Our report out this month provides several answers, starting with the fact that demographic change isn’t evenly dispersed. In our system of place-based government, unless millennials move to the rural South or the growing Latino population settles in equal measure across the Rust Belt, demography will take a long time.People, like the proverbial "birds of a feather," persist in flocking together with others like themselves. Therefore, pitches which pit one demographic group against another tend to be geographically limited.
Despite Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory, Donald Trump won about 2,600 counties while she won 489. That might have been enough to keep the electoral college tally close, but it’s also a recipe for losing pretty much everything down ballot.
Young voters and voters of color aren’t monolithic liberal blocs who will always and reflexively support Democrats. As noted in our report, 44 percent of millennials call themselves independents and only 30 percent are liberals. Among Latinos, 37 percent are Independents and only 28 percent liberals. That means 7 in 10 within these rising American electorate groups consider themselves moderate or even conservative.
Democrats need to dig themselves out of a big hole from state legislative races on up, and it starts by treating voters as more than a check box on a census form. It will require building a big-tent coalition based on values and experiences, not just demographic groups, and rethinking the party’s pitch and policies to respond to the needs and concerns of Americans across the country, not just in cities and on coasts.
Historically, what has proven helpful for subgroups in the U.S, is assimilation, not separation. Unfortunately, assimilation is not politically correct at present.
Many Hispanics and Asians have progressed along that time-tested path to complete acceptance. In general, groups which reject assimilation have not fared as well.