U.S. society constantly evolves -- and several demographic trends seem destined to bolster the Democratic Party and liberal, compassionate, people-helping politics.
For example, Hispanics, blacks and other minorities who generally vote Democratic keep rising as a bigger share of the populace, while traditional whites decline. Within a generation, whites will cease to be a majority of Americans.
For example, young people -- especially females -- generally favor humane public policies of the sort backed by Democrats. As the young mature, they are expected to "vote their values."
And here's another far-reaching change that few people notice: Religion is shrinking in America, and young "seculars" who don't attend church have become the largest single component of the Democratic Party base.
A Pew Forum study titled "'Nones' on the Rise" -- named for people who answer "none" when asked their religion -- said churchless adults have climbed rapidly to about 46 million Americans. The report said:
"With their rising numbers, the religiously unaffiliated are an increasingly important segment of the electorate. In the 2008 presidential election, they voted as heavily for Barack Obama as white evangelical Protestants did for John McCain. More than six-in-ten religiously unaffiliated voters are Democrats (39 percent) or lean toward the Democratic Party (24 percent). They are about twice as likely to describe themselves as political liberals than as conservatives, and solid majorities support legal abortion (72 percent) and same-sex marriage (73 percent). In the last five years, the unaffiliated have risen from 17 percent to 24 percent of all registered voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic."
The report says the 46 million U.S. adults who don't attend church "have become one of the most reliably Democratic segments of the electorate .... In 2008, fully three-quarters of the religiously unaffiliated voted for Barack Obama."
Meanwhile, white fundamentalist and evangelical Americans who denounce gays and oppose women's right to end pregnancies are just as solidly locked into the Republican Party. But all studies find that these conservative believers are shrinking while the secular group expands -- a demographic shift favoring Democrats.The future is unforeseeable -- but we hope these cultural patterns continue making America more and more supportive of progressive politics that boosts average folks.