One Big (Straight, Gay, Multi-cultural, Traditional) Happy Family

by kris bishop on September 24, 2009

by John Kenneth White, author of Barack Obama’s America: How New Conceptions of Race, Family, and Religion Ended the Reagan Era

ALSO READ: John Kenneth White on:



AT LEFT: Photo from MODERN FAMILY on ABC, a new show about a single family that must bridge generational, cultural, and social gaps.

“In 1970, Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg famously defined the Real Majority of the U.S. electorate as being “un-young, un-poor, and un-black.” Today, Scammon and Wattenberg’s Real Majority is increasingly an historical artifact. Certainly, George W. Bush helped hasten the end of this Republican-leaning coalition by his poor performance. But Ronald Reagan also helped by getting much of his conservative agenda enacted into law. Redefining what is means to be a conservative is a central problem for the Republican Party in the Barack
Obama era.

But other factors are working to create a new majority poised to elect more Democrats. Since 1970, the U.S. has had four revolutions: (1) a racial revolution where whites will be a minority of the US population by mid-century; (2) a family revolution where having a mom, dad, and kids living at home with their biological parents is no longer the norm; (3) a gay rights revolution where greater tolerance toward homosexuals is prevalent; and (4) a religious revolution where the location of faith is not necessarily in a church building, but in the heart of the individual.

Each of these revolutions contains their own astonishing facts. Regarding race: there are more foreign-born living in California (8.4 million) than there are people residing in all of New Jersey. As for families, only 30% describe their own family situation as consisting of a mom, dad, and kids, while families headed by grandparents, single parents, blended families, and gay partners predominate. Regarding gay rights, the 2000 Census reported that same-sex partners resided in all but 255 of the nation’s 3,141 counties. And during the 2004-2005 academic year when George W. Bush made gay marriage a central issue of his reelection campaign, the number of gay-straight alliance clubs in the nation’s high schools increased at a rate of three per day. As for religion: 92% of Americans believe in God, but 82% also think a person can be a good Christian or Jew without attending a church or synagogue.

Faced with these facts, Scammon and Wattenberg’s Real Majority could only must 48% of the presidential vote in 2000; 51% in 2004, and just 46% in 2008. And with each passing year, Ronald Reagan’s America becomes a more distant memory. Barack Obama’s America is emerging from the social revolutions listed above. In so doing, Obama’s majority reaffirms an aphorism that Scammon and Wattenberg so famously coined: Demography is Destiny.”




by John Kenneth White  ->podcast interview

ISBN: 9780472033911

List Price: $27.95


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