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Everyone knows that Republicans are conservative and Democrats are liberal, right?  Sure, you say, that's the way it's always been.  To which I respond: then prepare to have your mind blown.

The current political geography, with Republicans on the right and Democrats on the left of the great American political fault, was not ever as it is now.  And as with plate tectonics, there are sometimes sudden and unpredictable shifts.

(Dear Diary: Well, I finally did it.  I finally worked a plate tectonics analogy into a piece of writing.  It's funny, but all I can think now is where do I go from here?  Also, don't forget to buy toilet paper.)

Cross-posted on Wordpress.

The modern Republican party traces its roots back to the pre-Civil War political struggle over slavery, and loves to bill itself as the Party of Lincoln.  But it was a very different party then.  They were the upstarts, the social liberals, the young Turks hammering away at the gates of Christendom.  In challenging the institution of slavery they were challenging the entrenched economic interests of the day.  They were, in other words, stickin' it to the Man, nineteenth century style.  With the North's victory, the Republicans suddenly became the majority party, since most Democratic office holders were disqualified for their Confederate ties.  In essence, then, we went through a period of political apartheid, in which a party that probably represented the views of a minority of Americans had an overwhelming stranglehold on the levers of government.  Southern citizens' opinions would have counted for little at this time, with the South treated as an occupied territory (which indeed it was).  This treatment would plant the seeds of resentment that would later shape the modern conservative movement.

By the turn of the century, the Republican party had become a coalition of social liberals and big business elites.  In modern parlance, it was a center-left party, whose power base was the industrialized north and the nascent East Coast Establishment.  Although generally thought of as pro-business, still this incarnation of the Republican party was capable of producing a man like Teddy Roosevelt, the trust buster who took on big business.  A Republican regulating industry?  Hard to believe, but true.

On the other hand, the Democrats were the party of the vanquished Confederacy, and therefore the party of the entrenched local power structure below the Mason-Dixon Line.  That means the party of institutionalized racism.  The same people who founded the Ku Klux Klan also dominated local, county, and state offices throughout the South.  Their bread and butter were the poor, rural whites who had grown up under the Antebellum social order and were terrified of what might happen to them now that it had fallen.  The North's arrogance, both real and perceived, only added fuel to the fire, and gave fiery populists an enemy against which to rail.  Thus was born William Jennings Bryan, the great statesman, Bible-thumping orator, and three-time Democratic presidential candidate, who was also the prosecutor – arguing against the theory of evolution – in the Scopes Monkey Trial.

So that's where things stood in the early 1900s:  A Republican party made up of entrenched business interests and social liberals, and a Democratic party made up of social conservatives, what we would today call "evangelicals," and socialists.

WHAT?!  SOCIALISTS?!  But doesn't it say in the Bible that socialism is evil?

In fact it does not.  And socialists made up an important piece of the Democratic party's coalition in the early decades of the twentieth century.  It makes sense, when you think about it.  Southern Democrats saw the labor movement as a natural ally against Northern interests, since industry dominated there.  The poor and downtrodden fighting the big power and all that.  One might even say the proletariat.  On some levels it was positively revolutionary, at least economically.  At the same time, most of these voters would be characterized today as social conservatives, more religious, and more racist than the typical Republican voter of the day.

So from a social point of view, this era was a complete reversal from our own.  Progressives would have been largely Republican, while those favoring the status quo would have been Democrats.  For evidence of this, one need look no farther than the 1912 presidential election, in which Teddy Roosevelt, a former Republican president, ran on an independent Progressive ticket and came in second in a three-way race.  The Democrat who won, Woodrow Wilson, was a rabid racist and supporter of segregation.

All of this changed in the 1930s, with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Prior to FDR, black voters had always voted reliably Republican, seeing the Democrats as the party of their Southern oppressors.  The New Deal changed all that.  FDR's economic policies aimed to lift everyone out of poverty, not just whites.  Which is not to say they were perfect, or that institutional racism suddenly disappeared.  But for the first time since Reconstruction there was genuine progress, and it was the Democrats, not the Republicans, who brought it.  Call it a case of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, but that is, after all, what politics is all about.

