Concerning The Two Party System

     Recall this political convulsion from more than a century ago:

     [T]he Republicans, in the early 1890s, led by Ohio Republicans William McKinley and Marc Hanna, launched a shrewd campaign of reconstruction. In particular, in state after state, they ditched the prohibitionists, who were becoming an embarrassment and losing the Republicans large numbers of German Lutheran votes. Also, they modified their hostility to immigration. By the mid-1890s, the Republicans had moved rapidly toward the center, toward fuzzing over their political pietism.

     In the meanwhile, an upheaval was beginning to occur in the Democratic Party. The South, by now a one-party Democratic region, was having its own pietism transformed by the 1890s. Quiet pietists were now becoming evangelical, and Southern Protestant organizations began to call for prohibition. Then the new, sparsely settled Mountain states, many of them with silver mines, were also largely pietist. Moreover, a power vacuum, which would ordinarily have been temporary, had been created in the national Democratic Party. Poor Grover Cleveland, a hard-money laissez-faire Democrat, was blamed for the Panic of 1893, and many leading Cleveland Democrats lost their gubernatorial and senatorial posts in the 1894 elections. The Cleveland Democrats were temporarily weak, and the Southern-Mountain coalition was ready to hand. Seizing his opportunity, William Jennings Bryan and his pietist coalition seized control of the Democratic Party at the momentous convention of 1896. The Democratic Party was never to be the same again.

     The Catholics, Lutherans, and the laissez-faire Cleveland Democrats were in mortal shock. The “party of our fathers” was lost. The Republicans, who had been moderating their stance anyway, saw the opportunity of a lifetime. At the Republican convention, Rep. Henry Cabot Lodge, representing the Morgans and the pro-gold standard Boston financial interests, told McKinley and Hanna: Pledge yourself to the gold standard–the basic Cleveland economic issue—and drop your silverite and greenback tendencies, and we will all back you. Refuse, and we will support Bryan or a third party. McKinley struck the deal, and from then on, the Republicans, in 19th-century terms, were a centrist party. Their principles were now high tariffs and the gold standard, and prohibition was quietly forgotten….

     The election of 1896 inaugurated the fourth party system in America. From a third party system of closely fought, seesawing races between a pietist/statist Republican vs. a liturgical/libertarian Democratic Party, the fourth party system consisted of a majority centrist Republican party as against a minority pietist Democratic party. After a few years, the Democrats lost their pietist nature, and they too became a centrist, though usually minority party, with a moderately statist ideology scarcely distinguishable from the Republicans. So the fourth party system went until 1932.

     [Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman, The Case For Gold]

     Yes, things were different then. But be aware, even so, that there have been dramatic political upheavals, amounting to the total transformation of partisanship in its entirety, on three occasions in American history. It can happen again, whether through the transformation of one of the “major” parties or through the emergence of a new, vital third party that commands majority sentiment in one or a few key issues, as in 1856.

     Considering that the Usurper Administration plans to use fear to keep us in subjection, how about a new party whose main slogan is:

Be Not Afraid:
Be Americans Again!

     …could create quite a stir, don’t you think?


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    • MrPink on January 27, 2021 at 6:22 AM

    Good on you for moving to hosting matters.

    • xmaddad1 on January 27, 2021 at 7:56 AM

    It appears that you need to reformat where or how your book displays need to appear as they block the content of the articles.

    1. Can’t do it. I can’t even replace the images with smaller images; WordPress automatically expands them to the sizes you see. (One of the reasons I hate WordPress.) At any rate, my browser has no problem of the sort you and others have described. The problem might be on your end.

    • Steve Sumner on January 27, 2021 at 8:03 AM

    I still don’t see how a transformation of political party or parties would reduce the unelected bureaucratic branch.

    1. Well, it wouldn’t, in and of itself, Steve. But a party whose representatives are sincere about “draining the swamp” would be a good start.

        • Steve Sumner on January 27, 2021 at 6:06 PM

        It might be a good start, but my cynicism doesn’t allow me to believe that this transformed party would be any more successful than the TEA party.  Especially given the non-permissive environment that is building up.

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