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2008 elections

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Title:
2008 elections realignment of the American political map
Creator:
Balaban, Leonid
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ix, 158 leaves : ; 28 cm.

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Social Science)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Social Science
Committee Chair:
Robinson, Anthony
Committee Members:
Cummings, Michael
Bookman, Myra

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
2001 - 2009 ( fast )
Presidents -- Election -- United States ( lcsh )
Political science ( fast )
Presidents -- Election ( fast )
Politics and government -- United States -- 2001-2009 ( lcsh )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.S.)--University of Colorado Denver, 2008. Social science
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 154-158).
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Leonid Balaban.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
518020255 ( OCLC )
ocn518020255

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Full Text
2008 ELECTIONS: REALIGNMENT OF THE AMERICAN

POLITICAL MAP
by
LEONID BALABAN
B.A., Univcrsitj- of Colorado Denver, 2000
A thesis submjued to the
University of Colorado Denver
In partial fulfillment
of the requirement for the degree of
Master of Social Science
Department of Social Sciences
2009


This Ihesis for the Master of Social Science
degree by
Leonid Bala ban
has been approved
by
-^3 Anthony Robinson

zotzf
Date


Balabant Leonid (M,S,, Master of Social Sciences)
2008 Elections: Realignment of the American political map.
Thesis directed by Professor Tony Robinson
ABSTRACT
The main purpose for this thesis is to investigate and test the possibility that
electoral realignment in the U.S. took place between 2004 through 2008. Evidence,
based on some inilial empirical indicators and scholarly analysis, will be presented,
that the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections signaled a continuous
movemeni of the political pendulum from a conse^ativc/righl position to a more
liberal/lefl one. This thesis will present inforitiation on the potential endurance and
effectiveness of the currenlly governing Democralic coalition, which is important For
ihe sake of identifying the longevity of ihe possible realignment. Furthermore, it will
identify apparent changes in the composition of American electorate, and as a
consequence, if realignment indeed took place, exploration of potential differences of
the rcalignmcnl effects on four geographical areas of the country; the coastal states of
the Northeast and West, Midwest, Deep South and the Westem/Mountain states will
be made* To investigate these aforemeniioncd questions, empirical evidence from (he
2004-2008 elections, which many arc claiming count as realigning eleclions, will be


compared and contrasted to the last two realigning periods in American history,
which many scholars agree culminated with the 1932 and 1968 eleclions.
This abstract accurately represents ihe content ofthe candidates thesis,rccommcnti
its publication.
Signed


DEDICATION
1 would like to dedicate this thesis to my family for iheir continuous support during
the period of lime while I was writing this paper.also would like to thank members
of my committee for their academic guidance, encouragement and understanding
during this past year of my study.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures 4.1-5.1.................................viii
Tables 4.1-5.5....................................ix
CHAPTER
1.INTRODUCTION.....................................1
Realignment Theory........................ 4
Mayhew's Realignment testing method........ 10
2. HISTORY OF REALIGNING PERIODS IN THE U.S. AND THEIR
CYCLICAL NATURE................................16
3. THE FIRST MOTOR................................27
4. THE SECOND MOTOR...............................40
5. VOTER TURNOUT..................................46
6. TURMOIL DURING PARTY CONVENTIONS...............53
7. PERFORMANCE OF THE THIRD PARTIES...............63
8. A NEW DOMINANT VOTER CLEAVAGE, IDEOLOGICAL
POLARIZATION OF THE ELECTORATE AND NATIONAL
ISSUE-BASED ELECTION N HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES................................71
9. MAJOR CHANGES IN GOVERNMENTAL POLICY AND
REDISTRIBUTIVE EFFECTS OF NEW POLICIES........100
vi


10. LONG SPANS IN UNIFIED PARTY CONTROL..........Ill
11. EFFECTIVE EXPRESSION OF THE VOTING PUBLIC....116
12. CONCLUSION...................................122
13. EPILOGUE.....................................129
APPENDIX
A................................................134
B................................................143
REFERENCES........................................... 54
vii


Figure
FIGURES
Party Identification Gap from 1976 to 2008,in Appendix IA................134
Parly Identification Yearly Averages, Gallup Polls, 1988-2008............43
2002 Postdection State by State map representing Republican
advantage in Party Identification, in Appendix 3A......................136
Trend of changes in Party Identification, including leaners from
1991-2009, in Appendix 6A................................................141
Partisan Gap by Generational Group, in Appendix 7A......................142
Voter turnout in U.S. elections from 1824-1968, in Appendix IB...........143
12 3 4 5 1
4 4 4 4 4 5
VIII


Table
TABLES
4.1 State by State changes in Party Identification from 1993 to 2002,
in Appendix 2A.......................................................135
4.2 State by State shift of the electoral support towards the Democrats,
in Appendix 4A....................................................137
4.3 State by state Democratic Party advantage in Party Identification
in 2007, in Appendix 5A..............................................139
5.1 2008 General Election Voler Registration Statistics in the
in Appendix 2B ...............................................144
5.2 General Election Voter Registration Statistics by parly affiliation
on State by State bases, in Appendix 3B..............................146
5*3 Voter Registration Statistics by party affiliation
on State by State bases change from 2004-2008^ in Appendix 4B,*....148
5.4 2008 estimated voter turnout and turnout rate in the U.S.
compared to the 2004 statistics, in Appendix 513...................150
5.5 National Voter turnout statistics for federal elections
from 1960-2008 in the U.SM in Appendix 6B...........................152
ix


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Fundamentally, the November 4th outcome was completely predictable... The truth
is this: any mainstream Democratic candidate was destined to win in 2008, when the
age-old slogan, Mt's Time for a Change/ had powerful new meaning. The electoral
conditions the fundamentals I often call "the north stars of politics' could not have
been more clear or bright in Ihc sky. The north stars that applied to the 2008 contest
were presidential popularity, economic condition^ and war and peace (Sabato, 2009)*
The preceding conclusion concerning the results of the 2008 Presidential and
Congressional elections, written by Larry h Sabato, Professor of Politics aMhe University of
Virginia, invite ihe following questions: did this so called "alignment of stars'' that allowed
the Democrats to increase their majorities in both houses of Congress and recapture the
Presidency for only the 3rd time in last 40 years take place because of the cyclical nature of
American elections? Is there empirical evidence that can consistently predict a changing
political environment every 30-40 years (Mayhew, 2002, pg 16), as some observers have
claimed? Do these 2008 elections, which arguably have completely transformed the political
landscape of our country, represent a fundamental and enduring shift in the American
political system, as it would in a cyclical political sysiem, or is it just a tcmporar>' electoral
blip or a spike in political tendencies of the electorate?
Many political scientists are inclined^ at this point, lo favor the notion that the results
of the 2008 Presidenlial and Congressional elections in the United States represent a
fundamental and long term realignment in American politics. The outcome of those elections,
l


in conjunction with the 2006 mid-terms, produced empirical evidence which shows a clear
shift of the U.S. electorate towards the Democratic Party and away from the Republican
Part>', which as recently as 2004 had full control over both the legislative and executive
branches of our government Some believe this shift in support is part of a larger realignment
of American politics.
Therefore, the main purpose for this thesis is to investigate and test the possibilit>r
that electoral realignment in the U.S, took place between 2004 through 2008, Evidence,
based on some initial empirical indicators and scholarly analysis, will be presented, that the
2008 Presidential and Congressional elections signaled a continuous movement of the
political pendulum from a conservative/right position to a more liberal/left one. Another
important goal for this paper is to investigate the potential endurance and effectiveness of the
currently governing DemCMratic coalition, which is importani for the sake of identifying the
longevity of the possible realignment. Furthermore, it is also scholastically imperative to
identify apparent changes in the composition of American electorate. Was there a so called
generational fciturnovef' in Ihe electorate, meaning new voters replaced the old ones, or was
the alleged realignment caused by a simple psychological change within llie same electorate
that only four years ago re-elected Republican president and allowed the GOP to regain
control in both houses of Congress? As a consequence, if realignment indeed took place, I
will explore potential differences of the realignment effects on four geographical areas of the
county: the coastal states of the Northeast and West, Midwest, Deep South and the
Westem/Mountain states. To investigate these aforementioned questions1 will compare and
contrast empirical evidence from the 2004-2008 elections, which many arc claiming count as
2


realigning elections, to the last two realigning periods in American hisloryt which many
scholars agree culminated with the 1932 and 196$ elections.
Examining the questions of realignment and whether it actually took place in the last
four years is important on many levels. Not only would it help to explain relatively recent
changes that took place within the electorate, in terms of its demographical composition as
well as its latest political tendencies, but also describe transformation within the field of
public policy, Campbell and Trilling wrote that the scholarship surrounding the concept of
realignment enhances fc%the study of the whole democratic process that process by which the
desires of the public are translated into public policy1' (Campbell, Trilling, 1980, pg. ix). In
essence, further enhancing the validi^ of the realigning theory1 in turn props up the notion
that once a generation, there is a radical change in Ihc direction of the public policy in the
United States, both on the domestic and international fronts. Thus, if enough scientific
evidence exists that realignment indeed took place in the last four years, it will also prove that
the underlying nature of American politics the Two Party political system is still
functioning in a way it was designed by the founders.
On the other hand, it is within the realms of possibility that despite some initial
indicators, realignment did not take place in the period from 2004-2008. If that indeed is the
case, then it would be very appropriate to not only find oul the reasons behind this theoretical
divergence, but also question whether ihe realignment evaluation method was at fault and in
turn needs to be amended. If it is found that realignment theor>r is not valid as it currently
constructed, perhaps some fundamental changes would need to be made to it.
3