By the coming of the Civil Rights Movement, the lines as we know them today began to take shape.  More and more the Democratic party came to be dominated by social liberals – hippies, pinkos, and fags, as Richard Nixon might say.  Socially conservative, largely Southern, Democrats once more found themselves ignored by a "foreign" elite, foreign this time in values as well as geography.  In the 1950s and 1960s they started dropping off.  When Strom Thurmond switched to the Republican party, the die had been cast.  Although Democrats managed to hang on in some localities as late as the 1990s, more and more they were a rarity.  The once solidly Democratic South had become solidly Republican.  The Red states had been spawned.

Fast forward to 1991.  The Republicans remain the party of social conservatives, now dominated largely by evangelical Christian social activists.  They also remain the party of big business, as they have been since the Gilded Age.  And it's a marriage that works.  Since the majority of Americans hold more or less conservative social views, the Republicans have won every presidential election since 1968 with the exception of 1976, lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter by the slimmest of margins and in the wake of Watergate.  Ronald Reagan's term had already become the stuff of myth and legend, and with his successful prosecution of the first Gulf War George H.W. Bush looked like a shoo-in for reelection.

Then Bill Clinton came along, and everything changed.

From 1968-1992, the Republicans enjoyed a virtual lock on the presidency because they held the center as well as the right.  And who was the center?  Mostly working class whites, not especially interested in ideology and generally moderate in their views.  Once these people would have leaned Democratic for economic reasons.  But in the late 1960s the party began to turn away from voters like these, embracing a left-wing social agenda that seemed to blame them, the white working class, for everything that was wrong with our country.  Affirmative action, busing, abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment, the nascent GLBT rights movement – these things made many Americans very uncomfortable.  Nixon called them the Silent Majority, later the press dubbed them "Reagan Democrats," but no matter what you call them they are the deciders, the people who decide American presidential elections.

See, the country is divided more or less evenly, and has been for some time.  About 40% of voters vote Democratic, about 40% Republican; they already know who they're going to vote for in 2012, 2016, and beyond: the guy with the right letter next to his name.  That's 80% of the electorate.  That leaves about one-fifth of voters who actually decide elections.  Of that, maybe half tend to lean one way or the other, so really there is probably only about a 10% sliver of voters who elect presidents.

For 24 years the GOP had a lock on them.  Democrats were just a little too far out ahead on social issues, just a little too, well, liberal.  Look at the people they nominated for president in that time.  I mean, Michael freaking Dukakis?!  REALLY???  It's like they didn't even WANT to win.

Bill Clinton made it okay for the Reagan Democrats to come home again.  He recaptured the center, and he won.  That's why Republicans hated him so much, because they feared him.  They knew what he was trying to do, and, more important, they knew the consequences for them if he succeeded.  That's why they tried anything and everything to bring him down.

But they were fighting a losing battle.  Social mores across the country were loosening, moving away from the old-fashioned Christian conservatism that came to dominate the GOP.  Gay rights and the green movement, especially, were in their ascendancy, and conservatives found themselves on the wrong side of both.  That old Republican coalition of social conservatives and fiscal conservatives was starting to fracture, because the fiscal guys (i.e. Big Business) were just not as rigid and intolerant as the social guys (i.e. Big Religion), and the social guys saw "their" issues as sacrosanct.

This tension existed throughout the 2000s.  Had Al Gore become president instead of George W. Bush, possibly you would have seen a shake-up in the Republican party.  But as it was they retained the White House, and so a fragile peace was maintained.  It could not last.

With Barack Obama's election the situation finally came to a head.  Thrown out of the big chair decisively for the first time in decades, the GOP ht rick bottom, virtually ceding control to the worst, most reactionary, narrow-minded, petty, embittered, and petulant wing of their party, a curious union of Tea Partiers and evangelicals which I like to think of as Teavangelicals.  Wall Street types tend to be pretty conservative, uptight individuals, but they're positively bohemian compared to these assholes.  And it's driving people away.

Centrists don't like extremism of any kind.  They didn't like it when the Democrats were dominated by hippie pinko bleeding heart George McGovern types, and they don't like it now that the GOP is dominated by petty, small-minded, angry, trivially moral Rick Santorum types.  And that's bad for the Republican party, because their hold on the White House was dependent upon being a party of the center and the right.  It worked as long as the center was more conservative than liberal, but the times, they are a-changin'.  More and more the nation's moral center has moved in a progressive direction.  Just look at the gay marriage issue.  Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, public opinion would have been overwhelmingly against it.  Now it's split 50/50, if not tipped slightly in favor.  Much was made of Obama's pronouncement of theoretical support for gay marriage, but consider:  No sitting president has adopted a social position that was not ultimately adopted by the public at large.  That is not a tribute to presidents' moral leadership, necessarily, more an observation on politicians' skill at reading the political winds.  They might get out a LITTLE ahead of public opinion, but not much.  Gay marriage is coming, of that there is no doubt, and one day history will paint these late-stage deniers, like the aforementioned Santorum, or Newt Gingrich, or virtually any prominent GOP politician, as the assholes.

