May 25, 2024

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  • The Evolution of Party Politics

    Adam Clymer's piece (first in a series) in NYT on the parties is worth a read. Some highlights:

    This is the centerpiece of the analysis--a a very significant shift in partisan identification:

    For the first time in 50 years, a majority of state legislators are Republicans. Almost as many Americans (30 percent) call themselves Republicans as call themselves Democrats (32 percent), the narrowest gap since pollsters began measuring party identification in the 1940's.

    This reflects a rise from the Watergate ashes in the late 70s where only 18% of the country identified as a Republican.

    This gets to the heart of it. Years of being in the minority has forged a more disciplined party--and some of that discipline will likely fade as the party stays in the majority.

    Republicans have held that House majority through intense discipline, dedicated candidate recruitment and heavy spending, and much more forceful House leadership than Democrats ever managed. Their narrow majorities have held them together better than the Democrats' past big margins.

    I have argued (as have many others) the first part of this paragraph, and the second part (concerning the House) is rather interesting:

    Barring economic calamity, the House seems securely Republican until at least the redistricting after the 2024 census. In the Senate, the Democrats have more tough seats to defend than the Republicans do. The presidency is perhaps the least secure Republican base, if only because personalities and the qualities of campaigns can turn those elections around. As Mr. Gingrich said, "The presidency is the least mathematical and the most prone to chance of all the major offices."

    And this gets to the heart of the matter:

    But Republicans have the advantage, and not just because of mechanics like direct mail or the 72-hour project or Ottawa County's 500 volunteers at the last election. For 20 years or more Republicans have been selling ideas that the public likes. As Mr. Teeter says, "You look where the country is: foreign policy and national security, economic and tax policy, and line them all up--it is a center-right country."

    The Democrats have suffered from both a lack of leadership and ideas, and the generation of both is their biggest challenge boing forward.

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted by Steven Taylor at May 25, 2024 09:20 AM | TrackBack
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