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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  Realigning elections
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Scam of God
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« Reply #75 on: January 08, 2009, 04:17:29 pm »

I tend to divide realignments into two paradigms: 'hard' (an ideological shift among the electorate - 1932 and 1980) and 'soft' (party/discourse shifts - 1896 and 1968). Or, perhaps more appropriately, a 'soft' realignment must always occur to lay the theoretical groundwork for the second: the country had to be prepared for economic populism by William Jennings Bryan before it could fully accept Roosevelt's full-on liberalism, and Ronald Reagan needed Richard Nixon to de-align the South and court social conservatives before he could win. Of course, Nixon won where Bryan lost, but Bryan held it close, and has most certainly had a greater influence on American political dialogue in subsequent years that William McKinley.

If this holds true, I would not be surprised to talk about 2008 as a 'soft' re-alignment thirty years from now, in the wake of a Democratic landslide election centered on social libertarianism. The race issue has always been the centerpiece in the social conservative armory, so to speak, even if it is not frequently discussed openly; I believe that Barack Obama is the social liberal's answer to Richard Nixon forty years later. Now we simply need our Ronald Reagan.
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J. J.
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« Reply #76 on: January 08, 2009, 05:10:46 pm »

Nixon actually delivered very little in terms of a traditional realignment.
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Scam of God
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« Reply #77 on: January 08, 2009, 05:20:42 pm »

Nixon actually delivered very little in terms of a traditional realignment.

But he did break up the strangle-hold the Democrats had over the South prior to that time; or, more appropriately, he finalized the dissolution of Democratic power in that region began by Goldwater and expanded it out of the Deep South (he won Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, all states Goldwater failed to carry). Without Nixon to solidify and re-align that region, it's very possible that Reagan could have lost it to Carter, who ran more strongly in the South than he did in any other area of the nation in 1980.
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Mr.Phips
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« Reply #78 on: January 08, 2009, 05:41:03 pm »

Nixon actually delivered very little in terms of a traditional realignment.

But he did break up the strangle-hold the Democrats had over the South prior to that time; or, more appropriately, he finalized the dissolution of Democratic power in that region began by Goldwater and expanded it out of the Deep South (he won Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, all states Goldwater failed to carry). Without Nixon to solidify and re-align that region, it's very possible that Reagan could have lost it to Carter, who ran more strongly in the South than he did in any other area of the nation in 1980.

He did almost nothing downticket for the Republicans. 
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Matt Damon™
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« Reply #79 on: January 08, 2009, 05:42:26 pm »

Traditional bigotries/social division have been the biggest block to economic liberalism. As racism declines, arguments against economic liberalization vanish. I could see the GOP first moving to populism in a realignment but then becoming a moderate/somewhat lefty party on the model of many latin american christian democratic parties.
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Scam of God
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« Reply #80 on: January 08, 2009, 05:43:05 pm »

Nixon actually delivered very little in terms of a traditional realignment.

But he did break up the strangle-hold the Democrats had over the South prior to that time; or, more appropriately, he finalized the dissolution of Democratic power in that region began by Goldwater and expanded it out of the Deep South (he won Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, all states Goldwater failed to carry). Without Nixon to solidify and re-align that region, it's very possible that Reagan could have lost it to Carter, who ran more strongly in the South than he did in any other area of the nation in 1980.

He did almost nothing downticket for the Republicans. 

I don't really take that into consideration - Congressional and Presidential re-alignments seem to happen in different elections, one as the aftershock of another (case in point: 1994, which almost certainly culminated in the election of 2000).
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Mr.Phips
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« Reply #81 on: January 08, 2009, 06:30:54 pm »

Nixon actually delivered very little in terms of a traditional realignment.

But he did break up the strangle-hold the Democrats had over the South prior to that time; or, more appropriately, he finalized the dissolution of Democratic power in that region began by Goldwater and expanded it out of the Deep South (he won Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, all states Goldwater failed to carry). Without Nixon to solidify and re-align that region, it's very possible that Reagan could have lost it to Carter, who ran more strongly in the South than he did in any other area of the nation in 1980.

He did almost nothing downticket for the Republicans. 

I don't really take that into consideration - Congressional and Presidential re-alignments seem to happen in different elections, one as the aftershock of another (case in point: 1994, which almost certainly culminated in the election of 2000).