We are a much more socially progressive country now than we were twenty years ago.  And that leaves the Wall Street/Big Business types in the Republican party in a pickle.  Because they want to be on the winning side, the majority side.  It's good for business.  And there is so much money to be made on the liberal side now.  Just look at the power of the Green movement.  Toyota wouldn't have sold so many Priuses in Reagan's America, that's for sure.

No, the Money Republicans have a real problem on their hands.  Their coalition partners are nuts, and turning off average Americans.  So what do they do?  Fight for control of their party, or bolt?  Both.

Mitt Romney represents the Big Business Republicans' last stand.  He is their guy, through and through.  And no matter what verbal contortions he is using to convince Teavangelicals otherwise, he is not one of them, and they know it.  That's why a couple of complete dicks like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, neither of whom have the political viability to run for dogcatcher, much less president, made it so far.  The Right – the REAL Right – has known all along what Romney represents.  But money trumps hate, it seems (which somehow fails to be comforting), and Romney muscled his way to the nomination.  Watch for him to pick a Teavangelical running mate.

But it won't matter.  Romney is probably going to lose, and when he does the fragile peace in the Republican party will be shattered.  The question will be what happens next.  As I see it, there are three possibilities:

1.  Wall Street "victory."  Money wins out, and the Teavangelicals defect more or less en masse.  Maybe they go to the Libertarian party.  Or maybe they just run as independents under a loose Tea Party banner.  Maybe they even retreat into a kind of political hibernation and cease to be a factor (that seems unlikely, but hey, I can dream).  This would leave the Republicans as a kind of center-right, pro-business party, something like Britain's Tories.  Only without the cool accents.

2.  Teavangelical "victory."  A total reverse of the above, where the social conservatives, henceforth referred to as "the pricks," win the day.  Frankly this seems a lot more likely, things have been moving in that direction for a while.  Which kind of makes this election the last hurrah of the boring white guys, soon to be replaced by the ravening madmen (also white).

3. Zombie apocalypse.  Nobody wins.

Of these options, I think #2 is the most likely.  (Although if it's #3, I hope the survivors have better dialog than the last season of The Walking Dead.)  The Big Biz guys, finally tired of the Teavangelical bullshit, will gravitate to the Democrats, leaving a rump GOP of die hard whackjobs and self-righteous assholes.  As in the 1970s, there will be one party that holds the center, and one that occupies the extremist fringes, the only difference is that they will be reversed.  A new Democratic coalition of social progressives and fiscal moderates will be the national majority party, a center-left coalition that will dominate American politics, while the Republicans will be reduced to a kind of permanent opposition, entrenched as the Party of No, stomping their feet and puffing out their chests as the parade of progress passes them by.

You'd almost feel bad for them if they weren't such assholes.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good analysis and description. (7+ / 0-)

    My guess is that #2 is likely which will make the GOP a minority party for the foreseeable future and the Dems a more corporate party that the progressives will find even more unappetizing than they already do, but do not discount that #1 is also a real possibility.  It will probably swing on the outcome of this year's election (which will determine who controls the Presidency, House, and likely the Senate and also will determine the balance SCOTUS for quite a long time...

    •  I think you're right (6+ / 0-)

      And a HUGE question is where do more left-leaning progressives go if/when the mainstream Democratic becomes, well, mainstream?  The Greens?  Or do they simply remain a vocal wing of the Democrats?

      Where do socialists go?

      "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

      by Jon Stafford on Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:16:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hard to say... (5+ / 0-)

        I could imagine that if the GOP completely implodes, then the another party could arise to give voice to progressives to the left of the Dems, though I don't see that as the Greens, but who knows.  However, it could be that the GOP persists as a minority voice for the mostly Southern evangelicals, and in that case perhaps the center-left Dem party will hold together for some time.  Interesting times with all good and bad that implies...On the other hand, perhaps the GOP will pull off one last victory this year, and then god help us all...

