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The New Democratic Party

12:09 PM, Aug 28, 2008 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Thomas B. Edsall reports:

The Obama campaign has accelerated a transformation already underway in the Democratic electorate. 2008 appears likely to mark the death knell for what remained of the New Deal coalition - the coalition that was crucial to the early elections of such politicians as Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy.

In its place is a Democratic alliance that initially emerged during George McGovern's 1972 campaign, became competitive in the 1990s under Bill Clinton, and that now appears to be solidifying as the core of the party: a combination of "haves" -- socially liberal, well-educated whites, especially the young, and "have-nots" -- black and Hispanic minority voters.

The shattered New Deal coalition offers an opportunity for John McCain. Pew pollster Andrew Kohut points out that, compared with John Kerry in 2004, Obama is under-performing among the much discussed "working-class whites," while he is over-performing among young people, liberal professionals, and African Americans.

The question is, How many members of these groups can Obama bring to the polls on November 4? Edsall quotes polling analyst Nate Silver: "'For each 10 percent increase in African-American turnout, Obama gains approximately 13 electoral votes, and 1 percent in his popular vote margin against John McCain. Even a 10 percent increase is enough to take him from a slight underdog against McCain to a slight favorite, while at higher levels of turnout improvement, Obama becomes the strong favorite.'"

Remember hearing about all the new voters Obama would bring to the polls in places like Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania? Didn't happen. There are a lot of young people, liberal professionals, and African Americans in California. Obama lost there. This is not to say that Obama will lose California in the fall, of course. But the Obama campaign's promises of a wave of new voters that will put their candidate over the top have not been true in the past. Which is reason to be skeptical that they will prove true in the future.