Realignment Theory
The concept of Electoral Realignment was first introduced by V.O. Key in his 1955
article called A Theory of Critical Elections, He defined realigning elections as a unique
category of elections in which:
voters are, at least from impressionistic evidence, unusually deeply concerned, in
which the extent of electoral involvement is relatively quite high, and in which the
decisive results of ihc voting reveal a sharp alteration of the pre-existing cleavage
within the electorate,The truly differentiating characteristic of ihis sort of
eleclion[s]t the realignment made manifest in the voting in such elections seems to
persist for several succeeding elections. All these characteristics cumulate to the
conception of an election type in which the depth and intensity of electoral
involvcmenl are high, in which more or less profound readjustments occur in the
relations of power within the community, and in which new and durable electoral
groupings are formed (Key, 1955^ pg 4)f
Four years later, Key somewhat revised his initial concept of sudden shifts within voting
coalitions during realigning elections. In his 1959 article, fc System,M he introduced a new concept oPhsecularM realignment which meant lhat majorit>r
voting factions can change more gradually as opposed to more abruptly or swiftly (Key
1959, 198-210). Key's theor>f has since propagated a substantial literature on the subject of
electoral realignments. Campbell and Trilling, for instance, defined ihc concept of
realignment as a political process when there is durable and significant redistribution of
party support"' (Campbell & Trilling, 1980, pg. 29). They also classified realignment as
4


Critical' when "kthe bulk of the redistribution takes place within reasonable defined time
limits^ (Campbell & Trillings 1980, pg. 29), Furthermore, Campbell and Trilling introduced a
concept of a "critical election", which ^initially displays most of major portion of the elements
of a critical realignment in its results^ (Campbell & Trilling, 1980, pg. 30).
Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes also took Key?s original theory and amended
it by classiiymg American elections imo 3 different types: maintainingdeviating and
lrealigning\ maintaining election^ they said, attachments prevailing in the preceding period persists and is the primary influence on forces
governing the vote,T (Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes,1960, pg. 531). The 1983
election of George H.W. Bu$h(Busti 41) as the 41M President of the U.S., for instance, may
be considered as one of the examples of the maintaining election. Following eight years of
Ronald Reagan^s presidency, Bush 41,who was Reagan's Vice-President for eight years,
represented a continuation of his predecessors policies. His victory and winning voter
coalition closely mirrored those of Reagan in 1980 and 1984.*
Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes went on to classify a deviating election as
one where s"lhe basic division of partisan loyalties is not seriously disturbed, but the attitude
forces on the vole are such as to bring about the defeat of the majority partj^' (Campbell,
Converse, Miller and Stokes, I960, pg, 533), They added that "after the personalities or
events that deflected these forces from whai we would expect on the basis of party have
disappeared from the scene, the political balance returns to a level that more closely reflects
the underlying division of partisan attachments^ (Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes, 1
1 Lcip, David. Dave Leip*s Alias o/U.S. Presidenftat Elections. Relrieved from
hltpjVwww.uselectionailas.org.
5


I960, pg.533). The four authors concluded that "a deviating election is thus a lemporar>r
reversal that occurs during a period when one or the other party holds a clear advantage in the
long-term preference of the electorate^ {Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes^ 1960, pg-
533). A case in point of ^ deviating election could be a 1992 Presidential victory of Bill
Clinton and his subsequent reelection in 1996, Clinton's victory in 1992 was largely
attributed to the strong showing of a 3rd party candidate Ross Perot, who siphoned a tot of
conservative support from Bush 4 ] But Clintons victory did not signal an end to the
Republican-dominated electoral era. During Clinton's eight years as President, the
Republicans not only regained a majority in the Senate, but also captured control of the
House of Representatives for Ihe first time in 40 years. Funhermorc, his economic agenda
which included further promotion of the free global trade, Welfare reform, reduction of
budget deficits^ and lowering of interest rales, were arguably conservative economic policies
which were widely supported by the Republicans anti economic conservatives (Bartlelt
2004), In fact, Clinton's famous phase from one of his 1996 radio addresses thal ihe fcThe era
of big Government is over'1 (CNN, 1996) arguably highlighted his conservative economic
tendencies and in some ways continued policies which were offered by Republican President
Ronald Reagan (Goodwin, 2009), The eventual election of George W. Bush as the 43rd
President, following the Clinton years, and his subsequent reelection in 2004 possibly
confirmed the notion lhat the 1992 and 1996 Presidential elections were deviating.
Lastly, Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes characterized a realigning election by
"ihe appearance of sa more or less durable realignment" of parly loyalties/^ They said that in
such an election, "popular feeling associated with politics is sufficiently intense that the basic
partisan commitments of a portion ofthe electorate changeCampbellConverse, Miller and
6


Stokes,1960, pg. 534). Noting Key's observation, Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes
wrote that although every election has a polential of creating or strengthening voters! lasting
loyalty to a political party, it is only during a sharp realignment where the number of those
voters is so great. Most importantly, the authors obser\red a pattern where ^changes in long-
term party allegiances lend to be associated with great national crises,T (Campbell, Converse,
Miller and Stokes, 1960, pg, 534). As a vivid example of a realigning election, Campbell
brought forth the 1932 election, which featured kithe most dramatic reversal of party
alignments in [the 20,h] cenlury...associated with the Great Depression of the I930,s,"
(Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes, 1960, pg. 534). He wenl on to say thal the economic
collapse that transpired during the Hoover Administration discredited the GOP so much that
uit fell from its impressive majorities of the 1920's to a series of defeats, which in 1936
reached overwhelming dimensions^ (Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes, I960, pg, 534).
Walter Burnham was one of the first scholars lo note that electoral realignments
emerge in time cycles, taking place fairly regularly, just about ever>r thirty to thirty-eiglu
years or so. He said that '"historically speaking, al least, national critical realignments have
not occurred at random, Iasteads there has been a remarkably uniform periodicity in their
appearance'" (Burnham, 1970, pg 8, 26), Arthur Paulson concurred with this cyclical theory
by saying that "a broad consensus in the literature places previous realignments in the 1830s,
the 1860s, the 1890s, and the 1930s. The periodicity of realignments may reflect waves of
economic modernization and political developmentwith new issues and interests
accompanying the decline of old partisan altgnmenls and the rise of new ones"' (Paulson
2000, pg. xvi). He also added that newly formed electoral coalitions may reflect several
varying combinations of voters including party switchers, a new generation of voters, as well
7


as the emergence of a portion of the electorate that has not previously voted in high levels,
but has now mobilized for one reason or another. With that said, it is quite clear that
realignment theor>' has changed over the decades, mainly due to the additional research on
the subject. However, the original core principles of Key's theory still remain the same within
the scope of new scholarship on realignment.
In a global sense, the realignment theory, as it currently stands, suggests that there is
an element of predictability in American political system. Within that predictability notion,
the theory proposes that fundamental changes inside the system itself or within the electorate
occur with regular periodiciiy^ every 32 to 40 years. Thus, realignment junctions and critical
elections can be predicted with a fair degree of certainty. In a scope of political and social
science, the realignment theory explains American political system as a pendulum that swings
from one side to another with the aid of the forces of change within the society. The duration
of each swing lasts about three to four decades or approximately one generation, after which
the direction of the swing changes and new electoral cycle begins.
In some ways, the realignment theory relates with the theor>' of retrospective voting.
In general terms, the main concept of the retrospective voting assumes thal the electorate
bases its voting decisions on the past performances of an incumbent party in power. If the
voters perceive that an incumbent party accomplished positive results within a certain period
of time (usually in-belween the elections), then more likely than not, the propensity of
reelectton of candidates from that party rises. On the other hand, if an incumbent party
performed poorly, then propensity to vote for lhat party falls.2 Taken retrospective voting into
7 Bcndor, Kumar, S,T & Siegdk D. A. (I September, 2005), K O. Key Fornwiized; Retrospective
Voting as an Adaptive Process. Retrieved from http://www,allacademic.convmcta/p40005 indcx^html
8


consideration, realignmem essentially takes place when voters become unhappy with the
incumbent party's short and long term performance or overall direction of the country in
terms of public policies. With that, the electorate changes its long term preference from one
party towards another. Several decades later* the electorate sours on majority parly and its
policies and the political pendulum swings back towards the minority or opposition party, and
with that, new realignment cycle begins.
Although in its current stale the realignment theor>r has a solid footing within the
political science domain^ there arc $tiN some scholars who at times challenged either certain
portions of the theor^r or its standing as a whole. Mayhew, who has designed a fifteen point
metric which will be used extensively in this thesis as a method to lest for the potential of
realignment and a critical election in 2008, for instance argued that some melhods which had
been used by a number of scholars in the past to identify realignment periods do not reliably
show the existence and the periodicity thereof (Mayhew, 2002, pg. 46-59). Paul Allen Beck,
among others also questioned at times the viability of the realignment thcor>r on the grounds
that the realignment of the late 1960s did not fit ihc definitions initmlly established by V. O,
Key (Rosenof, 2003, pg.141). Rosenof wrote that many political scientists argued that what
took place in the 1970s in this countrj- should be considered as dealignmenl, as voters
abandoned political parties as opposed to participation in the political process with one party
or another (Rosenof 2003pg. 141). However, armed with latest empirical evidence, Paulson,
among other scholars, argues that *hdealignment perspective does not inherently discount the
notion of periodic sea change in American elections and party systems^" (Paulson, 2006, pg,
11) the two notions which in many ways define American political system as unique and
unparalleled.
9


