Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Urban Gentry

At Ricochet, Paul A. Rahe analyzes the “Obama Coalition” and offers us Joel Kotkin's Take and Mine:

So, for Obama, the game is simple. Hold the African-American vote; get the Hispanic vote; and rally those who loved Seinfeld and Sex and the City. This may work in the short run -- though I strongly suspect that it is a recipe for disaster. In the long run, as Kotkin implies, it cannot work. The gentrification of the Democratic Party -- for it is perfectly clear that the new gentry are in the saddle and will remain there -- means the abandonment of economic growth and a reduction in unemployment as priorities, which in turn means that the material interests of African-Americans and Hispanics will get short shrift (as they have in the last four years).

What Kotkin does not say but certainly recognizes is that this portends a political realignment in the United States. Obama's top-bottom coalition cannot last -- for the interests of the top and those of the bottom are diametrically opposed. I doubt very much that this coalition can carry the day in 2012. In the long run, however, it is bound to cripple the Democratic Party. The gentry are not going to ease up on their grip on that party. They are not going to reverse its wholehearted embrace of the sexual revolution, of abortion, and of the city as a focus of entertainment, and they have nothing to offer those who are less well off.

There are those in the Republican Party -- Mitch Daniels among them -- who think that it should declare "a truce" on the so-called "social issues." There is one problem with this strategy. As this week's Democratic Convention will make only too clear, these issues lie at the heart of the struggle now taking place in this country. The welfare-entitlements culture and the sexual revolution are, in fact, inextricably linked. Forty percent of the children born in this country last year were born out of wedlock. If, as a nation, we do not find a way to reverse the trends that have produced this result, we really are doomed.