Research and reflections on the American demographic shift that led to the election of President Barack Obama
White, an author and D.C.-based professor of politics, documents the shifting demographic sands that led to President Obama's election, and the "politics of discomfort" that have arisen (on the right and the left) in America's transformation from a predominately white country, content to reminisce about conservative 1950s values, into a multicultural body politic with elastic cultural and social mores. With a sensibility that recalls Robert Putnam's seminal Bowling Alone, White uses polls, census data, popular media and political anecdotes to describe a "new" society, in which interracial marriage, divorce, single motherhood and cohabitation are no longer taboo, in which gay rights gain ground (as long as marriage isn't put to a vote) and people attend church more for entertainment and community than for religion. Changes in attitudes in any one of these areas-race, family, gay rights, religion-would be "good enough to transform politics as previously understood"; together, they constitute "four revolutions" that show "no signs of abating." Though he's generally a careful, dispassionate observer, White (The New Politics of Old Values) occasionally betrays a hint of wistfulness for the social and political frameworks of a bygone time.
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