The Issue Of Slavery: Enter Abraham Lincoln
In the mid-nineteenth century, slavery was a widely discussed political issue. The Democratic Partys internal views on this matter differed greatly. Southern Democrats wished for slavery to be expanded and reach into Western parts of the country. Northern Democrats, on the other hand, argued that this issue should be settled on a local level and through popular referendum. Such Democratic infighting eventually led to Abraham Lincoln, who belonged to the Republican Party, winning the presidential election of 1860. This new Republican Party had recently been formed by a group of Whigs, Democrats and other politicians who had broken free from their respective parties in order to form a party based on an anti-slavery platform.
How The Republicans Became Socially Conservative
The Fourth;Party Republicans;began;to change when;the Progressive Republican Theodore Teddy Roosevelt broke;from the party in 1912 . Following the break, the Republicans;increasingly embraced social conservatism;and opposed social;progressivism .;From Harding to Hoover, to Nixon, to Bush they increasingly favored classical liberalism regarding individual and states rights over;central;authority. This attracted some socially conservative Democrats like states rights Dixiecrat Strom Thurmon. It resulted in a Southernization of the;Republican party and drove some progressive Republicans from the party over time.
Democratic Losses In State Legislative Seats
During Obamas tenure, Democrats lost members in 82 of the 99 state legislative chambers across the country. These losses were most visible in both chambers of the and West Virginia state legislatures as well as the state senate chambers in and .
The following table illustrates five largest losses in state legislative seats during President Obamas two terms in office. Rankings were adjusted to account for varying sizes of legislative chambers.
|Top five Democratic losses in state legislative seats, 2009-2017|
Summarizing The Party Systems As A Two
Current events and complexities aside, there has almost always been a two-party system in the United States. The mentality of each party can be expressed as northern;interests and southern interests, although I strongly prefer city interests and rural interests . Sometimes we see both;interests;in the same party, as;with Humphrey and LBJ, and sometimes it is less clear cut, but we can always spot it in any era.
Thus, we can use a simple two party answer as to which factions;held which interests over time, which I hope will be seen as helpful, and not divisive.;Remember the U.S. is a diverse Union;of 50 sovereign states and commonwealths where the need to get a majority divides us into red states and blue states as a matter of custom, not as enemies, but as a United Republic with a democratic spirit.
- Northern City Interests: Federalists, Whigs, Third Party Republicans, Fourth Party Progressive era Republicans , Fifth Party Democrats , Modern Democrats.
- Southern Rural Interests: Anti-Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, Third Party Democrats, Fourth Party Progressive Era Democrats , Fifth Party Republicans , Modern Republicans.
TIP: One way to;summarize all of this is by saying the changes happened under, or as a result of, key figures including Jefferson and Hamilton, Adams and Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Bryan, the Roosevelts, Wilson, Hoover, LBJ, and Clinton. See a;comparison of the political ideology of each President from Washington to Obama.
We Should Perhaps Not Assume The Collapse Of The Institutional Gop Just Yet
For many non-Republicans, the events of the past month have felt unresolved. A mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol three weeks ago, leaving a police officer and four others dead and putting at risk the transfer of presidential power. Scores of rioters have been arrested in the attempted insurrection, but none of those responsible for inspiring and encouraging it including Trump have paid much of a price.
So rumors that the Republican Party broadly is paying a price for the violence have a specific sort of appeal, a sense of justice aligning itself as expected. It leads to things such as this, from former U.S. senator from Arizona Jeff Flake recently censured by his party for failing to support Trump last year.
The implication is obvious: Thousands of Republicans are fleeing the party, so it better straighten out. It had better change its behavior soon or risk collapse!
Eh, not really.
Data from the Arizona secretary of state provided to The Washington Post confirmed that about 9,300 Republicans left the party between Jan. 6 and Jan. 24. In politics, people rarely switch from one party to the other, just as they rarely flip from supporting one politician to supporting their opponent. Instead, people go through a middle ground of uncertainty before reaching a new pole and so it is with most of those Arizona Republicans. Fewer than 1,000 became Democrats; most joined third parties or became independents.