Reagan saw a big Congressional wave in his 1980 election. 
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pbrower2a
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« Reply #82 on: February 21, 2009, 01:57:28 pm »
« Edited: February 27, 2009, 05:44:47 am by pbrower2a »

For midterm elections, 1994 demonstrated that the Democratic party had lost much of rural America, particularly in the South. Clinton, trimmer that he was, was able to buck the trend and avoid electoral defeat the next year. But the GOP established how it would govern if given the chance.  By 2006 the GOP would lose its Congressional majority due to its misbehavior -- but had it acted differently or had less of a turkey of a President to drag it down, it might not have crashed and burned in 2006.

I look at the 1930 elections (failing economy that repudiated the extant paradigm of political life in 1920s America) and 2006 (culture of corruption) as the real realignments that made the rises of FDR and Obama more relevant or likely. Those Congressional midterm elections gave FDR and Obama opportunities that they might otherwise not have had.

Realignment may come in stages. Some Congressional seats are very solid; some aren't. Roughly one third of the Senate is up for re-election in every second year, so should the GOP lose two or three Senate seats in 2010, which election -- 2006, 2008, or 2010 -- is the real realignment election?

I can't be sure that 2008  represents a realignment in Presidential politics.  The 2008 election demonstrates no obvious and permanent re-alignment of the States from 1992:




In deference to Leip's use of "red" for Democrats and "blue" for Republicans, one finds a clear group of states that have not voted for a Democratic nominee for President since 1988 and one that has never voted for the Republican candidate for President since 1988. In that one finds that the Democrats lead 248-95 (that includes the District of Columbia for the Democrats but excludes NE-02, greater Omaha, which voted for a Democrat in 2008 from the solid-Republican areas, and makes no allowance for reapportionment of electoral votes in elections after 2010). This could be a secularist-fundamentalist divide, or a reflection of the reality that Catholics, Jews, and African-American Protestants vote very differently from Christian Protestant fundamentalists and Mormons. All of the states colored red voted for Obama by double-digit margins, some of those margins very large.

It would take a very strong Republican candidate to pick off even one of those states -- someone like Ronald Reagan, a conservative from California, or perhaps a moderate Republican able to allay liberal fears. Does anyone see any such political figure? I don't. It is not enough to have someone who continues Reagan's ideology without having Reagan's political skills; Obama has Reagan's skills, if not the ideology. Dubya had much of the ideology, but few of Reagan's skills (and few otehr positive attibutes) 

Green reflects the states that have voted only once for a Republican candidate in those years -- New Hampshire,  Iowa, and New Mexico -- in one of the two really-close elections, 2000 and 2004. These are tough states for Republican nominees to win -- and they were close in 2000 and 2004.  Some might contend that because Dubya came close to winning Wisconsin in 2004 it belongs in this category... but Wisconsin looks like a tough state for a Republican nominee to win. States in this category account for 264 electoral votes; that leaves five to tie in electoral votes and six to win for a Democrat.

Yellow, in contrast, is for states that might go Democratic for a southern centrist Democrat (like Carter or Clinton) but not for a northern liberal or barely went for Obama in 2008. West Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina went for Clinton twice, but all went decisively for Dubya -- or for Indiana and NE-02 that, although going for Obama went for narrow margins, show themselves more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole. Clinton never won Indiana, and never got close even though all states surrounding Indiana voted for him. Obama actively campaigned in Indiana, had an unusually-strong campaign and is from a neighboring state (Illinois); the Republicans neglected the state and Indiana started to feel economic distress similar to that in Michigan and Ohio. Obama wins Indiana only in a 400-vote landslide in 2012; he won't be actively campaigning in Indiana in 2012 even if he is in political trouble. Those states account for 66 electoral votes and can't be ruled out as part of a Republican firewall in 2012 -- yet. Because the Democratic nominee for President will NOT be a southern centrist, Obama has little chance at those that Clinton or Carter carried in the South except for Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.   

White is for two states (Florida, Ohio) that were close in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and that Republicans must both win to win the Presidency. If the Democrat wins either of these two states, he wins the Presidency in 2012. Clinton won both states both times, and Obama won both once. 