Mav_hews Realignment testing_method
Analyzing the 2006 and 2008 elections for the possibility of realignment will be done
by utilizing one of the latest models for testing ihe theory, which was devised by David
Mayhew. He wrote that realignment theT>r is "in principle empirically testable, or at least [it
has] a testabte empirical sideM (Mayhew, 2002, pg.13). Mayhew explained that realignment
theory, by his estimation, had fifteen distinct key claims. He assessed that most of these
claims can be empirically tcslcd, since all but the last of the 15 claims "'are universalistic in
form at least across the domain of American histor>r. The last is historical^ (Mayhew, 2002,
pg. 13), In describing the fifteen key claims that could be tested in realignment theory,
Mayhew noted that the first four items in his testable method "add up to the kind of content
found in a cyclical theory of hislory such as business-cycle theor>\ They feature a
phenomenon that recurs, a specified periodicity of the recurrence, and two alternative causes
of the alleged periodicityw (Mayhew 2002, pg. 13). Furthermore he classified the next six
claims those that "'take up process events that are thought to map onto electoral
realignments in various way" (Mayhew, 2002, pg. 13). Meaning, these claims explain
relationships between election related events, such as voter turnout and movements along the
line of part>' aHlIiation and the alleged realignment. The next four items take up issues
relating to ihe effects on the governmental policy. Mayhew noted that the last claim is not
easily classifiable, but still are part of a testable theor>', in the whole.
The following are the fifteen claims which Mayhew devised to test elections for
evidence of realignment:
10


Through the examination of patterns of voter support for parties over
time, American national elections can be sorted into two kindsa few
specified realigning ones and a great many nonrealigning ones.
Electoral realignments have appeared in a pattern of regularitythat is
periodicity.
First motor; A dynamic of tension buildup has caused the oscillation in
and out of ihc thirty-year-or-so realignment cycles.
Second motor: A strengthening and weakening of party identification has
caused the oscillation in and out of the thirty-ycar-or-so realignment
cycles.
Voter concern Realignments arc marked by turmoil in presidential conventions.
For one reason or another^ good showings by third parlies tend to
stimulate, or at least to take place shortly before, realignments.
In an electoral realignment, a new dominant voter cleavage over
interests, ideological tendencies, or issues replaces an old one.
Elections at realignment junctures are marked by insurgent-led
ideological polarization.
At least as regards the U,S, House, realigning elections hinge on national
issues, nonrealtgning elections on local ones.
Electoral realignments arc associated with major changes in government
policy.
Electoral realignments bring on long spans of unified party control of the
government that is, of the House, Senate, and presidency; such spans
are precondition of major policy innovation.
Electoral realignments arc distinctively associated with 4fcredistnbutivcM
policies.
The American voting public expresses itself effectively and
consequentially during electoral realignments, but not otherwise.
There existed a System ofl 8%
Mayhcw argues that although every election has its own distinct characteristics when
it comes to voter participation, stability or ihe shifting preference of the electorate, history
and research shows that realignment periods reveal distinct similarities between each other.
The main approach of this thesis will be based on a replication of the Mayhew's fifteen point
model, testing Ihe empirical data from the 2006-2008 elections ngainsl Mayhew's indicators
of realignmenL with the exception of the last claim which is not really empirically testable
and therefore will be omitted and thus will be omitted in this thesis. This is a timely scholarly
2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9

3-4
11


task since there i$ suggestive evidence that the 2008 election may indeed qualify as a "critical
election.1' Part of this evidence is the suggestive fact that several decades have passed since
the last realignment period and the last critical election. Thus, taking into the consideration
the cyclical nature of the realignments and the notion that the last critical election in the U.S.
took place most likely in 1968 (Paulson, 2000, pg.18)s the hypothesis is that 2008 election
occurred at precisely the right historical time to qualify as a critical/realigning election. I will
test this hypothesis in the remaining chapters of this thesis.
n the second chapter of this thesis, will discuss the first two claims in the Mayhew
system, although they will not be directly tested against the 2006 and 2008 election data by
themselves. The real purpose of examining these claims is to establish Ihe notion that
realigning periods and critical elections in the American history have indeed taken place and
that they took place roughly ever>r thirty to forty years throughout American history.
The third chapter will discuss Mayhew's Hrst Motor claim, which describes
political tension buildup leading up to the realignment :ind a critical election. Thus, in
addition to introducing historical occurrences of prior socio-economic and political tension
buildup in prior realigning periods, I will comprehensively review political and economic
news accounts relating to the 2006 and 2008 election cycles in order to explore the evidence
of similarities between the current situation and realigning periods taking place 40 and 76
years ago respectively.
In the forth chapter of this lhcsisT I will explore party identification dala and whether
substantial changes in electoral partisanship can currently be considered as evidence of
realignment. Chapter five will present evidence of voter turnout patterns and whether ihc
12


trend in increased participation in 2006 and 2008 compares favorably to olhcr realigning
periods.
In chapter six, I will discuss whether any signiHcant events took place during the
part>r primaries and for the lesser extent conventions, which could have contributed to
irreconcilable party divisions leading up to the general elections. This particular section will
be more relevant to the presidential elections of 2008 than the congressional elections in 2006
and 2008 respectively* Chapter seven will discuss whether Third parties had any effect on the
outcome of the 2008 elections and to Ihe lesser extent in 2006,
In chapter eight, I will explore whether new voter alliances have been formed within
the UtS. electorate in the past two election cycles. I intend (o delve into the differences
between the new electoral coalition and that in 2004. Historical comparison to the 196S and
1932 voting coalitions will be made as well. Within that chapter, I will also look into how
polarized the new voter coalitions became in the recent elections and what were the key
issues behind that polarization. Furthermore, I will explore whether those key issues were on
the level of national importance (as in Mayhew's tenth point) or were more or less localized-
In chapter 9,1 will explore whether Democrats have been able to introduce and
implement radical changes to the governmental policies since the 2006 election. As a
subsection to that analysis, I will delve into the potential redistributive cfTccts of those
policies, as in Mayhcw's thirteenth point.
With the Democrats holding solid majorities in both houses of Congress and the
Presidency, Chapter 10 will delve into the long term potential endurance of the party in the
majority. Although elections of members of House of Representatives are much harder to
13


prognosticate, the electoral contests within the Senate arc much easier to predict, since only a
Third of that chamber is up for re-election in the next declion cycle.
I chapter 11,1 will discuss how efTectivdy the voting public expressed itself during
the 2006 and 2008 elections. I will explore whether voters wanted to go with the new
governmental policy approach presented by the Democrats as opposed to just voting against
the Republicans. Furthermore, within the scope of analyzing Ihc efFectiveness of the
expression of the voting public, I will analyze whether the margin of victory by the
Democrats in 2008 (and to lesser extent in 2006) in the Electoral College, popular vote and
number of Congressional seats won can be considered a mandate to implement monumental
changes to the govemmenlal policies.
An examination of the results of the 2006 and 2008 elections in ihc U,S for potential
signs of realignment can serve multiple purposes. Firstly, this thesis will produce evidence of
whether Ihcrc arc any signs pointing to the confirmation or a repudiation of the hypothesis
that ihe period spanning from 2006 through 2008 can be considered realigning, as described
by the Realignment theory Secondly, if it is proven that realignment did indeed take place,
and the 2008 election was critical, then it ought to give us some early indicators of the future
political direction of this countrv1 and thus allow us to make claims as to when the next
realignment might take place. Although this thesis will present the latest scholarship relating
to realignment theory, I will not much engage in the debate as to whether the thcor>' is
fundamentally right or wrong, Mayhevv's fifteen claim system of testing for realignment will
only be used as a method of testing whether recent elections do or do not count as
^rcaligning.^ For the purpose of this thesis it will be assumed that both realignment iheoiy
and Mayhews system of testing for realignment are essentially valid. In other wordsthe
14


point of this thesis is to replicate and test Mayhew's theory against recent electionsnot to
debate realignment theory itself.
However, in the concluding section of this thesis I will propose suggestions on how
realignment theor>r might be improved based on the findings of my research. Furthermore, I
will offer readers my recommendations on whether there is a need to further validate the
basic fundamentals of the realignment theory and Mayhew?s system for testing it, in light of
the latest developments.
15


CHAPTER 2
HISTORY OF REALIGNING PERIODS IN THE U.S.
AND THEIR CYCLICAL NATURE
V.O, Key, who developed the original theoretical core of the realignment theory,
conceptualized realignments as periods in political history when "'sharp and durable"' changes
take place within the political alignment of the voting electorate, and those rather radical
transformations only take place during certain elections (Mayhew, 2002, pg. 14). Burnham
added to that by saying that critical elections have differed in their kind from all other non-
critica) elections (Mayhcw, 2002, pg. 14), Furthermore, Burnham supplemented the original
concept by asserting that the realigning periods appear periodically, with each cycle emerging
approximately once every thirty to thirtj^eighl years (Mayhew, 2002, pg, 16). Paul Allen
Beck concurred with Burnham's assessment, and also added that realignments are usually
followed by a long period of time when politics are become normalized and stabilized
(Mayhew, 2002, pg. 16).
From the historical perspeclivc, up until 2008, the American political system can be
divided inlo six distinct phases party systems, which lasted approximately 32-40 years for
the most part, and which were separated by a period of rcalignmenl. Each of those partj-
systems was unique in their own way, but at the &ame time, they all displayed similarilies
with each other as well. The first party system was t>om righl after the 1789 election of
George Washington as ihe first President of the USM who ran virtually unopposed in his
16


campaign3, and as the only President who did not align himself to a particular political party.
Almost four years later, in the 1792 congressional elections, the Federalists (supporters of ihe
strong federal government) had fomied a political party and ran against the Anti-Federalists
{supporters of Ihc loose confederacy) who themselves evolved into a Democratic *
Republican Party. Grier Stephenson points out that although the Federalist Party initially
dominated political field in the original13 states, their run was rather short lived as
Democratic-Republicans replaced them the ruling partv afler 1800, when Thomas
JefTerson became president. The Federalists gradually faded away as a credible political force
and by 1820 Ihcrc was no candidate for the presidency running as a Fcderalisi (Stephenson,
1999, pg, 28),
The domination of the Democratic-Republican Part> grew so much, that the years
1816-1824 almost completely lacked any sort of partisan confrontation and ihis period was
subsequently called ihc wEra of Good Feeling.^ This epoch period reached its peak in the
election of 1820, when President James Monroe "was re-elected with all but one electoral
vote a vote withheld only due to the voters concern lhat George Washington should remain
as the sole president elected unanimously.^ Furthermore, the supremacy of the Democratic-
Republican Party was evident not only in the Presidential elections, but also in House and
Senate elections. In fact, from 1801 through 1824, the Democratic Republican Party enjoyed
a 24 year period of unintemipted unified control of both the executive and legislative (House
J Dykman, J. & Gregory, S. (4 November, 2008). 10 Elections Thar Changed America. Time
Magazine. Retrieved from
htlD//wwwJtime.convltime/spccials,,packa&e^ariiclc^0>288ft4.1856551 1856544 1856530,00.html
4 Rutgers University. Archive of American Polisics: ftEra of Good Feeiing^. Retrieved from
httpi,lwww.ea£lclon.rumcrs.edu/c-gv/e"politicalarchive-good fcding.htm
17


of Representatives and the Senate) branches of our government.5 From the historical
perspective, this type of political domination has never been replicated as of 2008. As a
matter of comparison. Republicans had achieved only 14 years of unified control from 1897-
1911, and Democrats accomplished ihe same from 1933-1947 (Campbell, Trilling, pg. 293).
Eventually, Stephenson notes, the era collapsed in 1824 when a rivalry for the
presidency developed among four Democraiic-Republican leaders John Quincy Adams,
William H. Crawford, Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. Those challengers ended up splitting
the electoral vote into four, with no one receiving a clear electorate majority- With some
heavy political maneuvering. Clay steered the election towards Adams in the House of
Representatives. Jackson and his supporters were furious of Ihc outcome, with them alleging
that corruption had taken place. The confrontation caused an irreparable rift within the
Democratic-Republican Party which then split into a Democratic Party led by Jackson and the
Whig Party led by Clay.
With that said, the first party system lasted approximately 32 years. The transitional
period between 1824 through 1828 was ihe first actual realignment in the histor%1 of the
American political system. This realignment period culminated with the critical election of
Andrew Jackson in the 1828 Presidential elections, which in turn signaled the beginning of
the second party system. In thal monumental election, ihc Jackson won every state in the
South and West while the incumbent Adams swept the electoral votes of every state in the
North except Pennsylvania and part of New York.
s United States Senate. Parry Division in she Senate, 1789- Present. Retrieved from
http//www,senatc.iiov/pagelavoutl,historv/ne itgm and icascrs.'partvdiv.htm: Office of the Clerk,
U.S. House of Reprcsertatives. Party Divisions of the House of Represe^iaiives (17S9 to Present).
Retrieved from hltp.'/clerk.house.gov/art hislor>r/hjsc histor\/i>artyDtv.html
18


The Second System featured what some might call an electoral revolution- From the
mid 1820s thought 1840s, most states repealed properly qualifications for voting and office
holding. Moreover^ ^direct methods of selecting presidential electors, county officials, state
judges, and governors replaced indirect niethods.'*6 Because of these and other political
innovations, voter participation skyrocketed. "Twice as many voters cast ballots in the
election of 1828 as in 1824, four times as many as in I820.n7 By 1840 voting participation
had reached unprecedented levels. Nearly 80 percent of adult white males went to the polish
Even though each of the l\vo major political parlies h"was stronger in some states than in
others, nationally they were closely balanced. Between 1836 and 1852, (the] Democrats won
the presidency in 836*1844, and 1852, while Whigs prevailed in 1840 and 1848.#
Additionally, both Whigs and the Democrats at some point between 1828 through ] 850s were
in control of one or both houses of Congress.
The Second Part> system began to show signs of instability starting in the mid-1840s,
as the Wigs and the Democrats '"began to split along sectional lines over slavery extension,
and that sectional rupture would ultimately help cause the system's demise in the mid-
1850s.0 The American political system, during the 1850s* became incapabe of containing
the sectional disputes between the North and South that had smoldered for more lhan half a 7 9
Mintz, S. (2007). Jacksonian Democracy: The Presidency of Andrew Jackson. Digital History.
Retrieved from httP//www.dit!aalhi5rrv.ah,cdu.,daiabase ,article displav.cfm?HHID-j /
7 Ibid
"Mintz, S, (2007). Jacksonian Democracy: Ri^e of Democratic Politics. Digital History^,
Retrieved from hltp://www.ditfitalhistorv.uh.e(iu,database'article displav.crm?HHIP^633
9 Holt, M. F. (2002). Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials,
1840-1869. Retrieved from lntp://dig.lib,niu.edu,,message/ps-Qvcrview.himl
Ibid
19


century.^11 12 The Whig part} collapsed and the Democratic Party split into Northern and
Southern factions. "With the breakdown of the party system, the issues raised by slavery
exploded. The bonds that had bound the country for more than seven decades began to
unravel.,,t2 Gordon Kleeberg concurred with thal assessment, saying thal the period between
1851 to 1859 was full of political transitions, during which "old political alignments in the
United States were broken and gave place to new crystallization of voters and in which also
fomier political issues were supplanted by the paramount contest over slavery in the
Territories1'(Kleebcrg, 1914t pg,13). In 1854, following the Kansas-Nebraska Act, some
thirty members of Congress agreed to form a new politicnl party the Republican Party
(GOP), which initially consisted of a number of former members of the Whig Party, Free
Soilersand Democrats {Klccberg, 1914, pg.13)* With thal, the Second Party system, which
lasted just like the first one for approximately 32 years, was essentially over.
With ihe creation of the GOP, the second realignment in American history took
place.ll concluded with the critical election of I860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected as
the first Republican President. The third part> system began during the period of the Civil
War and lasted roughly 36 years, during which the Republican Party dominated the
presidential elections. Due to its support for abolition of slavery, and other economic
programs in conjunction to the Reconstruction^ the GOP had won all bul two presidential
contests in 1884 and in 1892,It is important to note, however, that during and following the
Civil Wat, voters in Southern states, who were largely supporters of the Democratic Party,
were disenfranchised, if they had fought on the side of the Confederacy. Moreover, with the
11 Mintz, S. (2007), The Impending Crisis: The Slave Power Conspiracy. Digital History. Retrieved
from http/'www.di^iUilhistorv,.uh.edu,databasc,,ariiclc displav-cfm?HHI0=324
12 Ibid
20


