Neither Party Is Completely Blameless
The political history of African-Americans is often proved Douglas right. Yet, no one from any background whether a political, religious, or racial background should ever love any political party above principle. Although, history is clear that there have been major differences in how political parties treated black Americans. Neither party is completely blameless in all of its actions, nor have all the leaders in a party always been good or always been bad.
Understanding this truth, Representative Robert Brown Elliot, even though he was a strong Republican leader in his day, wisely advised, I am a slave to principles. I call no political party master. I have ever most sincerely embraced the democratic and representative ideal. Not indeed, as represented or professed by any political party but by its true significance, as transfigured in the Declaration of Independence and in the injunctions of Christianity.
Elliots admonition is wise. A line with political candidates that conform to what he called, The Injunctions of Christianity.
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1That is to say, rhetorically devoted to smaller government even while increasing governments size and power to regulate behavior with, e.g. Prohibitionbut thats another wrinkle to this story.
Other Factors Of Note Regarding Switching Platforms Progressivism The Red Scare Immigration Religion And Civil Rights In 54
Other key factors involve the Red Scare , the effect of immigration, unions, and the Catholic vote on the parties.
The Republican party changed after losing to Wilson and moved away from progressivism and toward classical liberal values under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. In this time they also became increasingly anti-Communist following WWI . While both parties were anti-Communist and pro-Capitalist, Wilsons brand of progressive southern bourbon liberalism and his New Freedom plan and then FDRs brand of progressive liberalism and his New Deal were opposed by Republicans like Hoover due to their use of the state to ensure social justice. Then after WWII, the Second Red Scare reignited the conversation, further dividing factions and parties.
Another important thing to note is that the Democratic party has historically been pro-immigrant . Over time this attracted new immigrant groups like Northern Catholics and earned them the support of Unions . Big City Machines like Tammany Hall also play a role in this aspect of the story as well. The immigrant vote is one of the key factors in changing the Democratic party over time in terms of progressivism, unions, religion, and geolocation , and it is well suited to be its own subject.
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Southernization Urbanization And Big Government Vs Small Government
Today the Republican party doesnt have a notable progressive left-wing and the Democratic Party doesnt have a notable socially conservative right-wing.
Instead both parties have establishment and populist wings and the parties are divided by stances on social issues.
In other words, regional interests and the basic political identities of liberal and conservative didnt change as much as factions changed parties as party platforms changed along with America.
The modern split is expressed well by the left-right paradigm Big Government Progressivism vs. Small Government Social Conservatism, where socially conservative and pro-business conservative factions banded together against socially liberal and pro business liberal factions, to push back against an increasingly progressive Democratic Party and America .
This tension largely created the modern parties of our two-party system, resulting in two Big Tents who disagree on the purposes of government and social issues. This tension is then magnified by the current influence of media and lobbyists, and can be understood by examining what I call the Sixth Party Strategy and by a tactic called Dog Whistle Politics).
The result is that today the Democratic Party is dominated by liberal Democrats and Progressives.
Meanwhile, most of those who would have been the old socially conservative Democrats now have a R next to their name.
Just look at the 115th United States Congress under Trump .
An Overview Of The Platform Switching By Party System And President From The Founders To Eisenhower
The First and Second Party Systems included some important changes and debates. Examples included the argument over the Federalist favored Constitution, and the Anti-Federalist favored Articles of Confederation and Bill of Rights and debates over slavery, modernization, and banking. Major changes began at the end of the Second Party System.
The Second Party system ended with the Whig Party dissolving in 1854. They were critically divided by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the related debate over manifest destiny and popular sovereignty . The heated battle over whether Kansas should be a slave state, and the debate over whether the south could keep expanding southward creating slave states, resulted in the country being split. This had happened in the Mexican-American war. One faction became the Northern Republicans and their allies the Union, who wanted to hold together the Union under a strong central government. The other became the Southern ex-Democrats and their allies the Confederacy, who wanted independence and wanted to expand southward, to for instance Cuba, creating new slave states. By the time Lincoln took office in 1861, the division was inescapable
FACT: The tension was so great the Democratic party ceased to exist from 1861 1865 as the Confederacy rejected the concept of party systems which is why we refer to them ex-Democrats above.
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An Overview Of Platform Switching Between Republicans And Democrats
Above we gave a summary of the party systems, below we will look at key changes, key voter issues, and provide more details and justifications .
With the above said, there isnt one change that results in the political realignments and platform switches that define the Party Systems instead, there are many.
