In modern-day politics, the terms liberal and conservative evoke certain, preconceived stereotypes about political standing. Blue haired, radical feminist Communists on one end of the spectrum with Bible-thumping homophobes on the other end. Of course, these terms had been radically skewed to meet the demands of the media and political agendas.
George Washington’s Farewell Adress & Political Fears
Even in Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796, these fears about political parties had been clearly outlined. His fears in 1796 had, unfortunately, come true in 2020 with the increased ramifications of the presidential election.
But these preconceived notions haven’t always been so stagnant in American politics. In fact, the current demographic shift has been widely recognized concerning race, particularly as “we find that, by 2032, Hispanic voters will surpass black voters as the largest overall nonwhite voting group. And, by 2036, black voters will make up a larger share of the Democratic coalition than white non college voters. On the other hand, we find that white voters will continue to decline through 2036 as a share of both the Republican and Democratic party coalitions, though this decline will be considerably quicker in fast-growing states such as Arizona and Texas that are already less white” (Brookings).
Evidently, Republicans and Democrats often alternate America’s political alignment with presidential elections, but in the past, these issues were much more convoluted. With such a large influx of immigrants, Democratic political machines rose in power, offering them support in exchange for votes.
Great Depression: Democratic Party Political Realignment
Likewise, with the Great Depression, African American votes, who had aligned themselves with the Republican Party due to Reconstruction and the Civil War, had shifted themselves to the Democratic Party.
New Deal & Vietnam War Impact on American Politics Shift
The New Deal became a huge proponent in determining political parties due to demographics as it revolutionized the power of the federal government. However, in the 1960’s, the Vietnam War caused the Democratic Party to falter due to disagreements within the Party as a result of the controversial War. This change was ignited by the new Republic presidents elected at the time and liberal outbursts towards the Vietnam War. “Young radicals turned away from liberalism in response to the Vietnam War, while moderate Democrats increasingly blamed their party for the rise of lawlessness that had accompanied liberal social change during the decade — especially the explosion of urban rioting that devastated American cities starting in 1964” (American Government).
Cold War Impact on American Politics and Party Realignment
1968 became a defining point in American politics, marked by never before seen changes and shift in the political landscape. Eventually, the Democratic party started to regain its prominence during the Cold War. The fluctuation of political realignment became an on and off trend throughout American history, revealing not only America’s flexibility to accommodate for the people but also the initiative of the people.
“American Government.” The Development of Political Parties, http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/american-government/political-parties/the-development-of-political-parties.
Nelson, Michael. “How Vietnam Broke the Democratic Party.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Mar. 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/opinion/vietnam-broke-democratic-party.html.
“Party Realignment.” US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives, history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Historical-Essays/Temporary-Farewell/Party-Realignment/.
Sides, John. “How Did the Dramatic Election of 1968 Change U.S. Politics? This New Book Explains.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 May 2016, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/05/25/how-did-the-1968-election-change-u-s-politics-so-dramatically-this-new-book-explains/.
U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, history.state.gov/milestones/1784-1800/washington-farewell.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Moosmosis Organization or its members.
© Copyright 2020 Moosmosis – All rights reserved
All rights reserved. This essay or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher.