Political Realignments

In the United States we have a two-party, winner take all system. When Ross Perot took 19% of the popular vote in the Presidential election in 1992, he got nothing, and Bill Clinton won despite only getting 43% of the vote. So (like it or not) (especially not), in order to win elections, only the two major parties typically have any realistic chance, and any group wanting a say in the political process has to join in a coalition with either the Republicans or Democrats.

The many and varied interest groups don’t just automatically like the positions and values of the major parties, so shifting alliances can occur at any time if the groups feel they can do better with the other party, and one party or the other can form a coalition that may allow them to take control for long periods.

In the 1930s, after the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought together the many disadvantaged into an alliance against the rapaciously wealthy that lasted for many decades.

Then, as the Democrats slowly began themselves to be corrupted by the corporate elite and failed to deliver value to their supporters, the coalition began to crumble, and the Republicans began to take control by developing their own coalition, first with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and finally when the Republicans took over both houses of Congress in 1994. They got control by creating an unlikely alliance of what ought to have been disparate interest groups. But they succeeded.

If we are a group that wants our values and principles represented in the political process, we simply must understand where we fit in to the current system of political coalitions and alliances, and how we can achieve more leverage.

So….much more is coming detailing past, current, and future political coalitions…

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