Gray is for the others -- states that voted for Clinton or Obama from two or three times altogether and were close to going for Obama in 2008 or went for him in 2008 -- and Virginia, which went for Obama by about 7 points. Clinton never won Virginia, but Virginia has been drifting toward the Democrats as it has lost many of its Southern characteristics.

2008 may be a realignment year in Presidential politics... if Virginia has become a part of the political North, if Indiana is no longer a lock for the GOP in all but Democratic blowouts, and if the double-digit Obama win in 2008 in Nevada reflects a permanent tendency. Colorado? It might be in the same category as Virginia, except that it did vote for Clinton twice. I might be more convinced that 2008 was a re-alignment year if Obama had won Colorado or Virginia with a double-digit lead as he won Nevada and New Mexico.

Obama's win in 2008 looks much like one of Clinton's wins -- with Virginia and Indiana instead of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee. That's no obvious re-alignment.

A landslide is not itself a realignment; three consecutive landslides (such as 1980, 1984, and 1988)  mask demographic shifts and grass-roots reorganization of political life that allow political life to emerge very different from what it had been.
     

   
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« Reply #83 on: February 21, 2009, 02:40:09 pm »

Great historical realignings have been elections like 1828, 1856, 1896, 1932 and 1980.
I don't think that 1968 was a realigning election. People consider that it was a beginning of a conservative realignment of the country, and a solid republican government period. It's true that republicans after that won 7 of the 10 next elections. However, it's important to consider that Nixon won by a very narrow margin ( 0,7% ) in a particular context ( racial and anti-war riots, Bob Kennedy's assassination, hardly fought primaries... ). In this time, the marority of the population was liberal or at least moderate. The real conservative realignment happened in 1980.
Is 2008 a realigning election ? Obama managed to make people accept very progressive ideas ( fiscal raising for more wealthy, dialogue with muslim community... ). People is gradually accepting social progresses like homosexual civil unions. Obviously there are still a lot to do... In political terms, democrats have a 2% structural advantage. We won't know if 2008 was a realigning election until several years, but for the moment it looks like.
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Nym90
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« Reply #84 on: March 04, 2009, 10:36:00 pm »
« Edited: March 04, 2009, 10:38:03 pm by Nym90 »

… White is for two states (Florida, Ohio) that were close in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and that Republicans must both win to win the Presidency. If the Democrat wins either of these two states, he wins the Presidency in 2012. Clinton won both states both times, and Obama won both once. …   

Thoughtful analysis. One fact about Bill Clinton: he did not win both Ohio and Florida in his 1992 and 1996 elections. Clinton carried an Ohio-and-Georgia combination in 1992; he then won the Ohio-and-Florida combo in 1996.



Some more errors in the post were that Clinton only won Colorado once; he lost it in 1996. And also Clinton never won North Carolina, much less winning it twice, and as you pointed out, he also did not win Georgia twice, rather he lost it in 1996 too.

Otherwise though, certainly excellent analysis, I agree.
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« Reply #85 on: March 07, 2009, 03:39:14 pm »


1856 was not a realigning election.  How do you make the case for it?
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Grand Mufti of Northern Virginia
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« Reply #86 on: March 07, 2009, 05:09:45 pm »

1800: Democratic-Republicans take over, power shifts from New England to the South, and spells the end of the first two-party system as the Federalists never again regain either the presidency or Congress, and towards the end of this period, the latter shall dissolve entirely after the end of the War of 1812.  Also known as the period of the 'Virginia dynasty'.

1828: Andrew Jackson's presidency heralds the beginning of a more democratic era in American politics, and the second period of a two-party system as the Democratic and Whig parties battle it out. 

1860: With the dissolving of the Whig Party over slavery in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott decision, a new political era opens with the beginning of the third (and current) period of a two-party system as Republicans first begin to establish their ascendancy as they battle it out with Democrats during and after the Civil War.

1896: As Civil War-era issues begin to fade, a new paradigm is set as the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age shape a new era.  Democrats decisively side with populists with the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan, and Republicans under William McKinley and Mark Hanna side with business interests, and triumph twice decisively, marking the beginning of a period of Republican dominance in which all but eight of those years were presided over by a Republican president. 

