Has There Been A Political Realignment In The US?
One of the hot topics of late is whether there has been a political realignment that has made Republicans the dominant political party in the United States for the foreseeable future.
The answer? For the Congress, “yes”. But for the Presidency, “No”. Here’s what I mean by that….
Gerrymandering is the name of the game in the House and since the GOP controls a majority of governorships, we have a lot of say about how the districts are drawn out. In essence, that means it will be almost impossible for the Democrats to even GET IN POSITION to take back the House until 2010, when the next census happens. But, because the majority of the country has gone red, even then there’s no guarantee the Dems will be able to take a majority of the governorships, which would go a long way towards allowing them to redraw the districts in a way that would make them more competitive.
In the Senate, the Democrats are in deep trouble as well. That’s because all the “yellow dog Democrats” in the South who in past years would rather have kissed Saddam Hussein’s bottom than voted Republican, are finally changing sides. So for example, Louisiana, which is a fairly conservative state, just sent its first Republican to the Senate since 1877. As the South continues to get redder, the Democrats are probably going to continue to be locked out of power in the Senate.
But can the GOP continue to hold the Presidency? As Bill Clinton proved, not necessarily. Moderate Democrats, especially ones that are willing to triangulate and steal a few Republican issues, are capable of winning national elections. The Democrats still have a large base, plenty of money, and enough mainstream media firepower to keep just about anybody they run in the hunt for the presidency. Heck, if even a stiff like John Kerry can get 48% of the vote, then a decent candidate could certainly win in 2008.
Now here’s a more interesting question: Why has there been a shift towards the GOP? There are a lot of different things that have played a role including…
— The GOP’s success and the Democrat’s failure at handling foreign policy over the last 40 years.
— The sheer awfulness of the Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter presidencies along with the mediocrity of Clinton’s tenure.
— Reagan’s success in revitalizing the economy, rebuilding the military, and breaking the Soviet Union.
— The weakening of the liberal mainstream media’s domination of the news.
But perhaps the biggest factor has been the radical shift leftward of the Democratic party over the last 30 years. Today, large portions of the American left have happily embraced all manner of political poisons, everything from gay marriage, to reparations, Affirmative Action, unchecked illegal immigration, abortion on demand, rabid hostility to Christianity, gun control, bizarre conspiracy theories…you name it.
The left — which dominates the leadership positions in the Democratic Party — has essentially driven a lot of the conservatives and moderates in the Democratic Party into the waiting arms of the GOP. You remember those yellow-dog Democrats in the South that I mentioned? They might have hated the idea of voting for a Republican, but they hated the idea of being associated with people like Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson, and Maureen Dowd even more.
Because the left is so far out of touch, Democratic candidates are often caught in a bind. Do they try to please their radical base and turn-off large numbers of swing voters or do they move to the middle or hope not to alienate the libs in the party? Even when Democratic candidates move to the center these days they’re still tainted by their association with wacko lefties. No matter how many ducks they shoot, speeches they give about their faith, or how many times they solemnly swear that they’ll go after terrorists, most people just don’t believe them.
This is not an insurmountable problem for the Dems, but the Democrats at the center are going to have to be willing to take control away from the liberals who have been slowly but surely dragging the party down for 30 years….and even when they do — well, remember that the American public tends to be very skeptical when they hear politicians claim to have changed the way they do business — and for good reason.
In summary, yes, the country has been slowly, almost glacially, moving to the right for years and yes, we do now have a small, but significant edge over the Democrats. Let’s hope we can keep it up…