Reconstruction Act of 1876, Congress divided Southern states into five military districts,
which led to the essential disenfranchisement of entire Southern region.13
After Reconstruction^ the Democrats made solid political gains in the South, fckwhere
resentment by whites toward Republican domination of their region after the Civil War was
high and when Southern blacks were prohibited from active participation in politics by the
notorious Jim Crow lawsT, (MaiseK Buckley, 2004, pg, 43). Moreover, between 1874 to 1892
Ihe Democrats would often controlihe House of Representatives, With that, by the lime the
third party system would run ils course, the Southern states were solidly Democratic, while
the Northern and Western stales were mostly Republican. This type of electoral and
geographical division among the two political parties would hold up for another seven
decades up until the 1968 elections.
On the surface, ihere was no obvious realignmeru thal took place between the third
and forth part>r system. The fourth party system, which lasted roughly from the mid 1890s to
1932, unlike previous ones, did nol represent a substantial electoral change per se. Yet,
Paulson wrote that uthe ] 896 declion established a normal Republican national majority with
control of the Presidency and Congress^' (Paulson, 2000, pg. 7). The Republican Party
continued its domination when ii came to the presidential elections, bu( the change in the
forth part\* system was represented by the supremacy tn the control of the Congress as well as
^he issues that separated the parties and the allegiances of large groups of voters,? (Maisel,
Buckley, 2004, pg. 48)r In the aftennath of the 1896 election, the Republicans had solidified
their base in the urban and north-east areas, while the Democrats' electoral foundation was
13 Glass, A. (23 February, 2008). Mississippi readmitted to ihe Union Feb. 23,1870, Politico.
Retrieved from htlp;//www.ixiliticoxorn'fnews/slrics.,Q208;8640.html
21


mostly in the south and some western areas. From that point on, Maisel and Buckley wrote,
lkthe Republicans would hold the White House for sixteen consecutive years and for twenty-
eight of the next thirty-six years'1 (Maisel, Buckley, 2004, pg, 48). Only the Democrat
Woodrow Wilson was able to break the mold by winning the presidency in 1912 and 1916
(Maisel, Buckley, 2004, pg. 48). The Democrats recaptured the reins of Congress during the
Wilson's presidency, but by 1920 the Republican coalition had regained its control of both
branches of the U.S. government. The fourth parly system which lasted for approximately 36
years was marked by some fairly progressive reforms, which included women finally
attaining their right to vote.
The next realignment took place following the stock market crash in 1929 and
following the Great Depression in the first two years of the 1930s. The midterm elections in
1930 showed the first signs of cracks within ihc Republican coalition, as the GOP tost 52
House scats and eventually lost conirol of that chamber4u Moreover, the Democrats gained 8
seats in the Senate, bringing the party division within one seat: 47 for the Democrats and 48
for the GOPh Essenlially, Maisel and Buckley wrote, ^the American public blamed the Great
Depression on Republican president Herbert Hoover and his party"' (Maisel, Buckley, 2004,
pg. 50). In ihc critical election of 1932, the populist message of economic reforms from the
Democratic governor from New York Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) resonated with the voters,
and he crushed the incumbent Republican Hoover al Ihe polls by winning 472 to 59 in the *
M Before the first day of Congress,14 represcntalives*elect died. The results of the special elections
caused party control of the House to change and Democrats organized with the majority of the House
sears. Office of the Clerk, U,S, House of Representatives. Party1 Divisions of the House of
Representatives (1789 to Present), Retrieved from
hnp//clerk.houstffcaov/aft historv/house hisrQrN/partvDiv.html^foorl
22


Electoral College, alongside capturing some 57 percent of the popular vote. With that, the
fifth party system had begun, lasting for approximately 36 years.
The popularity of the New Deal programs and tlie overall approval of the Democrats
by the electorate during the World War II was marked by the mandate like reelections up
until the 1946 election. Even considering the fact that the Republicans regained control the
Congress in 1946 and won presidential elections in both 1952 and 1956 both by Dwight D,
Eisenhower, these elections were seen as more or less as deviating. Eisenhower, by today's
standards, was hardly a conservative as he expanded Social Security* trimmed the Defense
budget and initiated the interstate highway system* one of the largest public works projects in
American histoi>.15
Having said thau Maiscl and Buckley contended, the majority of the American
electorate in the 1950s was still more aligned with the Democratic Party and its continuing
New De^l policies. In the 1954 elections, the Democrats rc-took the House of Representatives
and didn+t relinquish control of that chamber for another 40 years. In Ihe same election, they
also regained control of the Senate, With the elections of J.F. Kennedy in 1960 and Lyndon
Johnson in 1964, the Democrats once again dominated the political landscape by controlling
bolh the legislative and the executive branches of government.
In spile of that, by the middle 19605 Ihc New Deal coalition was clearly eroding. The
erosion actually started in 1948, when ihe Democratic Party was divided into 3 different
camps: the Truman status quo camp, the Progressive camp led by Henrjr Wallace and the
Southern segregationist faction led by Strom Thurmond. The Southern Democratic blct
15 Black, A. & Hopkins, J* (2003). The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Dwight Eisenhower Eleanor
Rooseyeh Nationa! Historic Site. Retrieved from
hitpi/ uAKw.nps.gov/archive/cIra^loss^rx'ciscnhowcr-dwi^hi.htni
23


critical to the once mighty Roosevelt electoral coalition, was breaking away from the party.
Maisel and Buckley wrote that h4the prominent issues of the 1960s civil rights and the
Vietnam war further drove the wedge in the Democratic Party between conservative
Southerners and their more liberal copartisans in the NorthMaisd, Buckley, 2004, pg52)
In fact, the Democratic Parly was actually split into Ihrce different factions. The liberal wing
of the party, which consisted of the intellectual elite, opposed the war, while ihe so called
blue-collar wing ended up supporting itconsidering Ihe fact that their sonsor the most
part, being the ones fighting in the conflict^ (Maisel, Buckley, 2004* pg. 53). The third wing
of the party, which represented the conservative South, was peeling off on the civil rights
issues.
According to V.O. Key, the electoral reatignmciU that was clearly taking place in the
1960s was somewhat different in nature, if compared lo the previous ones. Key dubbed it as
^secular^ in nature^ as it started roughly in 1948 and spanned for over two decades (Key,
1959,198-210)- With the divided Democratic Partyt a conservative tide in the South, West
coast, ihc Mountain states and in rest of Ihe country^ suburbia took place and led to the
election of Ihc Republican Richard Nixon as ihe President in Ihe 1968.
The critical election in 1968 signaled the beginning of the six party system, which
lasted roughly until the end of 2004, During this 36 year period, Southern Slates on the
political level continued their transition from being once solidly Democratic lo being firnnty
behind the Republican Parly^ which was one of the primary reasons behind Republicans
winning in 7 out of 10 presidential elections. Allhough during that pericnj the Democrats
technically controlled the House of Representatives exclusively from 1968-1994, and had
control of the Senate for many of those years as well, most of the Southern Democrats voted
24


with the GOP on a great number of bills, especially those concerning social issues. This was
especially evident during the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan, when for all
intents and purposes the GOP held a governing majority, by relying on the conservative
Democrats to deliver on Reagan^s agenda. Following the Democrat Bill Clinton's 1992
presidential victory, the 1994 Republican Revolution and the so called ''Contract for
America allowed the GOP to recapture the House of Representalivcs for the first time in
forty years and regain its majority in the Senate, By the mid 1990s, Southern Representatives
and Senators essentially became the base of the Republican Party in Congress, ^Republican
strength in state legislatures throughout the South reached new post-Reconstruction peaks1"
(Maisd, Buckley, 2004, pg. 54)
This pattern continued in the first two elections of the new millennium, when it
arguably reached its peak. In 2002 midterms, with help from the congressional rcdistricting,
ihe Republican Party expanded its ranks in the House, Their Southern Republican majority by
that time reached three-fifths of the total number of seats from (he South (Black, Black, 2008,
pg,193). Furthermore, the GOP was also victorious in 60 percent of the congressional
districts in the Midwestern states. It was, according to Earl and Meric Black, the strongest
performance by the Republicans in lhal area of the county since the early 1950s (Black,
Black. 2008, pg. 195). In 2004 elections, the GOP expended its majorities in the House and in
the Senate even more, in addition to having Republican George W, Bush reelected for his
second temi as the President.
The Republican Party in the aftermath of the 2004 elections looked almost invincible
to some observers and there was a talk inside the Washington political ciixiles of ihe
25


Permanent Republican Majority.16 Yet. what appeared to have doomed Ihc Democratic Party
in the 1960s and for the next three plus decades the Vietnam war se^ms to have the same
effect on the GOP as the second Gulf war (2003-present) has badly undermined their
eiectorat majority. The unpopularity of the conflict in Iraq, coupled with the corruption
charges within the GOP, as well & slowdown in the economy propelled the Democrats out
of the political basement in the 2006 mid-tenn elections, when they regained control of both
the House and the Senate, Just two years later, in 2008, the voters elected Democrat Barack
Obama as ihe first African-American as ihe President of the U.S, hi&tory only the 3rd
Democratic President since the 1968 elections, as well as ihc highest total vole getter in terms
of Ihc overall popular vote percentage. It appears that the last two elections might have
signaled the end of the Republican dominated Sixth Party System and the beginning of what
might be the Seventh Party System.
Througliout thi^ chapter, I have demonstrated hi&toricai evidence of rcatignmcrUs and
their consistent periodic occurrence of cvcr>' three to Tour decades, I showed how each
realignment period was highlighted wiih a critical election, which in turn signaled a
beginning of a dislinci new era within the American political system. The hypothesis that
will explore in the next chapters oftms thesis is the probability lhaL a realignment period took
place sometime between 2005-2008, with the 2008 elections being critical in terms of
culminating electoral realignment and signaling the beginning of a new party system.
^Kohut, A.s & Dohert) C (19 August, 2007), Permanent Republican Majority? Think Again. The
Washingion Post. Retrieved from http/Av ww, wash ii^tonposr.coni1 wp-
dvn/cQntgnt/article 2007 08/17/AR2007081701713 litml
26