1932: The Great Depression brings a sudden end to Republican ascendance, and the beginning of an era of Democratic dominance with the New Deal coalition brought together by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  It is during this era that organized labor is at its strongest and most influential. 

1968: Richard Nixon wins and holds on to his presidency with a Southern Strategy that involved eventually turning the South Republican as the Republican Party turned more conservative to cater to disaffected Dixiecrats.  It marks the beginning of a period of conservative dominance, marked later on with the victory of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and the Republican Revolution in 1994, and the final full flowering of the conservative Republican coalition with President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, and final Republican consolidation in the South. 

2008: Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, the grinding quagmire of the Iraq War, the implosion of the conservative Republican coalition that had held together for forty years, a growing insecurity among Americans with and as a result of globalization (and free trade in particular), and the disaffection of the American people (particularly the Millennial generation as it grows older) with conservatism and the Republican Party in general will mark the beginning of another period of Democratic dominance as Americans turn once more to the left.  For their efforts to fight illegal immigration Republicans, rightly or wrongly, will be seen by Latinos as a den of nativists and xenophobes and generally unwelcoming to ethnic minorities.  As with blacks during the 1964 Goldwater campaign, the GOP will decisively cede the Latino vote as a whole to Democrats for at least a generation.  With the GOP so closely associated with the South and the Religious Right in the minds of most Americans, Democrats will find their greatest chance for expanding their power throughout the Rocky Mountain West, especially in the Southwest. 

The only way 2008 will be a realignment is that if Democrats not only win the White House, but also pick up at least a dozen seats in the House and five in the Senate.  Without that happening, the Democratic President will not be able to implement any progressive reforms(i.e. Clinton in 1993-1994).

What do you think now?
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« Reply #87 on: March 07, 2009, 05:14:36 pm »

1800: Democratic-Republicans take over, power shifts from New England to the South, and spells the end of the first two-party system as the Federalists never again regain either the presidency or Congress, and towards the end of this period, the latter shall dissolve entirely after the end of the War of 1812.  Also known as the period of the 'Virginia dynasty'.

1828: Andrew Jackson's presidency heralds the beginning of a more democratic era in American politics, and the second period of a two-party system as the Democratic and Whig parties battle it out. 

1860: With the dissolving of the Whig Party over slavery in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott decision, a new political era opens with the beginning of the third (and current) period of a two-party system as Republicans first begin to establish their ascendancy as they battle it out with Democrats during and after the Civil War.

1896: As Civil War-era issues begin to fade, a new paradigm is set as the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age shape a new era.  Democrats decisively side with populists with the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan, and Republicans under William McKinley and Mark Hanna side with business interests, and triumph twice decisively, marking the beginning of a period of Republican dominance in which all but eight of those years were presided over by a Republican president. 

1932: The Great Depression brings a sudden end to Republican ascendance, and the beginning of an era of Democratic dominance with the New Deal coalition brought together by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  It is during this era that organized labor is at its strongest and most influential. 

1968: Richard Nixon wins and holds on to his presidency with a Southern Strategy that involved eventually turning the South Republican as the Republican Party turned more conservative to cater to disaffected Dixiecrats.  It marks the beginning of a period of conservative dominance, marked later on with the victory of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and the Republican Revolution in 1994, and the final full flowering of the conservative Republican coalition with President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, and final Republican consolidation in the South. 

2008: Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, the grinding quagmire of the Iraq War, the implosion of the conservative Republican coalition that had held together for forty years, a growing insecurity among Americans with and as a result of globalization (and free trade in particular), and the disaffection of the American people (particularly the Millennial generation as it grows older) with conservatism and the Republican Party in general will mark the beginning of another period of Democratic dominance as Americans turn once more to the left.  For their efforts to fight illegal immigration Republicans, rightly or wrongly, will be seen by Latinos as a den of nativists and xenophobes and generally unwelcoming to ethnic minorities.  As with blacks during the 1964 Goldwater campaign, the GOP will decisively cede the Latino vote as a whole to Democrats for at least a generation.  With the GOP so closely associated with the South and the Religious Right in the minds of most Americans, Democrats will find their greatest chance for expanding their power throughout the Rocky Mountain West, especially in the Southwest. 

