The key to creating a long-term Democratic majority is the Republicans' willingness to cast their lot with an overlapping group of Southern whites who are still fighting the Civil War, cultural conservatives who want to ban anal intercourse, and selfish rich people who don’t think they should have to pay taxes. This Republican base is largely responsible for Democrats’ success among Hispanics, women, youth, and college-educated professionals, key groups in the Democratic coalition that elected Barack Obama twice. Will the Republicans try to neutralize the Democratic advantage among these groups? Or will they do everything they can to ensure that these groups maintain their loyalty to Democratic candidates? If you want an answer, look no farther that the House Republican determination to scuttle the immigration bill that the Senate passed and measures in Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin to restrict women’s right to an abortion. The Republicans may think they are currying favor with their base, but what they are also doing is giving the Democrats a platform to bring out their vote in 2014. The political impact of immigration reform and abortion rights depend on which constituency believes it is most immediately under attack. And if the House kills immigration reform and these states restrict abortion, it will be the Democratic constituencies that will be likely to turn out.
John B. Judis is the author of The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration and the Revolt Against Globalization.