Shrinking Republican minority

Ruy Texeira has a nice paper summarizing how demographic changes are very much working against the Republican party and what they should do about it.  Over at Yglesias, Ryan McNeely gives a nice summary.    Steve Greene summarizes McNeely  right here.   Long story short, Republicans are driving away minorities and college educated voters, both of which are only growing in the electorate.  Given my recent theme of Gender and Politics postings, I’ll excerpt McNeely’s nice point on the matter:

Another interesting finding is the significant growth rate of key subgroups of women who vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. I’ve found that there is a tendency to discuss “women” as if they are like any other interest group or constituency, but women are in fact the majority of voters. So, by definition, if more and more women identify as Democrats, then to cobble together a majority Republicans must lock in an even largerlead among male voters.

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Texeira, who generally offers advice for Democrats, actually lays out a series of steps that would be wise for Republicans to take.  Tom Schaller summarizes them at 538.com.  Schaller remarks:

What’s interesting to me about most of Teixeira’s suggested changes is that the GOP is either not doing them, or doing something close to the opposite.

I think David Frum may be largely right in that the Republican party is going to drive itself off an ideological cliff.  When they win big in 2010 because of a bad economy and successful obstructionism, they’ll convince themselves it’s because of their conservative ideology and double-down on it even further.  Shouldn’t be hard, as most GOP member of Congress are breathtakingly out of touch with reality.  Democrats are surely in for some pain this Fall, but if Republicans don’t wise up– which they don’t seem to be doing– medium and long-range Democratic prospects look excellent.

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Friday book post (late again)

I tell you, all this World Cup soccer is definitely eating into my blogging.  I’m happy enough with the trade myself, but I apologize for those of you expecting more out of me.

So, rather than highlight a specific book this week, I’m just going to riff a little bit on not finishing books.  I’m pretty ruthless about stopping and not finishing books that just aren’t doing it for me.  There’s way more books that I want to read than I will ever have time to, so I’d hate to think I’d be missing out on books I love to keep slogging through anything I don’t.  At this point in my reading life, I’m pretty confident of my judgement by 50 pages in, and sometime much sooner.   I say this, because it seems that every time I decide to just give the  book a little bit longer to pick up, it never does.  I think this is because what I really respond to is not necessarily how exciting the plot it, but simply the author’s ability to tell a story in an interesting and engaging fashion.  Sometimes that can take a little while to get going, but in general, it shows itself pretty early.  For example, last night I started Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon.  I’ve only read 10 pages or so, but I can pretty much guarantee I’ll finish it because Chaon clearly just knows how to engage a reader.   In contrast, take Killing Rommel, by Steven Pressfield.  A subject I find intrinsically interesting– WWII in North Africa– and a book that was well-reviewed, but I could tell very early that Pressfield just did not have a style that was ever going to engage me.

That said, what I wonder is, just what is it about Chaon  (or my favorite authors) that is so compelling, while others leave me flat.  There’s a real difference there in the ability to simply tell an interesting story, but what exactly is that?  Or, is that as far as we can reduce things?

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