The only way 2008 will be a realignment is that if Democrats not only win the White House, but also pick up at least a dozen seats in the House and five in the Senate.  Without that happening, the Democratic President will not be able to implement any progressive reforms(i.e. Clinton in 1993-1994).

What do you think now?

I don't think we can call 2008 anything until at least 2020/2024.
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J. J.
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« Reply #88 on: March 07, 2009, 05:54:59 pm »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.  I think that might be the start of a re-alignment.
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« Reply #89 on: March 07, 2009, 06:07:32 pm »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.

I disagree.  People say that 1968 was a realignment, but the GOP didn't do so well in 1970.  Congressional elections are, I find, not a good way to tell if something was a realignment.  The Democrats could do poorly in 2010, but landslide in 2012/2014/2016.  Presidential elections matter a lot more in determining a realignment than Congressional elections do.
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J. J.
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« Reply #90 on: March 07, 2009, 06:28:38 pm »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.

I disagree.  People say that 1968 was a realignment, but the GOP didn't do so well in 1970.  Congressional elections are, I find, not a good way to tell if something was a realignment.  The Democrats could do poorly in 2010, but landslide in 2012/2014/2016.  Presidential elections matter a lot more in determining a realignment than Congressional elections do.

I actually know very few people, in academia, that claim 1968 was a re-alignment, after the fact.  It is very hard to tell a realignment at the start.

It won't be a question of the Democrats doing poorly, but how poorly.
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« Reply #91 on: March 08, 2009, 07:14:31 am »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.

I disagree.  People say that 1968 was a realignment, but the GOP didn't do so well in 1970.  Congressional elections are, I find, not a good way to tell if something was a realignment.  The Democrats could do poorly in 2010, but landslide in 2012/2014/2016.  Presidential elections matter a lot more in determining a realignment than Congressional elections do.

I actually know very few people, in academia, that claim 1968 was a re-alignment, after the fact.  It is very hard to tell a realignment at the start.

It won't be a question of the Democrats doing poorly, but how poorly.

Indeed. Many experts see the election of Carter in 1976 as a classic Democrat victory in the model of any post New Deal election. The Deep South returned to the Democrats after the civil rights upheavals of the 60's. CA, IL and MI were Republican in that close election.

For those experts 1980 is the realignment. After that TX, AL, MS, and SC have been strictly GOP for President.
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Dr. RI
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« Reply #92 on: March 09, 2009, 04:11:45 pm »
« Edited: March 09, 2009, 04:13:35 pm by Senator Realisticidealist »

I would make the argument that 1932 was not a realigning election in and of itself. The realignment took place between the 1932 and 1936 elections. After analyzing the county maps between 1928 and 1932, the simple fact is this: Counties that were more strongly Democratic in 1928 were, by and large, more strongly Democratic in 1932 and vise versa. There was merely a vast shift in the baseline of the national popular vote during that time.

1928:

link: http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp131/rarohla/1928PresidentialElectionMap.png

1932:

link: http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp131/rarohla/1932PresidentialElectionMap.png

The 1936 election has a relatively similar margin (though wider) to 1932. However, a vast number of counties experienced radical shifts. A prime example of this is the "hollowing out" of the Great Plains. In 1932, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska were all 60%+ for Roosevelt while the surrounding states were almost unanimously only between 50% and 59%; however, four years later, it was the inverse. The Dakotas and Nebraska (plus Kansas-which saw a large increase in Republican counties in 1936) were the island of 50%s in a sea of 60%s.

Other shifts in allegiances were also notable. Northern Minnesota was the more Republican area of the state in 1932 while southern Minnesota was the Democratic stronghold. By 1936, this was flipped. Similarly, the base of the Democratic power in Wisconsin shifted from the eastern regions to the north of the state. Missouri, despite the national swing to the Dems, saw a massive increase in Republican counties in the western portions. Other notable changes can be seen throughout the West as in states such as Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, California, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado. Subtles shifts also occured in Illinois, Ohio (partied largely changed sides of the state), and Michigan.

1936:

link: http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp131/rarohla/1936PresidentialElectionMap.png

Finally, the alignments from the 1936 election were, for the most part, long lasting. Compare the which parties are stronger where between the 1936 map and this 1960 map:


link: http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp131/rarohla/1960PresidentialElectionMap.png
(Obviously, the south was changing for other reasons by this point)
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Mr.Phips
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« Reply #93 on: March 09, 2009, 05:03:34 pm »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.

