Are the Republican and Democratic parties experiencing a sea change?

Smithsonian

Smithsonian

Are the political’ “bases” swapping parities, as some commentators are observing? The last, big realignment of parties was decades ago, when Southern voters began joining the Republican Party.

Critics said they were doing it because of the Richard Nixon’s “racist Souther strategy” designed to bring aboard segregationists who were abandoning their tradition Democratic loyalties. Others argue that the switch was caused by the increasing liberal drift of the Democratic Party.

Whatever, the explanation, it’s possible, I think, that we’re going through a similar, historic alignment. Here’s how:

Democrats increasingly include the more educated and wealthy classes, something in Chicago we used to call “limousine liberals” or “lakefront liberals.” They used to be found mainly in Chicago’s pricey lakefront high-rises, but now have moved farther north to populate former higher-income, college-educated Republican strongholds, including Evanston and the wealthy North Shore. The first signs came in the 1970s  when Hyde Park liberal Abner Mikva moved into the north suburban 10th Congressional district, narrowly defeating a Republican incumbent. Since then, ever more suburbs have been increasingly populated by the college-educated, meaning those who came through the liberal sausage-making machine.  The party today has become one dominated by liberal elites who tend to try enforce “what’s good from them” on Americans.

Republicans now are attracting the opposites–blue collar Americans who are sick of being told what’s good for them, often mistakenly, as some much “expert” advice about how to combat Covid-19 has proven to be mistaken. They are the workers who have suffered from free-trade and other policies that have encouraged businesses to flow overseas. They are the small businessmen who have struggled under crushing over-regulation by elite ideologues and their bureaucratic fortress. We also are beginning to witness cracks in the solid black vote for Democrats, as more and more move into the middle class, not just sharing those values but also experiencing the same sense of abandonment that President Donald Trump has used so effectively against Democrats.

If this is true, we  also might see some geographic realignment. The disaffected working class might challenge the controlling “progressive” governments for control of urban America. Except for the fact that so many people of both classes are abandoning the cities, it’s hard to tell who will be left to control city hall. The cynic might say that only patronage workers and others dependent on the Democrat-run city halls would remain.

Blue color suburbs, increasingly are havens for disaffected workers–whites and blacks. Geographers are speculating that the coronavirus pandemic and the ills of major cities also are benefiting from the urban exodus; the expatriates are presumed to strengthen the GOP.

Middle America against Democratic left-wing elites?  Hard to tell, but the thought is very interesting. This coming election might tell the tale,

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  • "Others argue that the switch was caused by the increasing liberal drift of the Democratic Party."

    Who are these "others"? Name them. Are they on Fox News? Or Breitbart?

  • Me.

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