David Wasserman takes a look at the glory and the peril of the impending demographic milestone for the Democratic Party:
The Cook Political Report projects that when a new Congress is sworn into office in January, white males will for the first time in American history be a minority of one party’s caucus in the House. It’s a milestone that Democrats will celebrate regardless of whether Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wins back the speaker’s gavel.
Yet the party will pay a price for making this history: The Democrats’ path to power in the House will likely be rockier than ever. As more Democratic-friendly minority-majority districts result from redistricting, and as the Democratic caucus gravitates to the left, Republicans have strengthened their grip on the vast number of seats in less-affluent, predominantly white areas. These are boom times for nonwhite Democrats in the House, and more nonwhite than white Democrats tend to be women. But these are also bust times for white Democratic men.
The 2012 cycle represents a rare alignment of the stars. It’s the first time in 20 years that the strong minority turnout of a presidential election cycle will coincide with a bonanza of new and open seats following the census and redistricting. After decades of progress, minorities and women running for Congress were already poised for a banner year, yet the pace of change is picking up as November approaches.