CHAPTER 3
THE FIRST MOTOR
Mayhew, via Burnham, identified the Firsl Motor claim as a dynamic tension buildup
or force which causes the political pendulum lo oscillate in and oul of the thiriy-year-or-so
realignment cycles, as one of the main features of the realignment thcor>r (Mayhew, 2002, pg.
17), Burnham contended that following a realignment, socio-economic forces cause political
stress or tensions to build up until they escalate to a so called "'boiling point*', at which time a
new rcalignmcnl is triggered. In other words, a so called pendulum, which swings from one
way to another on the political spectrum, reaches its highest point with the help of
realignment forces, which are accelerated by some monumental or epic events, such as war or
deep economic recession, that take place in the society.1 he peak of ihe swing is represented
by a critical election, during which electoral changes occurt forcing the policies of the
government to change, which in turn cause the political pendulum to reverse the direction and
swing the other way. The reverse oscillation is fueled by the effects of Ihe new governmental
policies and it lasts for another ihirty or so years later. Eventually, the forces of change cause
ihc pendulum it to reach the peak on the opposite side of the swing and then the process
repeals itself only this time in the opposite direction.
Looking back at the history of realignments, the economic collapse in the year of
1929 which turned into the Great Depression is an example of one of those monumental or
epic events which fueled the forces of change and which affected the American economy for
27


many years* The wave with whichthe Democratic Part) took control of the Congress in 1930
elections as well the overwhelming victory by FDR in 1932 was directly related to failed
economic policies which began in the late 1890s and ended wilh the administration of
President Herbert Hoover. The Great Depression was the accelerant that essentially caused
the political oscillator to reach its peak in 1932, when a critical election took place. The
direction of the country was essentially reversed by ihe new economic policies of the
Democrats, which lasted for the next 36 years. Three decades later, ihe war in Vietnam was
escalating, and racial tensions throughout the countr>' were on the rise, fueled by the violent
protests and demonstrations. The economic policies of the KDR administration lost their
popularity* especially among the Southern whites and newly afTlucnt homeowners whose
taxation levels consistently rose under the policies of the Democratic "Great Sociely,\ These
issues effectively reversed ihc leftward direction of the Apolitical oscillator'" and caused it to
go rightward once agatn^ accompanied by the 1968 election of Nixon.
Fast forwarding some Ihirty six years, the aftermath of the 2004 presidential and
congressional elections look similar to the elections of 1928 and 1964, The incumbent party
won the Presidency andthe control of the Congress yet again in these elections. However
signs of trouble for the ruling party were already visible in 2004, similar to the other pre-
realignment elections of 1928 and 1%4. In 2004, a variety oftracking polls showed that
since approximately April of 2003, the majority of the population thought that the U,S, was
heading in the wrong direction. In the lead-up to ihc 2004 elections, only 39% of people were
satisfied wilh the direction of the coumry, according to the Newsweek poll.17 A similar
17 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Direct ion of the Country^ Ri^ht Track / IVrong Track, Retrieved from
hUp//ww\%,.pollin&rei>ort.com/right.htm
28


survey conducted by Pew Research Center, found ju$t 36% satisfied while 58% of people
dissatisfied with how things were in the country at that time.18 An exit poll conducted by
CNN during the election day in 2004 showed only 49% of the surveyed thought the countiy
was on the right track. Additionally, the surx^ey showed that out of 20% of the voting public
who thought Economy/Jobs was the most important issue of the elections, 80% of them voted
for Democratic candidate John Kerry. Additionally, for those 15% of the people who
mentioned Iraq war as llieir primar>r concern, 73% of them voted for the Democrat,19 In the
end, the Republican George W. Bush was re-elected with one of the smallest electoral and
popular vote mcirgins of ihc incumbents in histor> of the U.S. elections. His rather slim 286 to
251 victory in Electoral College and 50,7% to 48.3% in popular vote over the John Kerry
rivaled only Woodrow Wilson's thin margin, in his 1916 re-election.
In the aftermath of the 2004 vote, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed
another troubling sign for the GOP. The survey was tracking the following question:
nOveralk which party the Democrats or the Republicans do you trust to do a better job in
coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years?"20 In the period from
January 2002 through August 2003 the trend favored the Republicans by an average of just
5%. Starting from the June 2005 survey, however, the poll showed growing trends that
favored the Democrats, In fact, the poll showed lhal in the lead-up to the 2006 elections^ the
Democrats were preferred by an average of 48.5% of those polled, while Republicans were
favored by only 38.1%.
** Ibid
(2004). Election Resuits: US. President / National/ Exit Poll. Retrieved from
hp;//www.cnn.com/ELECTIN/2004/paees.TCsult^states/US/P/QO/epolls.O.htmJ
20 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Major institutions: Polificat Parties. Reiricved from
httD'Vww\^,.pollingrcport.com/institut2.htm
29


In ihc buildup to the 2006 mid-term electionst the Newsweek survey conducted in
October of that year, found only 31% of the people were satisfied with the overall direction of
the couniry, while 61% were dissatisfied. The October 2006 Pew poll showed similar
dynamics, with only 30% of those responded thought the countr>r was headed in the right
direction and 63% thought the opposite.21 Those numbers went up a bil in the CNN exit-poll
survey for 2006 elections, with 41% of ihe respondents saying that country was on the right
track, compared to 55% saying the country was on the wrong track. The same poll showed
that some 50% of the people thought that economy was either not good or poor. The issue of
the Iraq war dominated that election, with some 88% of people in the sur\fey thinking of it as
either somewhat, ver>f or extremely important. Furthermore, 56% disapproved of the war,
55% thought that U.S. should withdraw some or all fighting troops from that region and 59%
of Ihc people thought that Iraq war did not improve the security of this country^2 A historical
comparison conducted by Gallup also found that uit took longer for a majority of Americans
to view the Vietnam war as a mistake lhan has been the case for lraqn (Joyner, 2005).
Lastly, with several ethics-related scandals associated with briber>r of public officials
by powerful Washington lobbyists and allegations of fraud hanging over many Republicans
in general and some of its more powerful members in Congress, the issue of corruption
became one of the centerpieces of the 2006 election campaign. With Republicans Randy
Duke Cunningham of California being convicted of bribery and Robert Ney of Ohio
convicted of fraud, as well as various implications of House Majority Leader Tom Delay of 22
2{ Polling Report Inc. (2009). Direclion of the Couniryr: Right Track / IVrong Track. Retrieved from
hap; 7www. po 11 ingrcport.com/right.hun
22 CNN, (2006). America ^o(es 2006. Exit Polls: US. House of Represenfativ^s / National/Exi< Poll.
Retrieved from hup://www.cnn,com/ELRCTIQN/2006|lpages/rcsultS'r&iates.lUS,,H/0,ep]ls.0.html
30


Texas and Senator Conrad Bums of Montana among others wiih the disgraced and convicted
lobbyist Jack AbramofF, corruption became an election year issue for ihe Republicans that
helped them lo lose control of the Congress and lip the political scale towards the Democrats
in the aftermath of the 2006 mid-terms, A CBS News poll which was taken a week before the
elections showed that 35% of those asked believed that the Republicans had more corrupt
politicians than the Democrats, while 15% answered that the Democrats are more corrupt.11 A
CNN exit poll of the 2006 elections showed that 78% of the people thought corruption was
cither ver>f importarn or extremely important. Of those people, an overwhelming majority
voted for the Democrals for Congress.^
The above mentioned synopsis of public opinion polls and other empirical indicators,
in the aftermath of the 2004 general elections, shows that the electorate was becoming
increasingly unhappy with the Republican Party, its policies and subsequently the overall
direction of the country. The unwillingness of the Republican majority to acknowledge and in
some ways to adhere to the electorates opinion on liot button issues such as tlte war in Iraq,
directly led to the rapid increase in political tension between llie electorate and the governing
party. The growing tension and e unhappiness of the voters led to the first wave of changes
that translated into the Republican losses in the 2006 congressional elections, during which
the GOP lost its legislative majorities in Congress. 21
21 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Govemmeru and Poiifics. Retrieved from
http//www.pllingrcpor1.conv,i>olitics.him
21 CNN, (2006). America Voles 2006. Exil Polls: U.S. House of Representatives / National/ Exit Poll.
Retrieved from lu(p;//www.cnn.com/tLBCTION/2006/page&/rcsult&'statcs/US/H/00/cplls.0.html
31