      •  Jon - I don't agree with much of your analysis (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bythesea, Jon Stafford, native

        But your diary is very interesting and thank you for sharing it with us. I think the challenge that nearly all DKOS members have is that it is difficult to look at the political landscape through a neutral lens. We have wonderful advocates here, but it nearly always blinds them as analysts, or political scientists.

        Parties adapt to stay relevant and US voters sway from center right to center left. I think it is very difficult to look out even ten years and determine where the parties will be.

        From a political scientist perspective I would highly recommend a book "The World Turned Right Side Up" by Godfrey Hodgson (1996) It is a very interesting book, available at Amazon for a few dollars, of how the right put together a majority after decades in the minority. It is written as a political science text, not by an advocate. It is a great example of how parties change and find groups that can be brought together to form a majority.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu May 17, 2012 at 11:04:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If GOP becomes pure far-right party... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Stafford

        ...which seems to be the track the GOP appears to be taking, the Democrats will become a "giant tent" party with progressives becoming the most liberal of several factions within the Democratic Party. The Democrats, under this scenario, would become a party encompassing numerous factions ranging from far-left to center-right, with a center-left faction likely emerging as the controlling faction of the party.

      •  don't "let" when you can "make" instead: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DuzT, Jon Stafford, katiec, native

        We should be the active drivers of history rather than passive recipients of it.  

        WE can cause a new political alignment to fall into place, that is favorable to progressives.


        The Republican party at present is a coalition of four elements:  a)  Wall Streeters, Ayn Randians, etc., b) religious right extremists and their fellow travelers, c) right-wing populists (Tea Party), and d) neo-con imperialists who have been out of favor since PNAC, Cheney, Iraq.

        Your mission if you choose to accept it, is to persuade (b) that (a) are a bunch of Godless atheists and worshipers of graven images dedicated to Mammon, the god of worldly wealth and power.  And then to drive in a deep and wide wedge between (a) and (b) so they split.  Group (c) will split along with them, and group (d) will be left dangling with nowhere to go.  

        The way to split off (b) from (a) is to start by agitating among the grassroots religious right, to attempt to start a backlash against (a) that requires the leaders of (b) to come along with it in order to retain their own power.  

        This can be done via covert infiltration of (b) at the grassroots level, the blogs and such where they hang out.  For those with the cast-iron stomach to go undercover in person, joining their churches and playing the part (do it in teams of four where two join & go in, and two stay home to provide "deprogramming support" when you come home from church every Sunday.

        Or for those who don't want to take the risk that the emotional reinforcements in those churches will change their attitudes in some way they would not have chosen freely, infiltrate your local Tea Party group.  This you can do by either playing the role of a religious rightie, or an atheistic Ayn Randian who is so very proud that Rand has no use for religion.  

        In any of those roles, stir up the resentment of Wall Street and use whatever psychological tactics you can to make it stick.  The narcissistic Wall Streeters insist on being fawned over, and when the fawning stops, they get all pissy and huffy and find someone else to play with.  If we can slowly migrate them away from the religious right and toward the atheistic Ayn Randians, that will complete the split.

        And then there will be two fractions of what was formerly one Republican party and one unified front.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Fri May 18, 2012 at 12:22:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are dead right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jon Stafford

          about those four factions, and the fault lines are becoming apparent. If Romney loses to Obama, I see the GOP breaking apart, with or without the kind of subversion you suggest.

          But that's a big if. Should Romney win, he will undoubtedly plunge us into a war with Iran, ASAP - which would be the only way to re-unify all four factions. And it almost certainly would do that.

          High stakes this time around.

          "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

          by native on Fri May 18, 2012 at 10:24:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Both Parties Are Conservative and Economically (10+ / 0-)

    radical conservative, and have been for decades. Both parties have actively transferred wealth, support, protections and opportunity from the masses to the rich, since the Beatles were still putting out albums.

    A note about centrism and extremism.

    If you accept the historic record of our national economic policies, and if you accept the scientific consensus about what we need to do about what we are doing to climate, and when, you are a radical extremist.

    If you don't support rapid surrender of the nation to global nobility and the fastest possible destruction of the planet's ability to support half to 2/3 of today's population, you are an American radical extremist.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:27:36 PM PDT

  •  I really hope this diary gets the attention (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Stafford, Pluto, mookins, G2geek, DuzT

    it deserves.  It is quite a bit more interesting than a lot that gets many eyes on it here...

