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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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Author Topic: Realigning elections  (Read 74257 times)
A18
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« on: August 15, 2005, 07:10:23 pm »

What elections do you consider "realigning" elections? Explain and discuss.
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PBrunsel
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2005, 08:23:09 pm »

1928:

Democrats win the big cities (a majority of them) for the first time in history.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2005, 09:50:31 am »

1800 could be considered the first realigning election, as Jefferson broke the Federalist control on the Northeast by winning New York.  This set the Federalist into a decline from which they never recovered, and pushed the country towards the Era of Good Feelings.

1828 was the next realigning election.  Jackson's election to the presidency could be considered the first time a candidate was elected with support of the common people versus a candidate (Adams) who was supported by the rich and powerful.  In short, it was the first election along social lines and split the Northeast from the West and South.

1860 was a major realigning election, as for the first time the country was truly split in half along party lines.  The Deep South states voted for the Southern Democrat while the North voted for the candidate of the new Republican Party.  It also saw the end of the Whig Party and the Whigs' move to the Republicans.

1896 was a realigning election in that it pitted the farmers and populists against the big-business interests from the East.  Although the Republicans maintained control, they would continue to develop their stance as the party of business, and they would remain in power until the early 1930s.

1932 -Although PBrunsel marks 1928 as the realigning election, the fact is that after 1928 Republicans remained in control to some degree.  The 1932 election saw the formation of the New Deal coalition of Catholics, Southerners, Westerners, minorities, and labor unions.  This coalition would be the core of the Democratic Party until it began to unravel in the early '80s.

1968 I consider this to be also a realigning election because Nixon formally adopted the Southern Strategy for Republican presidential candidates and solidified those states that Goldwater won in '64 into the Republican column.  The South began its swing from Democratic stronghold to Sunbelt Republican territory, not fully transforming at the state level until 26 years later.


Republicans may argue that 1980 and 1994 midterms were also realigning elections, but I think they are just repercussions of the 1968 election.  1994 and 2002 might also have been signs that the Republican domination of politics is at its peak (like the Democrats in 1964 election and the 1974 midterms).  I expect that the next realigning election will occur in the next sixteen years or so, depending on what happens with Iraq and terrorism and also if the Dems can shift their strategy on social issues.
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A18
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2005, 10:05:28 am »

I don't consider 1896, 1932, or 1968 re-aligning elections.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2005, 10:25:53 am »

I don't consider 1896, 1932, or 1968 re-aligning elections.

Why not?  Maybe you define "realigning election" differently?
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A18
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2005, 10:35:38 am »

I don't believe in the concept of "realigning elections" to begin with. New voting patterns and bases of power emerge all the time.

There's just nothing special about those three.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2005, 10:43:17 am »

I don't believe in the concept of "realigning elections" to begin with. New voting patterns and bases of power emerge all the time.


If you don't believe in the concept of realigning elections, then why did you start this thread in the first place?  Also, if you rule out those three, do you think the others had some long-term consequences in voter realignment?

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A18
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2005, 10:52:21 am »

To get other people's opinions.

The problem is that we don't have vote totals for elections up until 1824, so it's hard to gauge any change in voting patterns there. The election of 1860 was certainly critical, but the point is that any trend is gradual and doesn't just emerge in one election.
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Pestilence Comes Out of Retirement
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2005, 11:04:17 am »


I agree with all of those.  1968 is probably the biggest realigning election in recent times.

Between 1968 and today there has been a gradual realignment of the Mississippi/Missouri Valley to the Republicans and the coastal suburbs to the Democrats.  SD, IA, WI, MN, MO, and AR and TN, especially the rural parts of those states, have shifted right.  NJ, CT, NH, DE, and CA, as well as suburban parts of NY, MI, and IL (the "third coast") have shifted left.

This is a consequence of Dem/Rep dichotomy shifting almost completely from an economic split to a social split.  This is the "realignment" of the last 30 years.  Therefore 2000 could be seen as a realigning election, as it solidified the Republican hold of the heartland, and the Democrat hold of the coasts.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2005, 11:31:42 am »


I agree with all of those.  1968 is probably the biggest realigning election in recent times.

Between 1968 and today there has been a gradual realignment of the Mississippi/Missouri Valley to the Republicans and the coastal suburbs to the Democrats.  SD, IA, WI, MN, MO, and AR and TN, especially the rural parts of those states, have shifted right.  NJ, CT, NH, DE, and CA, as well as suburban parts of NY, MI, and IL (the "third coast") have shifted left.

This is a consequence of Dem/Rep dichotomy shifting almost completely from an economic split to a social split.  This is the "realignment" of the last 30 years.  Therefore 2000 could be seen as a realigning election, as it solidified the Republican hold of the heartland, and the Democrat hold of the coasts.


Interesting.  I thought the Upper Mississippi Valley was a reliably Democratic region, especially in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
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Pestilence Comes Out of Retirement
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2005, 11:50:10 am »


Interesting.  I thought the Upper Mississippi Valley was a reliably Democratic region, especially in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Was.  The upper Mississipi is still somewhat Democratic (it barely managed to win WI and MN for Gore and Kerry), but nowhere near as much, compared to the nation at large, as it was in 1988, when Dukakis won WI, MN, and IA in the midst of a Bush landslide:

1988:


2000:
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2005, 11:59:44 am »

The problem with realigning elections is that it's hard to spot them until time passes... usually.
I tend to think that 2000 and 2004 were more the natural culmination of 1968 rather than anything new... things could be about to realign fairly soon as a lot of potentially crucial issues (like healthcare) seem likely to explode so to speak.
Things could get interesting. Wait and see.
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A18
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2005, 12:31:47 pm »

The elections of 2000 and 2004 were obviously realigning in that they pitted rural areas against cities like no other time since 1896.