Below is an overview of the most important changes alongside a quick history of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
A Response To The Claim Welfare Is Equatable To Slavery
In the 1850s, inequality in the Northern big government cities, northern immigration in the big cities , and African slavery in the small government south all existed side-by-side. and in ways, so it is today . Northern cities still favor bigger government, and they still have problems of racism and inequality, Rural South still favors small government . This does not make the North of today equatable to the slave economy of the South of yesterday however.
There is this idea that welfare is equatable to slavery in this respect, as in both cases a societal structure is providing basic essentials for a class of people . This argument, often presented in tandem with the claim the parties didnt switch/change is essentially a red herring that misses the nuances we describe on this page .
The southern conservatives who held slaves and fought for the Confederacy essentially switched out of the Democratic party starting in the 1960s, and even continuing to the modern day , in response to LBJs welfare programs . In other words, if the southern conservative had wanted to oppress a class of people with welfare, one would logically assume they wouldnt have switched out of the Democratic party over time in response to welfare programs.
Today it is a Southern Republican who flies to Confederate flag, today it is a Republican who champions small government in America. Yesterday, it was a Southern Democrat.
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Why Is Red For Republicans And Blue For Democrats
In any 2020 electoral map, the color scheme is clear: Red is for Republicans, blue is for Democrats. But where did this universal agreement on color-coding come from?
It’s relatively new. Though red and blue have often been used to stand in for opposing sides in U.S. political history, it’s only since the 2000 election that red and blue have been assigned to the political parties consistently.
That year, The New York Times and USA Today published full-color electoral maps for the first time, and according to The Verge , they assigned the colors fairly arbitrarily.
“ed begins with r, Republican begins with r,” senior graphics editor Archie Tse told The Verge. “It was a more natural association.”
The political parties have now embraced their assigned colors, with Democrats urging citizens to “Vote Blue!” and supporters of Donald Trump donning red “Make America Great Again” hats. But it could have easily gone the other way. According to The History Channel , the first colorful electoral maps on television were broadcast in 1976, but there was no consistency between networks as to what colors were used for which party. Red often stood in for Democrats, and blue for Republicans.
Originally published on Live Science.
The Solid South Switch And Southern Strategy
Although it is hardly the only switch that happens in American political history, the Solid South Switch , is both one of the easiest to spot, easiest to prove, and one of the most impactful switches.
The Deep South, unlike most of the country, has often had a one-party system at the state level , and that makes them an easy place to look for changes .
To prove the switch, we can first confirm southern political history up to the 1950s via works like V.O. Keys Southern Politics in State and Nation .
In his classic work of political realism, Key documents the history of the South to explain that what we might describe as Progressive Reformist Populists, Southern Socially Conservative Populists, Small Government Libertarians, agrarian Southern Conservative business people, and Bourbon Liberal Pro-Business Redeemers were all Solidly in the Democratic Party in the South from the Gilded Age to the start of the 1950s.
This isnt to say there werent progressive Republican factions, Gilded Age small business pro-Gold Libertarian-like Republicans, or America-First Know-Nothing Republicans in the North and South, this is to say, we are talking about the dominate solid south factions who vote in lock-step here .
From the start of the 1950s on, we can then confirm the consequent changes via the Republican southern strategies .
Then we can show how, even though not everything changes, this led to a switch over party stances on key voter issues.
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Moving On And Notes For Skeptics
With the above said, any shorthand way to describe how changing factions led to what we can call changing parties it is bound to leave out key details, as the full story is as complex as American history.
Below we tell the long and complicated history of the American parties and party systems in order to illustrate the changing platforms, parties, members, and factions and to find out what did or didnt change. The idea is to prove a point , it is to accurately portray our history.
I would say to the skeptics: we can have a real conversation here about what did or didnt change in each party, but the history presented here, the changing Congressional seats over time, the changing voter base of the parties over time, and more show that there are many very real and important changes to discuss.
Sure today we all want to identify with Lincoln the First Republican President, but does this not do a disservice to the half of the nation that succeeded in the name of States Rights and small government in response to that Republican won election?
Of course, if there is one bonus in everyone trying to appropriate Lincoln, it is that perhaps we will all heed his advice that a house divided against itself cannot stand .
To see a visual of how this all results in the red and blue states switching, simply watch the video below. For an alternative viewpoint, check out the story of William Jennings Bryan, the father of modern American left-wing and right-wing populism .
Understanding The Namesakes Of The Major Us Parties
- Jeffersons original faction, which essentially became the Democrats, was called the Anti-Federalists, as in Against Big Government Federalism and for States Rights.
