American political history has seen a handful of so-called Realignment Elections, signifying major shifts in demographic loyalties between voters and political parties. One such election occurred in 1932, when Democrats, under Franklin Roosevelt, began to wrestle the African-American vote, and a vast coalition of working class Whites, away from the Republican party. Nearly fifty years later, in 1980, Democrat party dominance waned, as Republicans forged a new realignment, under Ronald Reagan’s conservative stewardship.
Thirty-six years on from the Reagan Revolution, after eight meandering years of Barack Obama’s presidency, America faces the possibility of another major realignment. It would, no doubt, weaken the Democrat party, and deny Mr. Obama the long-term liberal ascendency he’d hoped to establish during his White House tenure. Beyond that, however, what makes a potential 2016 realignment unique – and terrifies the elite political class – is that it would especially impact the Establishment versus the Non-Establishment. This threatened realignment is between an old political order (think Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mitt Romney) and something new.
Not only would a Trump victory over Clinton be one the biggest upsets in American political history, it would also suggest a major decline for coastal, media elites, and big government bureaucrats and power-brokers; those currently devoting their resources and credibility to elect Hillary (whom they don’t really like, but who’s one of them) and to deny Trump (whom they loathe because he isn’t one of them). In this unconventional election year, voter preference is beginning to coalesce toward Trump’s promise of something new.
If 2017 brings a Trump inauguration, Americans will find out what ‘something new’ really looks like. And they’ll see an establishment elite put up a vicious fight. Some will have egg on their faces and fight to remain relevant. Others will be decimated and fight for their political survival. It will get ugly.
And won’t that be interesting.Follow @PolitiQuick