I disagree.  People say that 1968 was a realignment, but the GOP didn't do so well in 1970.  Congressional elections are, I find, not a good way to tell if something was a realignment.  The Democrats could do poorly in 2010, but landslide in 2012/2014/2016.  Presidential elections matter a lot more in determining a realignment than Congressional elections do.

I actually know very few people, in academia, that claim 1968 was a re-alignment, after the fact.  It is very hard to tell a realignment at the start.

It won't be a question of the Democrats doing poorly, but how poorly.

I dont quite get what you are saying here.  If Democrats do well in 2010, its a realignment in favor of them.  If its a neutral or only small Republican gains, its no realignment.  If its big Republican gains, its a realignment. 
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« Reply #94 on: March 09, 2009, 05:22:19 pm »

It's pretty amusing that A18 demolished realignment theory on this forum years ago and yet people still discuss it because it's such an entertaining concept.
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pbrower2a
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« Reply #95 on: March 09, 2009, 09:04:21 pm »

1800: Democratic-Republicans take over, power shifts from New England to the South, and spells the end of the first two-party system as the Federalists never again regain either the presidency or Congress, and towards the end of this period, the latter shall dissolve entirely after the end of the War of 1812.  Also known as the period of the 'Virginia dynasty'.

1828: Andrew Jackson's presidency heralds the beginning of a more democratic era in American politics, and the second period of a two-party system as the Democratic and Whig parties battle it out. 

1860: With the dissolving of the Whig Party over slavery in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott decision, a new political era opens with the beginning of the third (and current) period of a two-party system as Republicans first begin to establish their ascendancy as they battle it out with Democrats during and after the Civil War.

1896: As Civil War-era issues begin to fade, a new paradigm is set as the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age shape a new era.  Democrats decisively side with populists with the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan, and Republicans under William McKinley and Mark Hanna side with business interests, and triumph twice decisively, marking the beginning of a period of Republican dominance in which all but eight of those years were presided over by a Republican president. 

1932: The Great Depression brings a sudden end to Republican ascendance, and the beginning of an era of Democratic dominance with the New Deal coalition brought together by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  It is during this era that organized labor is at its strongest and most influential. 

1968: Richard Nixon wins and holds on to his presidency with a Southern Strategy that involved eventually turning the South Republican as the Republican Party turned more conservative to cater to disaffected Dixiecrats.  It marks the beginning of a period of conservative dominance, marked later on with the victory of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and the Republican Revolution in 1994, and the final full flowering of the conservative Republican coalition with President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, and final Republican consolidation in the South. 

2008: Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, the grinding quagmire of the Iraq War, the implosion of the conservative Republican coalition that had held together for forty years, a growing insecurity among Americans with and as a result of globalization (and free trade in particular), and the disaffection of the American people (particularly the Millennial generation as it grows older) with conservatism and the Republican Party in general will mark the beginning of another period of Democratic dominance as Americans turn once more to the left.  For their efforts to fight illegal immigration Republicans, rightly or wrongly, will be seen by Latinos as a den of nativists and xenophobes and generally unwelcoming to ethnic minorities.  As with blacks during the 1964 Goldwater campaign, the GOP will decisively cede the Latino vote as a whole to Democrats for at least a generation.  With the GOP so closely associated with the South and the Religious Right in the minds of most Americans, Democrats will find their greatest chance for expanding their power throughout the Rocky Mountain West, especially in the Southwest. 

The only way 2008 will be a realignment is that if Democrats not only win the White House, but also pick up at least a dozen seats in the House and five in the Senate.  Without that happening, the Democratic President will not be able to implement any progressive reforms(i.e. Clinton in 1993-1994).

What do you think now?