- Likewise, Hamiltons faction, which essentially became the Whigs and then the Republicans, was called the Federalists, as in For Big Government Federalism over States Rights.
In other words, it was essentially the opposite of what it is today, but that aside, the namesakes of the major political parties can be explained like this:
Originally, at the Constitutional Convention, the anti-Federalists were against the Constitution and for the Articles of Confederation.
From then to the Civil War the anti-Federalists and then Democrats were generally more for a Confederation of States that could support an agrarian democracy than for strong central aristocratic Union.
In other words, from the Articles of Confederation to the Confederacy, those who called themselves Anti-Federalists and Democrats preferred a States Rights Democracy, while those who called themselves Federalist, Whigs, and Republicans favored a more aristocratic or Whig-like Republicanform of government.
Noting that for a moment both parties came together for a few moments of good feelings as Democratic-Republicans, we can say that in any era there is a against big government party and a for big government party.
Of course, confusingly what party was for what has notably changed in general since the solid south switch .
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The South And The House Go Republican
I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come, President Johnson said shortly after signing the Civil Rights Act, according to his aide . And indeed, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican specifically for this reason.
Yet party loyalties take a long time to shake off, and the shift of white Southerners from being solid Democrats to solid Republicans was in reality more gradual.
And while race played an important role in this shift, other issues played roles too. White evangelical Christians became newly mobilized to oppose abortion and take stands on other culture war issues, and felt more at home with the conservative party. There was that suspicion of big government and lack of union organization that permeated the region. And talented politicians like Ronald Reagan promised to defend traditional values.
Still, Democrats continued to maintain control of the House of Representatives for some time, in large part because of continued support from Southerners, as shown in this map by Jonathan Davis at Arizona State University. But in 1994, the revolution finally arrived, as Republicans took the House for the first time since 1955. And many of the crucial pickups that made that possible came in the South.
Pennsylvania Dems Are Switching To Republicans By The Thousands
Thousands of Pennsylvania Democrats switched their voter registration in the first half of the year to become Republicans, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
More than 8,100 Democrats changed their voter registration to Republican in the state’s western Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Washington, and Westmoreland counties, according to Pennsylvania Department of State data, while less than a third of that number switched from Republican to Democrat. Across the entire Keystone State, more than 38,000 Democrats switched parties this year.
A blue exodus has taken place across the United States in the last year. As gas and food prices have skyrocketed under the Biden administration, more than a million voters across 43 states have left the Democratic Party and registered as Republicans.
Washington County Republican Party chair Dave Ball told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette life-long Democrats are switching parties because they are displeased with the Biden administration. The presidents approval rating hit a record low of 37 percent last month, according to RealClearPoliticss polling data.
“I think the prevailing mood is: Its OK to be a Republican,” Ball said.
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Understanding The Changes In Pre
To recap before moving on: In the late 1700s the American factions won their independence from Britain and formed a new country by compromising and coming together as Federalists and Anti-Federalists, in the early 1800s they found some unity under Jefferson as Democratic-Republicans, but from Jackson to the Civil War their differences pulled them apart with greater force than their commonalities united them together. The divisive new platforms of the parties create two polarized groups splitting America into Democrats/Confederates of the South and Republicans/the Union of the North by the start of the Civil War in 1861 under the Republican Lincoln who ran on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery.
To understand how things went south so quickly, one has to understand how classical liberal positions can become socially conservative over time. The classical liberalism of Jefferson did not allow individual freedom for everyone, as it allowed for the freedom to own slaves and the freedom for states to be slave states. Thus, what was once progressive had become socially conservative over time, it was still technically liberal in the classical sense, just certainly not socially progressive but of course, let us not paint any party in any era with a broad brush, as both parties in any era are compromised of factions who agree only to varying extents.
What Does Republican Mean
The word republicanmeans of, relating to, or of the nature of a republic. Similarly to the word democratic, the word republican also describes things that resemble or involve a particular form of government, in this case the government in question is a republic. A republic is a government system in which power rests with voting citizens who directly or indirectly choose representatives to exercise political power on their behalf.
You may have noticed that a republic sounds a lot like a democracy. As it happens, most of the present-day democracies are also republics. However, not every republic is democratic and not every democratic country is a republic.
For example, the historical city-state of Venice had a leader known as a doge who was elected by voters. In the case of Venice, though, the voters were a small council of wealthy traders, and the doge held his position for life. Venice and other similar mercantile city-states had republican governments, but as you can see, they were definitely not democratic. At the same time, the United Kingdom is a democratic country that has a monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and so it is not a republican country because it is not officially a republic.
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