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The Shift in American Politics: Political & Party Realignment

Modern-Day Politics

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). 

Which political direction will America take in the future?

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

Outside a free soup kitchen, unemployed Americans line up for free food. (Source: Wikimedia)

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). 

American soldiers of the Vietnam War (Source: 50th Commemoration National Guard)

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. 

Political comic: Each ball represents each US state’s flag! Source: Wikimedia Commons

Works Cited

“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.

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3 replies »

  1. A vote counts as a number. It is only ever a number. To the person who agrees with whomever has sided with them, they most likely will never question why that person voted for them. When does a politician ever question the intelligence of a voter? They don’t, unless they yearn for a battle between leader and citizen, in debate form.

    For families, people know each other. For numbers, and for the sake of convenience, there is no need to understand the intelligence behind a voter. There is no need to know a voter. There is not need to ever get to know a voter, because a voter is among a sea of a million other voters, so there is no need to dive into the individual voter’s mind.

    What a voter is depended on, is their ability to raise their hand to the words they approve of. So long as a voter can fill out their ballot, and send in the vote, they are in. Their intelligence, their reasoning, their simple desire to vote, is never asked for by the politician, themselves.

    It is WHY politicians segregate the voters into groups, rather than simply calling them “voters”. They do this so they can understand these groups at least on a group level, rather than an individual level, so they can better understand what a group is dependent on.

    I’ll repeat it. A voter is not counted on intelligence, though only the dependency needed for a ruler to do their job.

    You can contrast a family of people who know each other, have spent evenings talking with each other… from a gang of sorts, with a boss who only ever hires people with blank checks. So long as you have a pair of lungs to breathe with, a heart that thumps, and a pair of legs to move yourself, this is the mindset any politician of today’s time thrives on.

    Liked by 1 person

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