Those are completely new voting patterns, and having to do with 1968 at all.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2005, 12:37:08 pm »

Those are completely new voting patterns, and having to do with 1968 at all.

No, they are a natural result of the electoral forces that got started in 1968; namely the growing importance of cultural/wedge issues.
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Pestilence Comes Out of Retirement
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2005, 12:41:45 pm »

The elections of 2000 and 2004 were obviously realigning in that they pitted rural areas against cities like no other time since 1896.

Those are completely new voting patterns, and having to do with 1968 at all.

In 1968 the GOP sold its soul to social reactionism - a move techincally unnecessary after the Donkey imploded in Chicago, but that's neither here nor there - and that current of conservatism has carried through to the present day.  Carter and Clinton were both Southern, and both could at least "talk the talk" when it came to "rural" social vaules, so in some ways that delayed the shift.  But 2000 saw its final culmination.

I think 2000 is a realignment, but it has its roots in the 1960s.
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A18
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2005, 12:45:34 pm »

If they were the natural result of those electoral forces, this would have occured a lot earlier.

Cities are now voting more Democratic than ever before in the history of the nation (Cook County, Philadelphia County, San Francisco County, New York County). Meanwhile, Democrats are shut out of most rural area.
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Pestilence Comes Out of Retirement
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2005, 12:50:39 pm »

Those are completely new voting patterns, and having to do with 1968 at all.

No, they are a natural result of the electoral forces that got started in 1968; namely the growing importance of cultural/wedge issues.

Remember, though, that the northern liberal Dukakis did quite well in some very socially conservative parts of the country - West Virginia and the heartland - so I think that does place some emphasis on the importance of 2000.  If you look at 2000 versus previous elections, in states like Wisconsin and Iowa, the Democrat support went from being widely spread in those states to very concentrated in urban areas and college towns.  This is a very recent phenomenon.

It might be an indirect result of 1968, but it's still a realignment.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2005, 12:56:29 pm »

It might be an indirect result of 1968, but it's still a realignment.

True (I should add that Dukakis only did as well as he did in WV because Arch Moore tainted the entire Republican party in WV) but not a major realignment as such... I'm increasingly thinking that you get a "minor" realignment every few elections or so but a big one only comes up every few decades. Kind of like earthquakes along a fault line.
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A18
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2005, 12:59:56 pm »

It's certainly more major than a few southern states voting Republican.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2005, 01:06:54 pm »

It's certainly more major than a few southern states voting Republican.

The fact that those Southern states were starting to vote Republican in the first place was remarkable in itself in 1964 and '68.  Except for the Hoover landslide of 1928 and some other minor deviations, most of these states had not voted Republican since Reconstruction. 
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2005, 01:09:53 pm »

It's certainly more major than a few southern states voting Republican.

The fact that those Southern states were starting to vote Republican in the first place was remarkable in itself in 1964 and '68.  Except for the Hoover landslide of 1928 and some other minor deviations, most of these states had not voted Republican since Reconstruction. 

...and there was more to '68 than just that as well.
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A18
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« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2005, 01:24:27 pm »

Thousands of rural counties are voting like it's 1984, while cities pile up Democratic majorities never before seen, even during the darkest days of the Great Depression. That's pretty major.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2005, 02:02:46 pm »

Thousands of rural counties are voting like it's 1984, while cities pile up Democratic majorities never before seen, even during the darkest days of the Great Depression. That's pretty major.

I didn't say that those changes were minor.  I thought you were downplaying the results of a Southern shift in party allegiance as minor, so that's what I responded to.
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Pestilence Comes Out of Retirement
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2005, 02:40:45 pm »


The fact that those Southern states were starting to vote Republican in the first place was remarkable in itself in 1964 and '68.  Except for the Hoover landslide of 1928 and some other minor deviations, most of these states had not voted Republican since Reconstruction. 

...and there was more to '68 than just that as well.

Yes.  Before 1968 you could be a socially conservative Democrat (Strom Thrumond) and a socially liberal Republican (Eisenhower).  To some extent you could be either between 1968 and 1980.  But after Reagan took office the social lines were set in stone.  That's what's so significant about 1968.
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Virginian87
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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2005, 02:49:23 pm »


The fact that those Southern states were starting to vote Republican in the first place was remarkable in itself in 1964 and '68.  Except for the Hoover landslide of 1928 and some other minor deviations, most of these states had not voted Republican since Reconstruction. 

...and there was more to '68 than just that as well.

Yes.  Before 1968 you could be a socially conservative Democrat (Strom Thrumond) and a socially liberal Republican (Eisenhower).  To some extent you could be either between 1968 and 1980.  But after Reagan took office the social lines were set in stone.  That's what's so significant about 1968.


Kinda sad that the social lines are set in stone.  It makes for less eclectic parties.
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