It was a revealing convergence Monday when the five-member conservative Supreme Court majority delivered the Hobby Lobby contraception decision even as President Obama announced that House Republicans had officially shelved immigration reform.
Both disputes reaffirmed the GOP's identity as the champion of the forces most resistant to the profound demographic and cultural dynamics reshaping American life — and Democrats as the voice of those who most welcome these changes.
And both clashes captured a parallel shift: While Republicans took the offense on most cultural arguments through the late 20th century, now Democrats from Obama on down are mostly pressing these issues, confident that they represent an expanding majority of public opinion.
Veteran pollster Stanley B. Greenberg captures this almost unprecedented Democratic assurance when he declares flatly: "Republicans are on the losing side of all of these trends."
Beyond contraception and immigration, the parties are escalating their conflicts over a broad suite of issues that divide the electorate along cultural lines, including gun control, gay rights, abortion, and climate change (which politically pivots on trust in science). Combined, these confrontations are stamping the GOP as what I've called a "Coalition of Restoration" primarily representing older, white, religiously devout, and nonurban voters who fear that hurtling change is undermining traditional American values. Democrats in turn are championing a younger, more urbanized, diverse, and secular "Coalition of Transformation" that welcomes the evolution in America's racial composition and cultural mores.