Democrats need to avoid demographic traps of their own

Delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.DAMON WINTER/NYT

I was surprised to read Thomas Patterson arguing that demography is destiny (“The Republicans’ demographic trap,” Opinion, July 27). The idea that contemporary demographic voting patterns can be extrapolated to presage the inevitable monopoly by the Democratic Party is the same faulty myth passed around by people like James Carville before the 2016 presidential election — and we all know what that led to.

Even if a generational divide is becoming more politically salient, younger voters have a lower turnout rate, and the GOP is beginning to pry voters under 65 away from the Democratic Party at higher and higher rates.


Asian-American, Black, and Latinx voters might also lean left, but the so-called uneducated white working class, even if it is shrinking, will remain a pertinent bloc to a Democratic base for decades to come. Ignoring these voters is no longer possible for Democrats, since the Republicans have abandoned a politics of so-called fiscal responsibility.

Democrats need to play their cards correctly. Waiting for demographic change is a risky — and failing — strategy.

Adam Chapnik