  •  I disagree with about 80% of this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A little more discussion of how you classify the parties, e.g., by their platforms or by their Congressional delegations or by their Presidential candidates or by the legislation they pass, would ... make it untenable, I think.

    Just noting, for the record.

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:50:45 PM PDT

  •  very well written (8+ / 0-)

    but I remind you ..... after 2008, the consensus was that the Republican Party was in tatters and would take a generation to recover.

    •  Well, my formerly Republican gay friend (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy, DuzT, Jon Stafford

      who became an Independent who voted for Obama, remarked on that consensus "true, but if anyone can fuck that up, the Democrats can".  I have to give him credit for being correct, at least so far...

      •  but yet, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bythesea, Jon Stafford

        we can seem to understand or agree on how we f'd it up. Until we do, we doomed to do so again.

        •  I have an opinion on that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy, Pluto

          but it may be incorrect, and certainly wouldn't be popular here.  It also may have not been politically feasible at the time.

          •  The results of 2010 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bythesea, Jon Stafford

            have been debated here ad infinitum with more than a few people convinced they had the right answer. I didn't buy any of their answers. Their smugness is part of the reason why we keep reverting to failure.

            •  I think (6+ / 0-)

              that HCR should have been put on hold until later and the focus should have been on the economy above all.  That is not going to be popular here, and given the intense heat from the left for action in the party, as well as the intransigence of the blue dogs regarding a stronger stimulus, may not have been politically possible, but may have prevented 2010 imo if it could have been done.  I'm not sure it could have, and we may just have the only possible outcome that could have happened, but I do agree the smugness on our side is part of the problem.  There are other issues that can be debated, but don't seem that open to debate in terms of the political outcome.  Of course I could be completely wrong on all of the above...

              •  I think President Obama wanted (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bythesea, fcvaguy

                at least one piece of important legislation, in case he wasn't re-elected.

                "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

                by blueoregon on Thu May 17, 2012 at 10:46:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I wish I could rec this more than once NT (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bythesea, fcvaguy

                "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

                by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:07:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You might be right (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bythesea, Jon Stafford

                HCR sucked alot of air out of the room. There wasn't much left after that. We should have done somethng far more simple than what we got - perhaps a law to prohibit insurance companies from turning down people as well as an option for people to buy into Medicare at a reasonable price = simple, stupid, effective. But I'm sure for many on the left, it would have fallen far short of their expectations and Obama would still be a miserable failure.

                •  Don't mistake me (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jon Stafford, fcvaguy

                  for someone who is to the right on ACA.  I actually support single payer as the real and inevitable solution, but I don't think that was politically feasible at the time even within our party.  However, I think significant improvement to the economy would have kept the critics much more muted on both the left and right that were given energy by ACA and could have led to a later mandate to do something dramatic on health care.  We will never know, and the end result is a real improvement that still falls short of what would make most happy and is difficult to sell or even be understood by the public, while still pissing off many progressives to no end.  In other words a clusterfuck in the political sense. Just my opinion.  Also I think the very left progressives of our party have some very good ideas that should be given more attention, but I also think those same folks who are creative and come up with both ideas and passion, tend to also be almost useless and unrealistic when in comes to actual politics and given to magical thinking regarding how the public will respond to many things presented.

              •  Obama insisted upon health care because health (0+ / 0-)

                care is 1/5 of our economy.   Health care was done for long-term economic reasons.

                2012: the Year of the Voting Woman. And by the way, Republicans ... we're pretty pissed about what you've done to our country. Republican Party Motto: "Tax the poor, gift the rich"

                by mumtaznepal on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:08:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I do too (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bythesea, fcvaguy

            I think progressives tend to let themselves got out just a little bit too far ahead of public opinion, leaving themselves open to attack from those who fear the pace of change.

            "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

            by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:06:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Haha (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bythesea, fcvaguy

        I remember saying something similar.  Democrats do love to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.

