Jacksonian America

Clinton Coalition No More

Clinton Country

In The Weekly Standard,  Jay Cost draws my attention to an article by Sean Trende published last year at RealClearPolitics about the demise of the Clinton coalition.

A year later, this process is far more advanced than it was when Republicans won two governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. White Democrats and Independents have been silently deserting the Democratic Party. Combined with the anger of the Republican base, this movement within White America toward the GOP sheds considerable light on the Tea Party and its likely trajectory.

The story begins in the Early Republic when the Democratic Party emerged and succeeded in overthrowing the Federalist Party. For two hundred years thereafter, the Democratic Party was the champion of the common White man against the Whig and Republican monied interests.

The base of the Democratic Party was located in the South and Border States. These Jacksonian Democrats – culturally conservative, hawkish, populist Whites  – sustained the party from Andrew Jackson through Bill Clinton.

In the twentieth century, this slowly began to change. Progressives moved into the Democratic Party under Woodrow Wilson and became more influential under FDR. Jews became an increasingly more powerful and influential faction within the Democratic coalition.

Under FDR, the Democratic Party began its long courtship with black voters. As blacks, Jews, and White liberals became more influential within the party, the first cracks began to appear in the Jacksonian base. The Dixiecrats in the Deep South rebelled against Truman.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Republicans exploited the White backlash against the Civil Rights Movement to peel off a significant number of Jacksonians, but they remained a small minority within the Republican coalition. Blacks voted solidly Democratic after the Voting Rights Act.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Democratic Party migrated further to the Left, and the ensuing White backlash resulted in landslide victories for Nixon and Reagan. In spite of this, Jacksonians remained a minority within the traditional Republican coalition.

In the 1990s, the South began to tilt dramatically toward the Republican Party. Jacksonians were now evenly divided between the Republican and Democratic parties. Still, there were enough Jacksonians around for Bill Clinton to build a winning coalition and reside in the White House for eight years.

Under George W. Bush, the Jacksonian exodus continued, now reaching a point where terms like “Red America” and “Blue America” entered mainstream political discourse. In 2000 and 2004, the Jacksonian abandonment of the Democratic Party cost Al Gore and John Kerry the presidency.

By the mid-2000s, Jacksonians had become the base of the Republican Party. They had given the GOP the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, but the GOP establishment blocked their agenda. This collapse in confidence resulted in the Republican blowouts of 2006 and 2008.

Barack Obama was elected President.

This was interpreted by superficial observers as evidence of a progressive realignment of American politics that would last for decades. Obama, the Democratic majority, and the liberal base of the party had waited years for this opportunity and seized upon it to advance their agenda.

In the process, they succeeded in driving out almost all of the remaining Jacksonians from the Democratic Party. This fresh influx of Whites into the Republican Party completed the realignment that began with the Dixiecrat rebellion. It has been half a century since the Jacksonians were united under a common political umbrella.

Political gravity is now working its magic.

With all the Jacksonians now in the Republican Party, the GOP establishment is too weak to maintain its traditional dominance. The conservative base of the party is ousting the establishment and succeeding in remaking it in its own image.

Now that all the Jacksonians have abandoned the Democratic Party, the power and influence of Jews, non-White minorities, and White liberals within the party has been magnified even further. The brakes are gone on the liberal agenda.

This is having the effect of pushing out the socially liberal, fiscally conservative Whites who live in the suburbs outside the major cities. They are leaning toward the Republicans this year. As the fiscal ramifications of the Jacksonian exodus to the GOP becomes clear, they too will likely find themselves settling down in their new home.

The talk of 2010 being a “wave election” is grossly overblown. In the Senate, Democrats are mostly defending seats in the Northeast and Pacific West, regional strongholds of the party, which they nevertheless seem close to losing anyway.

The real “wave election” will come in 2012 when Democrats will be forced to defend 24 Senate seats in the South, Mountain West, and Midwest where the major realignment of the White vote is taking place.

As we move further into the twenty-first century, “Heartland America” will increasingly take shape. The Republican Party will gradually be transformed into the White Party. The Democratic Party into the non-White Party.

This is the precursor to separation.

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This entry was posted in Conservatism, History, Politics, Tea Party, Whiteness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Jacksonian America

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