Red, Blue, and Purple America

Red, Blue, and Purple America: The Future of Election Demographics

Ruy Teixeira Editor
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 274
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Red, Blue, and Purple America
    Book Description:

    As America rushes headlong into a dramatic campaign season, it is clear that these consequential contests -and the ones that follow -will be hugely influenced by recent changes in the nation's makeup. Red, Blue, and Purple America provides a clear and nuanced understanding of the geographic and demographic changes that are transforming the United States and how that transformation is reshaping politics, for the 2008 elections and beyond. The invaluable result is a detailed picture of current trends as well as a clear-eyed assessment of how they will shape American politics and policy during the next two decades. An elite group of demographers, geographers, and political scientists analyze rapidly changing patterns of immigration, settlement, demography, family structure, and religion. Each analysis describes one major trend and assesses its likely impact on politics, for the 2008 elections but for the long term as well. The authors then lay out the most likely implications for public policy. In doing so, they show how these trends have shaped the Red and Blue divisions we are familiar with today, and how the developments might break apart those blocs in new and surprising ways.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0184-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Beyond Polarization?: The Future of Red, Blue, and Purple America
    (pp. 1-22)
    Ruy Teixeira

    Change is in the air. This fall we shall see if America takes the extraordinary step of electing its first African American president—an African American, moreover, whose mother was white, whose father was Kenyan, and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. The very fact that such an individual could be the nominee of a major political party says a great deal about how much change is occurring in the American electorate and how rapidly.

    Although Barack Obama is the most visible sign of this change, many broad social trends underlie the transformation of today’s electorate and make...

  4. Geography

    • one The New Suburban Politics: A County-Based Analysis of Metropolitan Voting Trends since 2000
      (pp. 25-49)
      Robert E. Lang, Thomas W. Sanchez and Alan Berube

      This chapter looks at voting patterns in the American suburbs in the national elections of 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. Understanding these patterns is critical to understanding future elections, because the suburbs are now quasi urban and home to over half of the U.S. population.¹ Although it was once reasonably assumed that Republican voters predominated in the suburbs, these areas are now highly contested electorally.

      The American suburbs have grown remarkably large and complex in the last several decades.² Yet the wordsuburbstill provokes sneers among some scholars as a place where middle-class people without taste reside. One critic...

    • two The Big Sort: Migration, Community, and Politics in the United States of “Those People”
      (pp. 50-76)
      Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing

      The 2004 election was cause for a countrywide case of cognitive dissonance. The election was one of the closest in history, nationally, with only a few percentage points difference between George W. Bush and John Kerry. In individual counties, however, the election was not close at all. In six of ten counties the margin for one party or the other was 20 percentage points or more.¹ Almost half of American voters lived in a county where the local margin was a landslide, in a national election that teetered on a handful of votes in a single state.

      The last five...

  5. Race and Class

    • three Race, Immigration, and America’s Changing Electorate
      (pp. 79-108)
      William H. Frey

      One of the most profound changes in America’s demography this century will be its shifting racial and ethnic makeup. The rise of immigration from Latin America and Asia, the higher fertility rate of some minorities, and the low fertility and aging of America’s white population will have substantial impacts on the nation’s demographic profile, with important implications for the electorate. The significance of these changes on identity politics, racial coalitions, and reactions to immigration has already been seen in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes. Yet these shifts are only the tip of the iceberg, as Hispanic, Asian, and black Americans make...

    • four The Decline of the White Working Class and the Rise of a Mass Upper-Middle Class
      (pp. 109-144)
      Alan Abramowitz and Ruy Teixeira

      Dramatic shifts have taken place in the American class structure since the World War II era. Consider education levels. Incredible as it may seem today, in 1940, 75 percent of adults twenty-five-years old and over were high school dropouts (or never made it as far as high school), and just 5 percent had a four-year college degree or higher. But educational credentials exploded in the postwar period. By 1960 the proportion of adults lacking a high school diploma was down to 59 percent; by 1980 it was less than a third; and by 2007 it was only 14 percent. Concomitantly,...

  6. Family, Religion, and Generational Change

    • five Changes in Family Structure, Family Values, and Politics, 1972–2006
      (pp. 147-193)
      Tom W. Smith

      Over the last three decades the American family has been undergoing a profound and far-reaching transformation. Both family structure and family values have been changing and, as a result of these changes, the American family is a much-altered institution. As the core institution of society, the family affects all other aspects of society. This is especially true of politics. Political leanings are notably influenced by both family structure and family values. Moreover, the relationship is dynamic, with the connection between the family and politics changing over the last generation.

      First, this chapter traces these developments and examines how household and...

    • six Religion and American Politics: More Secular, More Evangelical, or Both?
      (pp. 194-224)
      John C. Green and E. J. Dionne Jr.

      Is American politics becoming more secular or more religious? Even casual observation reveals evidence for both these tendencies.¹ On the one hand, nonreligious Americans have become more prominent in recent times and have strongly supported the Democratic Party. But on the other hand, many of the most religious Americans have also become more prominent, strongly backing the Republicans. The simultaneous appearance of these apparently opposite trends has caused considerable confusion about the role of religion in American politics. Where did this mix of secular and religious politics come from? Is it contributing to the polarization of national politics? What will...

    • seven The Aging of the Boomers and the Rise of the Millennials
      (pp. 225-258)
      Scott Keeter

      Generational forces played an important role in the polarized politics of 2008. Yet these forces may, in time, lead the nation away from the intense divisions of today. Younger Americans, reflecting continuity with the past as well as potential for change, are not yet an important political force but will gradually become one.

      The vast social and political changes of the 1960s are reflected in the polarized attitudes of the people who came of age during that tumultuous period and who now occupy positions of power in government, business, the nonprofit world, and academia: the baby boomers. Although clearly reflecting...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 259-260)
  8. Index
    (pp. 261-274)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 275-276)