Party Realignment

Party Realignment


Leonard Zwelling

We still have no winner yet in the Senate. The Democrats could still gain control if they win both seats in the Georgia runoffs and Biden is president. That’s a lot of ifs in a year that should have been a blue wave if ever there was one. Why did that not happen?

First, America is a conservative country. It is always going to be an uphill battle, especially in the Electoral College or in the Senate, for the Democrats to gain control now that the Solid South is solidly Republican.

Second, the Democratic candidate for President of the United States was weak. He is too old and has clearly lost a cognitive step or two from his younger days. That’s the problem with having a forty-year track record. People remember you when you were at your best. Joe Biden may be a compassionate and wonderful person, but he is not at the top of his political game any longer.

Third, the country is genuinely afraid of socialism and the Republicans have crafted a message linking the Democrats with socialist-like programs (Green New Deal, Medicare for All) and did so in two languages (see Miami-Dade County). The right also perceives minorities as threats to their well-being. Despite this the Republicans have managed to attract a goodly number of Latinos by realizing that Latinos are not some sort of solid voting bloc, but rather a heterogeneous group linked by a common language, but separated by country of origin and history with socialist governments (Cuba and Venezuela).

Finally, for whatever reason, Mr. Trump has completely redefined the GOP in his own image. Thus, there is no longer a party espousing traditional Republican values (free trade, meritocracy, self-reliance, individual responsibility). The Republicans have been rebranded the Trump Party and the Democrats have allowed themselves to be branded with the socialist label by Bernie Sanders, AOC and The Squad. In the United States, it is time for the two-party system to realign. I believe this will happen after Trump, whenever that is. If the Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake wing of the GOP can wrest control away from Don, Jr., the GOP could flourish and expand the size of its tent. The Dems would then have to figure out how to present a non-socialist agenda that can embrace Pete Buttigieg as well as AOC. If the Dems cannot make this alteration, they may suffer the fate of being a minority party forever.

It is still shocking to me that over 70 million of my fellow countrymen and women can vote for a man like Donald Trump. But, after all, the economy was booming before covid and the Democrats ran another fixed primary with the wrong person coming out on top. How wrong? The very state that gave him the nomination, South Carolina, went for Trump.

America may need a thorough party realignment A.T.—after Trump. I just hope I can find a home in one of them. Right now, I can’t find a place in either.

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