As the dust settles on the 2012 election it seems to me that its greatest significance is how social conservatives are finally losing the culture war, shifting the balance of power (for now) to progressives. But even the winners are unsure. Liberals have been beat up and demonized for so long that I think they’re having trouble accepting victory.
Will it last? Use victory to deliver real economic results for the middle class and it will. Wimp out, and conservatives can bring back social wedges to distract working-class voters and nurture the rich.
Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin of the Center for American Progress are making sense:
President Obama and his progressive allies have successfully stitched together a new coalition in American politics, not by gravitating toward the right or downplaying the party’s diversity in favor of white voters. Rather, they did it by uniting disparate constituencies — including an important segment of the white working class — behind a populist, progressive vision of middle-class economics and social advancement for all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Should President Obama and progressives deliver on their agenda for the nation and improve the economic standing of working-class families, the potential for solidifying and expanding this progressive coalition well beyond the Obama years will only increase.