What comes after the Southern Strategy?

In his New York Times column yesterday Paul Krugman thoughtfully examines the centrality of a great national electoral strategy, the Southern Strategy, to the recent rise of conservatives. It is a story line he explores in much more depth in his very worthwhile new book, The Conscience of a Liberal.

In our new article in Mother Jones magazine, The 50 Year Strategy, Peter Leyden and I argue that the progressives and Democrats are in the process of constructing the next great electoral strategy, one yet unnamed, that capitalizes on the emerging demography and politics of the early 21st century.

This new strategy builds upon Democratic strongholds in the Northeast and Pacific West, requires Democrats and progressives to win in all the other regions of the country, and builds particularly upon the support of two new groups that will end being very influential in the 21st century - Hispanics and Millennials.

Implicit in all this is how the concept of race is changing in America. For over 300 years, race in America was a white-black, majority-minority, exploitive experience. The very large wave of immigration America is currently experiencing, driven to a great degree by new Asian and Hispanic immigrants, is changing that historic and pernicious equation. In the age of the Southern Strategy minorities - African Americans - were a small fraction of the population. In America today "minorities" are 30 percent of our national population. In my lifetime America will become a majority minority nation. Even the word minority itself will begin to change its meaning as American becomes a very different place with a very different people in the 21st century.

To get a sense of all this look at the Presidential fields. Taken together the GOP Presidential candidates look that 20th century Southern Strategy Party. The Democratic field, featuring a woman, an Hispanic, a mixed race candidate of African descent and a white populist from the New South, looks much more like the Party of this next more racially and geographically complicated post-Southern Strategy nation.

For more on the changing nature of America's Hispanic population, check out our new report Hispanics Rising. And for more on Millennials visit our affiliate, the New Politics Institute.