I think Bouie and Sides are 100% right. I haven’t changed my mind since 2008 — I see no reason to believe that the 2012 elections represent some kind of fundamental realignment in American politics under which the Republican Party is doomed. What the 2012 election does show is that modern Democratic coalition — essentially, the McGovern coalition with the full support of a (diminished) labor movement — is viable and competitive. It can win under circumstances that (unlike 2008) aren’t insanely favorable. But 2012 certainly doesn’t prove that the Republicans can’t win. And while the Republican coalition is slowly shrinking and will have to be expanded, it remains relatively competitive in presidential years, and still has an advantage in off-year elections, where its older, wealthier, whiter base is relatively more likely to turn out. The major coalitions right now are both relatively stable, and the playing field between them might be the most level in American history.