we found was, again, in a country that bases so much of its decision-making on the bottom line -- this is a corporately structured economy and driven society -- and yet corporations cannot in a good economy reject multiculturalism. Society had changed so much that if they did that, they would not have sufficient personnel to run their businesses.
And that to us was a really telling sign that the ideological link of the Republican Party was out of step with this corporate wing, which really needed a diverse workforce because they had no choice. Even if you go into a food store nowadays in most metropolitan areas, you have people who are Muslim working there. And businesswomen are making more and more of an impact. More and more minorities, more and more gays and lesbians, because if businesses really started to discriminate in a booming economy -- not the one we have now, but two years ago -- they wouldn't have sufficient skilled workers. And that would affect their profit line. They're not social movers, but they're profit-line movers. And it was just an interesting threshold, it seemed to me, that was being crossed.
And that inevitability only reinforces your book, "The Emerging Democratic Majority." Because if big business realizes that, eventually it becomes incorporated into the ethos of the country in a way that even the ideological right-wingers, who are fighting a rear-guard effort, as you called it, can't compete with the needs of the corporate world. And the corporate world ultimately is going to overrule any of the ideological efforts by the right wing of the Republican Party. And, therefore, "The Emerging Democratic Majority" seems to have even more impact as a theory. So much of the Republican ideological-driven aspects of the party are anti-multiculturalism, trying to fight a rearguard action to preserve some sort of white male-dominated world which just doesn't exist any more, for the most part.
TEIXEIRA: That's right. Another way of talking about what we were just mentioning is there are fractures that these changes are producing in the Republican coalition. That's always a part of the story in these emerging dominant coalitions: As they emerge, there are fractures that occur in the other coalition. And I think we do see them now, and we'll see them more in the future in the Republican Party, between elements of it that may not want to embrace change, but realize they can't stop it and they have to live with it, and those who are just so committed to their hardline views on whatever the issue might be -- for example, the kind of issues you were just talking about, diversity and multiculturalism.
And there will be a parting of the ways between the hardliners and the people that want to adapt to change. And that, as you say, is just one more reason why I think we're likely moving into a Democratic era, no matter what Karl Rove has to say or what he tries to do.
BUZZFLASH: Well, from your mouth to God's ears, as they say. Ruy, thanks so much.
* * *
Ruy Teixeira is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and author of "The Disappearing American Voter and America's Forgotten Majority: Why the White Class Still Matters."
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