In 2007, the newly elected Democratic majorities in the House and in the Senate25 26 27
were small in sheer numbers and therefore were unable to deliver on many of their campaign
promises, mostly because of parliamenlary tactics employed by the Republicans and vetoes
(or threats lhereo from President Bush. However, Brian Knowlton, of the New York Times,
pointed out that a even by simply proposing legislation whtch was favorable to the electorate,
even if it was bound to failT actually served a purpose from the Democrats1 standpoint. By
doing that, Knowlton wrote, the Democrats kept pressure on Republicans k Democrats show their supporters liwhy they can't get this doneZ, 26
The issue of the war in Iraq continued to be a major topic of public policy discussion
throughout 2007 and by the end of lhat year, a majority of the Americans favored some sort
of a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. A Gallup poll showed that *"59% of
Americans say it is better for the United Stales to set a timetable for removing troops from
Iraq and to stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Iraq at lhal time.1*17
Situation in Iraq remained ilie most important topic for the electorate leading up to the 2008
primaries, where clear difTerences on that issue were evident during publicly televised
presidential debates. With all Democratic candidates admitting in some form or fashion that
the war was a mistake, most of the Republican candidates, with the exception of
Congressman Ron Paul from Texas, considered the war ilsclfas the one lhat needed to be
25 This chamber was actually split 49-49. The Democratic majority in ihc Senate was made possible by
two independents Bemic Sanders of Vermoni and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut caucusing wilh
the Democrats.
26 Knowlton, B. (18 July, 2007), Senate Republicans again block vote on Iraq pullout. The New York
Times. Retrieved from hrtPt^www.nvtinries.com^OO?07,1 fi/worid amgricas/1 Siht-
cong.4.6718722.html
27 Caroll, J. (11 December, 2007). Public Continues to Favor Timetable for Iraq Withdrawal. Callup.
Rciricved from http:''www.gallupxorn polM3l5Q'Public-Continugs-FavorTimctabk-lraq^
Withdrawai.aspx
32


waged and faulted President Bush and his administration for the bad execution of it,24 * 28 Wiih
the difTcrences between the parties continued to grow on this subject as ihc time went on, the
political tension continued to rise. Countless number of anti-war protests took place in 2007
and 2008 in Washington D.C and throughout the counir>r. With escalating tensions, some of
those protests actually turned out to be violent. In Olympia, Washington, for instance, it was
reported that normally laid-back town was on edge in the middle of November of 2007, ^aftcr
a week of raucous war protests that have resulted in dozens of arrests, broken windows and
police firing pepper-spray projectiles to control restive crowds/'29 30
Having said that, the Imq conflict was not the only issue indicating a buildup of
political tension during this time, however. As the first presidential primaries of 2008
approached, the continuing conflict in the Persian region slowly lost its top spot in the minds
of the voters. In one of the polls taken in November of 2007, both uDemocratic and
Republican voters from early primary states identified health care as the top issue they want
to hear about from presidential candidates during Ihc 2008 election campaign/' In that survey,
the issue of health care "eclipses other important national priorities such as Iraq, illegal
immigralion, the economy and terrorism/security issues, according to voters from Iowa, New
Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.^0 With state primaries now in full swing, the Gallup
24 Greene, D. (4 June, 2007). I>emocratic Presidential Debate Targets Iraq War. National Public Radio.
Retrieved from hnp//www.npr.or^templates,,story/storv.php?storvld= 10693491;CNN, (5 Junct
2007). CNN Live Eveni/Speciai Republican Presidentiai Debate. Retrieved from
htip7/lranscriptsxnn.com.iTRANSCRlPTS|l0706>r05,,sg.01 .html
^ Garber, A. & Thomas, R.(15 November, 2007). Tension in Olympia as war protests escalate. The
Sealt/e Times, Retrieved from
httPi.Vseattleiimcs.nwsourcg.com/html/localncws/2004015038 protests 15m.html
30 PRNewswire. (6 November, 2007). Health Care Tops Issues Voters in Early Primary States Want
2008 Presidential Candidates to Address. Bio-Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.bio-
medicine.org/medicine-ncws-1/H^alth-Carc*Tops-lssucs-Voters-in-Karlv-Primarv"States-Want-2008*
Presidcnl!al-Candidates-to-AddressI5662-l/
33


poll conducted in the middle of February indicated that "the percentage of Americans
mentioning Mthe economy" as the most important problem facing the country has sharply
increased since earty January. Now, for the first time since March 2004, the Iraq war is not
the No. I problem/' The findings of the survey showed that some 4<34% of Americans
mentioning "the economyM in general terms as the most important problem facing the
country. That is nearly double the 18% who said this in January, and i$ the highest Gallup has
measured since another 34% reading in Februar>r 2003. The last time a higher percentage of
Americans gave this response was at the tail end of the first Bush presidency in December
1992 and Januar>r 1993/*31 32 As the primarj season progressed towards ils conclusion, the issue
of economy continued to be on top of Ihe polling charts. In a survey conducted by ABC
News/Washington from May 8-1! of 2008^, some 36% of the polled answered economy as
their primarj' concern of the upcoming elections. The same poll also showed thal Iraq was
still very much on people's minds, wilh 21% of those asked mentioning it as their top
priority.
Throughout primaries, and despite contentious inter-party battle among the
Democrats, the electorate, in polls after polls, expressed its disapproval in Republican
administration's handling of the economy. Furthermore, these surveys also showed that
voters trusted Democrats more than Republicans on handling of the Economy, For instance,
the results of the April 2008 Washington Post / ABC News Poll, showed that just 28 percent
of the public approved of the way the Republican administration of President Bush was
il Jones, J, M. (20 February, 2008). Economy Surpasses Iraq as Most Important Problem: First Ume in
four years raq is not No, l, http//w w w. a 11 up.com/pol 1/104464/ Flconom y-Sumasscs-i raq-
Most-lmportant-Problem.aspx
32 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Problems and Priorities. Retrieved from
h(tp//www.pllinereport.com/prioriti>htnn
34


handling the economy, while 70 percent disapproved.33 * In the aftermath of the presidential
primaries, the voters continued to display their dissatisfaction with the current conditions in
the country and their distrust in the Republican Party when it came to major policy issues. !n
sampling early summer polls, it was found that voters showed substantial preference towards
the Democrals on the major issues of economy, health care and Iraq. In a DiageoiHotline poll
where people were asked "Which political parly the Democrats or the Republicans do you
think would do the best job handling?^4, the Democrats in general were favored by 54% to
24% on the issue of health care, 54% to 28% on the issue of economy and 46% to 34% on the
issue of Iraq. What's more, June 2008 Bloomberg / Los Angeles Times poll also found that
+The Obama voters are much more energized and motivated to come out to vote than the
McCain voters; McCain is still struggling to win over some of his core groups,,..The good
news for Obama is also that he to be doing beucr on the issue that is uppermost in
voters* minds, and that is the economy/r?5
Aside from the their statistical leads over Republicans on the most important issues
facing the countr>*T the Democrats enjoyed enormous advantages when it came to the overall
voter excitement and campaign participation. For example, m July 2008 study conducted by
the National Conference on Citizenship organization, it was found that tfc32% of Democrats
stated that the 2008 campaign was exciting, as compared to 90/ of Republicans and 14% of
33 Cohen. J.(15 April, 2008). On the Economy, 70% Disapprove of Bush. The IVashington Post.
Reirieved from http://www.washingtonDosi.com/
dvn/con u Polling Report Inc, (2009). Problems and Priorities. Retrieved from
htlp^/www.Dollingrcportxom/priorilLhlm
B Przybyla, H. (25 June, 2008). Obama Has 15-Poim Lead as Voters Reject Republicans. Bloomtyerg.
Reirieved from hUp//www.bloomber^.cori appVnews?pid-vvashingtonsiorv&sid=agCTbSDJ83rc
35


Independents.^56 The study also revealed thal overall, *Marge numbers of campaign
contribulors and large crowds at political rallies in 2008, combined with the comparaUveiy
high rates of participation found in our survey, suggest theit this is a remarkably participatory
election.*. In short, many Americans are engaged right now talking and thinking about
issues and personally taking action.^57 In another July 2008 survey, conducted by USA Today
/ Gallup, Ihc results revealed that there was a big iEnthusiasm> gap between the Democrats
and the Republicans. The poll showed that some 67 percent of Obama's supporters were
"more excited than usual about voting^ for their candidate^ whereas jusl 31 percent of
McCain's supporters said they were excited more than usual/'*
in late summer and early fall, the Democrats continued to enjoy the advantage on the
most important issues concerning the clccloraie. In a poll compiled by Rasmussen Reports,
the generic congressional Democratic candidates were favored over generic congressional
Republican candidates on most of the issues/9 With a month before the elections, the October
2008 Rasmussen poll* 37 * 40 showed Congressional Democrats being tmsted with all the issues
asked in the survey, including 51-38% with regards on economy, 54%-34% on healthcare,
53%-34% on education and even the former Republican strong points including handling of
Iraq war 47%-42% and national security 474/-44%, On the presidential race side> the
approval ratings for the Democrat Obama looked similar to his colleagues in the Senate, and
56 National Conference on Citizenship. (July, 2008). The 2008 Campaign is A Civic Opportunity: Who
is Excited. Retrieved from hp.l',www,ncQc.nci/indcx,php?trav=CQntcnt&tid=ton0&cidg206
37 Ibid, http: f/www.ncoc-nct,index.php?trav=contcm&tid==top0&cid =-~205
3* Mann, J, (21 July 2008), ^Enthusiasm gap' runs for Obama. CNN. Retrieved from
http://wwwf enn. com/2008/PQLI Tl C S/0 7 /1 S.'cnth usiasnVindgx. htm I
J,Rasmusscn Reports. (2(W8)- Trust & Importance on Issues: August 2008. Retrieved from
http;//ww\v rasmusscnrcDorts.com nublic content oolitics/issucs2/lrusl importance on i$sues_au£usl
2008
40 Rasmussen Reports. (2008). Trust dt Importance on issues, Reerieved from
htip//www.rasmusscnrcpQrts.com/public conlent/plitics/issucs2/tnist importance on issues
36


