The Demographic Gap.

Republicans should heed David Frum's point about generalizing from November's elections:

Be very careful about projecting forward from the 2010 congressional results to the 2012 presidential vote. These elections almost occur in two different countries.

Be very careful about assuming that Republican success in 2010 signifies that Republicans have overcome the longer-term problems that I’ve been writing about these past five years. If Republicans cannot connect better to the huge new Millennial generation, next month’s success will only be a happy interval before 2012’s grim challenges.

Frum is right; the electorate that will give the GOP a 10- to 20-vote majority in 2010 is vastly different from the electorate that will vote for president in 2012. In two years, the average voter will be a little younger, a little browner, and a little less likely to support the GOP, which will almost certainly translate to a slightly greater willingness to vote for Democratic candidates for the House and Senate.

For all the talk of a conservative resurgence, Republicans will probably find themselves with a brittle majority; strong enough to control the House and maybe shape legislation but not strong enough to withstand the demographic changes of 2012 or even 2014.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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