2008 does not look like one of the biggest realignments of all time. 1992 was far bigger, and one can explain the 2008 election as having many patterns from 1992 and 1996. The only obvious differences are that Obama picks up three states that Clinton never won (VA, NC, and IN) and recognize that Obama loses several states that a Southern moderate populist like Clinton could win (AR, LA, KY, TN, WV, GA) but a Northern liberal Democrat does not win. If Obama wins Missouri instead of North Carolina (possible except for third-party candidates that took votes away from the loser from the same side of the political spectrum), then the difference between 2008 and 1992/1996 is the sort of candidate running as President.
Obama could conceivably pick up Missouri, Montana, and Arizona in 2012 in addition to what he won in 2008, and that would not suggest a realignment; Missouri and Montana were close in 2008, and a win of Arizona would show that the Republicans would not have won the state with anyone other than John McCain.  The Dakotas? Roughly the same thing.

But what happens if Obama picks up a raft of states in that Clinton won in the South but Obama got clobbered in, or Texas? Those would indicate a huge change in the political scene, one in which southern states can vote for a northern liberal. That would also signal at the least an Eisenhower-scale landslide that forces an electoral realignment of some kind -- either the Republican Party re-inventing itself or the eventual split of the Democratic Party after the GOP dies.
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J. J.
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« Reply #96 on: March 09, 2009, 09:16:35 pm »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.

I disagree.  People say that 1968 was a realignment, but the GOP didn't do so well in 1970.  Congressional elections are, I find, not a good way to tell if something was a realignment.  The Democrats could do poorly in 2010, but landslide in 2012/2014/2016.  Presidential elections matter a lot more in determining a realignment than Congressional elections do.

I actually know very few people, in academia, that claim 1968 was a re-alignment, after the fact.  It is very hard to tell a realignment at the start.

It won't be a question of the Democrats doing poorly, but how poorly.

I dont quite get what you are saying here.  If Democrats do well in 2010, its a realignment in favor of them.  If its a neutral or only small Republican gains, its no realignment.  If its big Republican gains, its a realignment. 

I expect Republican gains in 2010, but that will be expected.  I could see the Democrats losing 20-25 seats in the House, doing worse than the GOP did in 2008, and it not being an indication of a realignment.  The Democrats would still do poorly.

Realignments tend to be 6-8 year affairs, not just one election.  2010 might indicate the start.

If I would see results like 1994 in 2010, I think I'd be looking for a realignment in 2012.
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Mr.Phips
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« Reply #97 on: March 09, 2009, 09:36:25 pm »

We'll be able to tell if 2008 wasn't in 2010.

I disagree.  People say that 1968 was a realignment, but the GOP didn't do so well in 1970.  Congressional elections are, I find, not a good way to tell if something was a realignment.  The Democrats could do poorly in 2010, but landslide in 2012/2014/2016.  Presidential elections matter a lot more in determining a realignment than Congressional elections do.

I actually know very few people, in academia, that claim 1968 was a re-alignment, after the fact.  It is very hard to tell a realignment at the start.

It won't be a question of the Democrats doing poorly, but how poorly.

I dont quite get what you are saying here.  If Democrats do well in 2010, its a realignment in favor of them.  If its a neutral or only small Republican gains, its no realignment.  If its big Republican gains, its a realignment. 

I expect Republican gains in 2010, but that will be expected.  I could see the Democrats losing 20-25 seats in the House, doing worse than the GOP did in 2008, and it not being an indication of a realignment.  The Democrats would still do poorly.

Realignments tend to be 6-8 year affairs, not just one election.  2010 might indicate the start.

If I would see results like 1994 in 2010, I think I'd be looking for a realignment in 2012.

Losing 20-25 seats in the House for Democrats would be almost as bad as the 1994 results considering that there wont likely be so many open Democratic seats and there are fewer vulnerable incumbents than after 1992(which sent a record number of Democratic freshmen to Congress).  If we see a 1994 like result in 2010, it would actually mean that it is more likely that Obama will be reelected big in 2012 because Obama will be able to run hard against the Republican Congress like Clinton in 1996.  However, a Republican Congress after 2010 is almost impossible. 
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #98 on: March 10, 2009, 02:44:06 pm »

Realignments tend to be 6-8 year affairs, not just one election.

Back that up with evidence plz.

I'm actually quite serious. Back your argument up. You can't expect people to treat your opinions as factual anymore (and it's a bad habit to get into in the first place), not after last year.

Prove your point.
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A18
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« Reply #99 on: March 10, 2009, 08:12:01 pm »

The first and only "realigning election" will occur precisely two and a half days after the general public has finally abandoned the ridiculous paradigm. So in other words, never.
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