Conservatives wanted to believe that Barack Obama's 2008 victory was a one-time affair, a unique confluence of events. Now they know better. It's a genuine realignment, writes Ross Douthat in the New York Times. Obama won with the same coalition he marshaled in 2008. "It was the late George McGovern's losing coalition from 1972 finally come of age: Young voters, the unmarried, African Americans, Hispanics, the liberal professional class—and then more than enough of the party's old blue collar base to hold the Rust Belt."
"The Obama coalition was vulnerable," Douthat insists, but "only to a Republican party that took Obama seriously as an opponent." Instead they clung to the belief that the rhetoric of the '80s could win in 2012. Romney lost because he lacked the imagination to reinvent his party, and because "his party didn't particularly want to be reinvented." The right may yet manage that, but they'll have to face facts: "The age of Reagan is officially over, and the Obama majority is the only majority we have." Click for Douthat's full column. (Read more Ross Douthat stories.)