A New Progressive Coalition Has Emerged

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Since Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968 and George McGovern’s run in 1972, progressives have sought to create a multiracial, multiethnic, cross-class coalition—made up of African Americans, Latinos, women, young people, professionals, and economically populist blue-collar whites—supporting an activist government agenda to expand economic opportunities and personal freedoms for all people. With the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012, this progressive coalition has clearly emerged, albeit in an early and tenuous stage.

In 2012 President Obama won re-election with 50.9 percent of the popular vote and 332 Electoral College votes. He is the first Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win two terms with more than 50 percent of the total popular vote. Unlike Democratic victories of the past, however, President Obama was also able to achieve victory with a historically low percentage of the white vote. According to the national exit poll, President Obama achieved victory by carrying 93 percent of African American voters, 71 percent of Latino voters, 73 percent of Asian American voters, and only 39 percent of white voters—slightly less than former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis’ share of the white vote in 1988.

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