As America relentlessly turns more urban and educated, the Democratic Party's future brightens, because city residents with degrees tend to support progressive politics.
Meanwhile, here's another Democratic boost that may seem unexpected: The party's chances keep rising as more and more Americans drift away from conservative religion.
In its latest quarterly magazine, the Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., outlined how "nones" -- those who don't attend church -- have become a major segment of the Democratic Party and helped carry Barack Obama to the presidency.
The report says white evangelicals and Mormons once were politically neutral, but they turned heavily Republican after President Reagan crusaded to take "America back to an imagined past of traditional moral, economic and political values." Those groups now are the very heart of the GOP. The magazine said:
"In November, 78 percent of white evangelicals and 78 percent of Mormons voted for Mitt Romney."
But these "religious right" elements are too small to match the rising magnitude of more liberal Americans, especially the snowballing "nones." In 2008, three-fourths of the latter group backed Obama. In 2012, the margin dropped to 70 percent -- but that's still a whopper preference.
The rapid rise of churchless Americans is a remarkable phenomenon that has escalated since the 1980s. Today, roughly one-third of "millennials" under 30 say they have little interest in churchgoing. Nones have become the nation's second-largest religious category, after Roman Catholics. And they vote Democratic by a strong margin.
A recent Pew survey said: "More than six in 10 religiously unaffiliated registered voters are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party. They are about twice as likely to describe themselves as political liberals than as conservatives, and solid majorities support legal abortion and same-sex marriage."
USA Today recently reported on "The Emerging Social, Political Force: Nones." It said the group now contains 46 million U.S. adults who are "disproportionately young, white, male, liberal Democrats." They now constitute one-fourth of the party's base -- and their sway presumably will grow as older voters pass away.
Demographer Ruy Teixeira says Democrats will rise because "white Christians will be only around 35 percent of the population by 2040, and conservative white Christians, who have been such a critical part of the Republican base, will be only about a third of that -- a minority within a minority."
A Sunday Associated Press report said: "Americans with no religion are becoming as important a constituency to the Democratic Party as religious conservatives are to the Republican Party."
All reports say this growing segment may be decisive in close future elections. We hope so.America's culture evolves constantly. Stay tuned and keep watching the fascinating changes.