        "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

        by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:04:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not MY consensus! :) NT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

      by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:02:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Possibly the 2008 consensus that the GOP (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jon Stafford, fcvaguy

      was in tatters underestimated the amount of latent racism still alive in America. Racism and irrational hatred of Obama underlies much, if not most of the whole Tea Party phenomenon.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Fri May 18, 2012 at 10:36:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Tea Party... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, fcvaguy

        ...was a natural reaction to the election of the first black president.  An ugly reaction, but a natural one, and not unanticipated, at least in some circles.  But it's the lashing out of a wounded and cornered animal.  

        "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

        by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 12:03:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wilson was a progressive (8+ / 0-)

    where FDR got it from. The GOP was economically progressive not only with TR but from Wilkie through Nixon. The loss of the populists of the solid South and the west left the Dems vulnerable to Wall Street, forming a dominant wing of the party under Clinton. So WS dominates both parties, which used to be both economically progressive before Buckley v Valeo. Since the GOP is not going to oppose Wall Street the Dems have an opportunity to restore their traditional opposition to banker and corporate control since Jefferson and Jackson. This takes a stand to get special interest money out of politics and to curb Wall Street, also ending its influence in the party. This is tectonic like the Mississippi Freedom delegation of 1964.

    •  Wilson was a progressive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bythesea, Musial, native

      ...economically.  Socially, he was a ravening racist and segregationist.  He also had a troubling habit of jailing his political opponents.  He would have a hard time finding a home in today's Democratic party.

      "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

      by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:17:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fannie Lou Hamer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Stafford, native

        changed everything, even FDR would be out of place now. But Dems were defined by a commitment to preventing government from "fall[ing] into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed corporations" (Jefferson). After Buckley, Wall Street and the special interests have kept Dems wedged apart from their traditional populist constituencies. The Wilsons and Jacksons, even Jefferson, could be welcomed back into the fold for their democratic economic values. Thanks for your thoughtful diary, partisan dynamics are essential to addressing the current constitutional and economic crisis.

  •  If the Zombies get a candidate they might win! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, Jon Stafford

    A thought provoking diary. Demographic trends also favor the Democrats.

    There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

    by too many people on Thu May 17, 2012 at 09:44:11 PM PDT

  •  2012 is the GOP's last stand... (4+ / 0-) a political party capable of winning majorities in Congress and winning Presidential elections. The GOP will pull itself so far to the right that the South will be a Blue Dog/Teavangelical battleground and the North and West will, by and large, be a Democratic stronghold with several internal factions, with a few pockets of Republican strength in the West.

    Scenario #1, in which the Wall Street-types take control of the GOP, will make the Democrats a mostly pro-labor party and the Republicans a mostly pro-business party, with socially liberal and socially conservative factions within both parties.

    Scenario #2, in which the evangelical-types take control of the GOP, will make social issues the main dividing line between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats taking the socially liberal platform and Republicans taking the socially conservative platform. Pro-labor and pro-business factions will gain traction in both parties.

    Scenario #3, the "Zombie apocalypse" scenario you mentioned, will make the GOP barely relevant in national politics, only able to win a few pockets of the South and West where ultra-conservative candidates can win. Democrats will be a very broad coalition bringing together politicians from far-left to center-right on the ideological spectrum.

    Scenario #4, a scenario which I seriously doubt will happen, will make the Democrats a minor party only able to win in a few areas of the country with a large presence of liberal-minded voters, and the Republicans become a center-left to far-right coalition.

    •  Er... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      No, by "zombie apocalypse," I meant hordes of the living dead wandering the land, consuming the flesh of the living.  Kind of like Rick Perry's vision of America.  :)

      "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

      by Jon Stafford on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:18:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting diary, thanks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, Jon Stafford

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Thu May 17, 2012 at 10:49:33 PM PDT

  •  Well done, but not "next", it's already happening (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, bythesea, Jon Stafford

    "Next" shift? No, it's already under way. Look at for example Colorado, which is getting bluer by the minute. And Texas is next. Even Arizona is getting to be within reach. Much of this is driven by demographic changes, particularly the growth in the Latino population. Where Latinos increase, the Democratic voting base prospers. (Which is I think a big chunk of why the Republicans are so anti-immigrant. Well, pandering to xenophobia in the nutjob wing of their base too, but I digress.) And while that's more in the southwest for the moment, it's really everywhere.

    But this is merely a timing quibble. Totally agreed on the history (nicely done, that) and projections. Whether it will start soon, or has already begun, the trend is in our favor. Yes, insert here the usual caveat about let's not screw this up. But the wheel does seem to be turning.

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