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.
The Founding Federalists And Anti
To see how the parties have evolved properly from the founders to 2016, we;can start by comparing;pre-Civil War factions such as the;founding;Federalists and Anti-Federalists;in the First Party System.
Here we can compare figures like the North Eastern Federalists Alexander Hamilton and John Adams;to the Virginian Anti-Federalists Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry to get a sense of the two general types of ideologies that color Americas future parties and factions .
Here we can see the roots of progressivism and states rights populism in the Democratic party and the roots of traditional pro-business conservatism in the Federalists. Here we can also note that, despite none of the founders supporting slavery, it is the small government mentality to Democrats that allows for slavery, while the Whig-like conservatism of the Federalists is more geared toward global trade and banking and less tolerant of the nefarious institution.
Although we can put the founders in two big tents and understand American history that way, looking;at the nuanced views;of the founders allows us to better;understand the roots of the different types of liberal and conservative / elite and populist positions that we find in each party system.
Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties.Thomas Jefferson
National debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.Alexander Hamilton
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Why Did Parties Switch Platforms And Members
The common thread of each major switch, aside from war, was civil rights. Or maybe we could more fairly say, state-enforced social and economic justice versus individual liberty;as is illustrated by;the charts on this page.
Civil rights aside, since before the first party was formed, our founding fathers have fought each other tooth and nail over the direction of the country. The biggest issues have been:;big business versus small business, big government;versus small government , big government versus small government , whether or not to have;a central bank, and;how much;local and foreign credit and debt was the right amount.
We can see how some of the above;values are consistent for a given quadrant of the political sphere, but not for a specific party in a two party system or even a faction or member of a party at a given time!;We can also see how specific groups have shifted their interpretation of these things over time, and how some groups simply pay lip-service to the overarching ideals.
The;planks and platforms of each opposing group have;changed over time, as specific stances on these issues were taken, and as public opinion changed with the times.
The Sixth Party System And Seventh Party System
The changes leading up to Kennedys Presidency resulted in the Sixth Party System beginning in the 1960s, when LBJ and MLK worked to bring the Kennedy inspired Civil Rights 64 and Voting Rights 65 to life. From this period forward, progressive Republicans like Teddy and Henry Wallace are very rare, and a few select Democrats like Strom Thurmond begin to officially join the Republican party.
After LBJs Presidency, as Nixon and Reagan era southern strategy politics pushed back against changes of the 1960s, and progressive social liberals pushed for even more change, it arguably results in the Seventh Party System by the Presidencies of the neoliberal;/;social liberal Bill Clinton and the neocon /;social conservative George W. Bush .
In this era, most of the old solid south states that had supported the Democratic party, in terms of Congress and voter base, support the Republican party as is evidenced by the 1992;;2000 elections .
This doesnt mean all Republicans identify with solid south politics any more than all Democrats in LBJs time did, it only means their faction;became part of the Republican party just as they had once been part of the Democrats in response to the changing platforms of the parties.
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!. Ronald Reagan
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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.
Second Party System: Enter The Jacksonian Democrats 1828 1854
In 1829, the very popular with the people, Andrew Jackson split the;Democratic-Republican Party. The new party;Jacksonian Democrats were born from this, and that movement would grow into the current Democratic party. If you are looking for the Americas first true liberal Jackson hardly fits the bill. Jackson was a man of the people, and his party was out to take power away from elites and monopolies and put it in the hands of the people. In practice, his presidency was more like President Obamas where intentions of change get muddled by the practicalities;of the political environment.
Despite many being classical liberals, Jacksonian Democrats in many ways;mark;the start of right-leaning conservative-libertarians. These Democrats will split into two factions over the 1800s, one the Bourbon Democrats and the other . Other Democrats will join third parties like the anti-slavery Free Soil Party as a response to the far-right faction of pro-slavery Democrats of the Jackson era.
