Any Liberals still hoping to reproduce the Obama phenomenon under a sixty-something, white leader with an Establishment demeanour would be wise to reflect on a report published by the U.S. census bureau on Monday.
According to the report, 131 million Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election - five million more than in 2004. The increase was due to "two million more black voters, two million more Hispanic voters and about 600,000 more Asian voters, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters remained statistically unchanged."
The census bureau further reported that "voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004. Blacks had the highest turnout rate among 18- to 24-year-old voters - 55 per cent, an 8 percent increase from 2004."
With overall turnout in the U.S. unchanged from 2004, the mobilization of minority and young voters played a critical role in Mr. Obama's victory. In Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and South Carolina, turnout among blacks surpassed 70 per cent. And, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, minority voters made the difference in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland and New Jersey, overcoming white voters who favored John McCain.
Given these data, Liberals would be wise to look for an alternative path to victory in the next election - which is eminently possible in light of current public opinion polls.