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The Coming Realignment of American Politics
Since the 1988 presidential election, no candidate has won more than 53% of the popular vote, and neither party has maintained unified control of the federal government for the entirety of even a single presidential term. This sharp polarization is increasingly felt not just in party politics, but also in heightened feelings of negativity and resentment expressed by voters against adherents of the other party. With another achingly close presidential election in 2016, a breakthrough for either Democrats or Republicans feels further away than ever. Yet beneath this stasis there is enormous change brewing. Beginning in 2002, America’s youngest voters have skewed left, voting by double digits more Democratic than the country as a whole in every single national election since. What does this mean for the future of American politics? Won’t these voters get more conservative as they age? Will the Republican Party adjust to appeal to them? And what happens if they don’t?
David Faris is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University in Chicago, a contributing writer at The Week magazine, and the author of “It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics” (2019, reviewed by the New York Times here) and his newest book, “The Kids Are All Left: How Young Voters will Unite America” (2020), published by Penguin/Melville House, which he is presenting research from for this talk.
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