Meanwhile, the Whig Party led by Henry Clay came into power around Jacksons time. The Whigs wanted a national bank,;higher taxes, and power for Congress and importantly they want to end slavery. These social-service lefty Republicans are 1/2 todays progressive, 1/2 Hamiltonian Globalization liberal.
Voting on Tariff of Abominations tally of votes;.
|House Vote on Tariff of 1828||For|
Townsend Declines Party Vice Chair Nomination
After losing the election for state Democratic Party chairman last week, Hillsborough County Chair Ione Townsend declined a nomination for vice chairman, saying the party needed more diversity in its leadership.
Townsend is White; the other two vice chair nominees, Cynthia Moore Chestnut and winner Judy Mount, are black.
Townsend didnt come as close as she expected in the chairmans race, receiving 30 percent to winner Manny Diazs 54 percent. But she said it isnt true that she had no chance against Diaz.
Shortly before the election, Townsend said, one of her large-county supporters switched to Diaz. With the partys weighted voting system, she said, that one change swung enough votes to give Diaz a first-round win. Otherwise, she said, she would have had enough votes to force a runoff.
Townsend ran as a progressive, while Diaz was backed by more establishment Democrats. She congratulated Diaz and said she and the Hillsborough county party are committed to supporting him.
Republicans Change Their Minds But Did They Switch Platforms
But Republicans didnt immediately favor limited government. Instead, for a couple of decades, both parties are promising an augmented federal government Rauchway wrote in a 2010 blog post for the Chronicles of Higher Education. Republican rhetoric drifted to a small-government platform cemented in the 1930s with its opposition to the New Deal.
But why did Democrats start advocating for big government? According to Rauchway, both parties were trying to win the new Western states. The admission of new western states to the union in the post-Civil War era created a new voting bloc. Both parties competed for them to control Washington D.C.
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Y Switchers Are Less Politically Engaged Than Consistent Partisans
Voters who have not wavered in their party loyalty are more engaged in politics and demographically different than those who have changed their party affiliation one or more times over the past few years.
Majorities of both Republican and Democratic registered voters who consistently identified with or leaned toward their parties in five surveys between September 2018 and July 2020 say they follow what is going on in government and politics most of the time.
That compares with 36% of voters who currently align with the Republican Party but had shifted their party identification at some point in the past two years and 41% who are currently Democrats but had changed their party previously.
Consistent partisans are also substantially more likely than others to say they talk about politics at least a few times a week. About half of consistent Republicans and Democrats say they talk about politics every day or a few times a week. That compares with only about third of Republicans and Democrats who have shifted their party affiliation or leaning over the past two years.
Voters who have been inconsistent partisans also tend to be younger and have less formal education than those who consistently identify with or lean to the same party.
While changes in partisanship, particularly over the short term, are not common, the patterns of switching among the electorate in the past few years are largely continuations of long-term trends.
The Fifth Party System And The The New Deal And Conservative Coalitions
Now that we have clearly illustrated the above factions and ideologies, we can move on to the last round of changes which happened from roughly the 1930s, to WWII, to the 1960s, to the 1990s as the FDR supporting Progressive Social Liberal New Deal Coalition faced off against the Socially Conservative anti-New Deal Conservative Coalition .
From the 1930s to the 1990s, from Hoover to Goldwater, to Nixon, to Reagan, to Bush, the Conservative Coalition;drew southern solid southDixiecrat conservative Democrats out of the Democratic Party via their southern strategy. By the 1990s, this resulted in the modern American social conservative and sometimes classical liberal;Republican party. Likewise,;the New Deal coalition,;which opposed the conservative coalition, drew progressives into the Democratic Party and out of the Republican party under FDRs New Deal, LBJs Great Society program, and Clintons New Democrats. This resulted in;the modern American social liberal, and thus necessarily traditionally classically conservative in terms of authority;party during the same time.
Although the tension between these two factions starts in the 1930s with the New Deal, it comes to a boiling point over issues like States Rights, the Second Red Scare, and;Brown v. the Board of Education following WWII in the late 40s and 50s.
We have undertaken a new order of things; yet we progress to it under the framework and in the spirit and intent of the American Constitution. FDR
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