Reflecting upon the past few elections, I wonder if we’re seeing a return to 19th Century politics, in the sense that we have two parties that are fairly competative and who can both win both the Presidency and the Congress. The Democrats held the House from roughly 1933 to 1994, with a two-year break or two early on. They held the Senate, for the most part, from 1933 to 1980. That changed in 1994. The Republicans then held both houses (with a brief break in the Senate from 2001-2003) from 1995-2007. Now the Democrats hold both houses and the President, something they have not done since 1994.
Might it be that the long era of Democratic dominance was an historical anamaly? Might we be seeing a return to a more traditional two-party politics?
This is an interesting theory . . . but do you think it means the end of realignments as a real possibility? I think this thing is not yet one. Joe K's discussion of the low rate of return on Obama's electoral investment rather proves that. But if things do not improve for our side, a realignment is not an impossibility, I think. I think America is still more of a center-right place than Obama would have it. But I also think he knows that.
Traditionally, there was a dominant party. But both houses used to turn over, along with the Presidency. What was unusual in the middle of the 20th century is that the legislature did not turn over.
I keep getting emails from the usual right of center suspects, (political organizations, that is) whose fund raising appeals have changed from "Stop Obama!!!" to "Depression Coming!!!" and the real point of the message is they need my money to carry on their good fight. Reading the messages, I would have said that the writers' personal depression had already arrived.
Does it make any difference if government churns, as you put it? The bureaucracy of government does not change all that much, entrenched and capable of holding political and social "territory" against all comers. Has that aspect of government shrunk, even when Republicans did have supposed control of government? I don't think so. Please, please, tell me I am wrong about this.
By appearance, Democrat control of that sphere of government does not ever change.