NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

May 10, 2014

Shribman: Long term vs. short term

(Continued)

Still, there are quiet but growing hopes among Democrats that they may eventually return to power in Texas, which has voted Republican in the last nine presidential elections and in 10 of the 11 elections since 1972. Census figures show the Hispanic portion of the population of Texas is more than double the national rate -- more than a third of Texans do not speak English at home -- and whites now constitute less than half the state’s population. In 2012, 70 percent of Hispanics in Texas voted for Obama.

Yet the Democrats harbor no such bright hopes in Oklahoma (67 percent for Romney), Alabama and Arkansas (61 percent each), Louisiana (58 percent), Mississippi (56 percent) -- and even in a Southern-oriented state that broke away from the Confederacy a century and a half ago, West Virginia (62 percent). Those states account for 41 electoral votes, blunting the potential drift of Texas’ 38 electoral votes from the Republican column.

-- Resentment over the state of the economy and lingering worries about Obamacare.

Several studies indicate that the recovery from the Great Recession has been less robust than that of any post-war recovery, producing a job market more forbidding than that of previous recessions.

That notion was underscored by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who in a speech this spring acknowledged, “the recovery still feels like a recession to many Americans, and it also looks that way in some economic statistics.” She noted national unemployment is still higher than it ever got during the 2001 recession.

This is a particular burden to blacks, who won’t have as great an incentive to vote in 2016 as they did when Obama ran in 2008 and 2012, and to younger voters, who may not be as mobilized for the 2016 Democratic nominee as they were for Obama in 2008. These two groups, Yellen said, “are facing a job market today that is nearly as tough as it was during the two downturns that preceded the Great Recession.”

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