the same could be said for the Republican McCain, In the aftermath of the collapse of the
global financial markets and McCain^s rather poor job of handling it, the CNN poll showed
53%-39/ lead for the Obama on the issues of managing of the financial crisis. The lead was
even bigger for the Democrats on the issues of handling of the economy +16% and the
healthcare +20%.41 42 43 Additionally, alongside the growing lead for Democratic on (he most
important issues facing the country, the polls continued to show growing Enthusiasm gap. In
one of those surveys, conducted by Gallup in October of 2008, results revealed that **only
51% of Republicans say they arc more enthusiastic about voting lhan in previous years,
compared to 7 ] % of Democrats, marking a shift from October 2004, when enthusiasm was
about Ihc same for both partisan groups/142
With just a few weeks before the general elections, journalistic reports continued to
show growing excitement and buildup to what appeared to be a historic in nature election.
Lester Holt, of the NBC News, for instance reported that fctthe long lines outside early voting
locations around the country are a testament to the excitement and passion this election has
generated." Dan Balz, of the Washington Posl, summarized the upcoming 2008 Election Day
as among the most anticipated as any in American history. He wrole that '"Campaign 2008
has been the longest and costliest in U-S. history, but it has been much more than just that. As
it comes lo an end, it's safe to say wc might not see one like this again/^13 He went on to say
that the campaign arguably set records for intensity and involvement, as the electorate was as
41 Polling Report Inc, (2008)- Campaign 2008. Retrieved from
hitp://www.pllm&rcprtxonv wh08.htm
42 Newport, F.(13 October, 2008). Democrais^ Elcciion Enthusiasm Far Outweighs Republicans1.
Gallup. Retrieved from hnp/. www.gallup.coin/poll/l 111 l5/Pemocrat5-Rlcction-t£nthusia$m-far-
Qutweiahs-Rcpublicans.aspx
43 Balz, D, (4 November* 2008). At the End of an Extraordinar>f Ride. The IVashingfon Post, Rciricved
from http://voices.washingtonpsl.com'44/2008 11/Q4/at Ihe end of an extraordinary .himI
37


engaged with the political process as ever. Bal^ attributed long lines at early voting location
as a sign 4 of shaping whatever comes next. Young voters have played an important role. Enthusiasm
among African American voters has been al historic levels.T, He concluded his analysis by
saying that come November 41h, 2008, Americans will begin writing the next great chapter in
the story of the nation. They will also put a final exclamation point on this remarkable
campaign, and everyone might miss it when it's gone. As Obama put it, whatever happens, it's
been extraordinary.
The election night culminated months and years of building tension within the
electorate. The countless news accounts of raw emotions displayed by voters, on both side of
the political aisle, proved that (he 2008 elections were more than just typical once every four
years political occurrence. Los Angeles Times editorial described voicrs, reactions on
Obama's victory as "'complex and varied as America itself: elation, shock, doubt, wonder and
some hard feelings/'44 Carla Marinucci, of San Francisco Chronicle, described the celebration
scene in Grant Park in Chicago as one where myriad of emotions were at play. She noted that
the location of the Obama's victory- address to the nation was historic in its own righl as forty
years ago, the site was scene of ihe 1968 Democratic convention, when '"crowds of bloodied
young anti-war protesters clashed with cops at Gram Park to the nation's horror, chanting,
wThe whole world is watching!*'45 She remarked that four decades later, ^crowds of young
voters gathered here peacefully, this lime to witness an event that, again, the whole world was
44 Los Angeles Times. (6 November, 2008) £7a//Vwa.ow6/jt w) / RelHeved from
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nv^06'nation,,na-voices6
45 Marinucci* C. (5 November, 2008). Chicago's Grant Park epicenter on historic day. The San
Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved from hltp:"ww\v.sfgate.com/cgi-
bin/articlexfii?fi^=/c/a2CK)8 It 05/MNKO13T64Xmi
38


watching. The news of Obama's win sent the throngs into waves of joy, embracing and
song
In retrospect, Ihc information that was presented in this chapter showed that
enormous amount of the political tension was present leading up to the 2008 elections.
Decades of arguably failing Republican policies, compounded by two wars, rapidly
collapsing economy and the historical nature of Obama^s campaign culminated into one of
the mosl important events in the American history. In many ways, the "'First Motor'" claim for
this electoral cycle mirrored and combined the features of the previous realignment periods,
especially from 1929-32 and 1965,68, when economic conditions and the escalating war
contributed to the electoral realignment. 46
46 Ibid.
39


CHAPTER 4
THE SECOND MOTOR
V.O, Key first noted potential linkage between realignments and long teim voter
allegiances to political parties in his 1952 work, when he wrote lhal "'So cohesive were the
bonds of party [after the ml War] lhat for sixty years the counlry was normally
Republican.. Jt remained for a second catastrophe, the Great Depression, to produce a major
alternation in the pattern of partisan division within the voting population5' (Mayhew, 2002,
pg. 68). Sundquist also found that realignments featured long term or durable shifts in the
distribution of basic attachments to the political parties. However, he noted that in almost
ever>* election, some minor shifts in the electorate, even the ones that are long term, can be
observed. That is why Sudquist, along with other scholars, later qualified the original
definition to include notions of'major* and ^measurable*, in conjunction with long term shifts
in party identification that lake place within ihe electorate during realignments (Sundquist,
1983, pg, 7)- In the end, Sundquist defined relationship between party identification (support)
and realignment as the one thal "'reflects a change in the structure of the part>' conflict and
hence the establishment of a new line of partisan cleavage on a different axis within the
electorate''{SundquisU 1983, pg. 14).
From the standpoint of theoryU is important U> point ouithal Partydentification
numbers do not necessarily represent a full picture of support for one political party or
another. Prior to the realignment in the 1960s. Party ID numbers were much easier to
40


interpret because majority of the electorate voted consistently down the parly line during
presidential and congressional elections. Meaning, ihe electorate supported and voted for the
presidential and congressional candidates from the same part>\ Therefore, if during (he New
Deal era the vast majority of the country Identified itself with Demcfcrats, that statistic
represented a general mood of the majority of the electorate when Democrats were favored
to the Republicans, However, Slonccash showed that beginning with the 1948 Dixiecrat
rebellion, voters^ especially in the South began to split their support, when ihey voted for the
Dixiecrat and later Republican candidates for president, but continued voting for Democratic
congressional candidates (Stonecash, 2006. pg. I) Thus, if these 'split-ticket* voters were
polled, they might have identified themselves as Democra!s, but in fact they were probably
leaning more towards Republicans. For that reason, when it comes lo testing for
realignments, it important to identify substantial swings in statistics when it comes lo support
for one party or another, as oppose to slight variations in that category.
If we were to 10ok at Parly ID trends spanning five decades from the 1950s to
2000s, some conclusions can be made in relation to the realignment which occurred in the
late 1960s after which the political pendulum swung towards conservatism. According to
Sionecash, in the 1950s, the Democrats enjoyed a 48.1% to 29.8% lead over the Republicans
when it came lo partv ID. By the 1960s. ihe party ID advantaged for the Democrats was even
bigger 57.1% to 35/1%, which included the ieaners independent voters who lean towards
one political party or another (Stonccash, 2006, pg.111).
However, the realignment in the mid to late 1960s was associated with several trends
that were visible with changing party ID numbers. The percentage of independent voters
grew from 7.2% in the 1950s lo 13,5% in the 1970s, What7s more, the number of those
41


identifying themselves as Democrats shrunk from 48.9% to 40.5% which represented the
biggest decline in party ID representation in five decades (from 1950s-2000s). The number of
voters who identified themselves as DemcNrats continued to decline all the way until the
2000s, with the overall percentage of Democratic Party ID dropping all the way down to
34.5%. While the decline of Democratic Party ID in five decades was 13.6%, the Republicans
fared much better in categorjv as their core support declined by only 1,2% and stood at 28,6%
(Stonecash. 2006), WhatTs more, the number of those leaning towards the Republican Party
almost doubled in the span of fifty years, from 6.7% to 13%. In Ihc cndT according to
Stonecash, what used to be a sizable 22% lead for the Democrats over the Republicans in
Part> ID in the 1950s, shrunk to only 7.3% in the 2000s, In polls, which conducted by the
New York Times in cooperation with CBS News47, Stonecash+s observations can be verified.
As we can see from multiple graphs in Figure 4.1 in Appendix 1 A, from 1976 to the early
2000s, the Democrats' Party ID lead had shrunk from about +20% to just a few percentage
points. The Democrats lost the most support from White voters and those from the South.
Gallup, which has also conducted Party ID polls since 1980s, has achieved results
comparable to that of the New York Times / CBS News and Stonccash* In the chart
presented in Figure 4,2 as seen below, vve can see that the Republicans had gained percentage
wise in Party ID from 1999 to 2004, with them taking a 32% to 31% lead in 2003.
4TConnelly, M. (28 Februarj-, 2009), Ailing G.O.P. Risks Losing a Generaiion. The New York Times.
Retrieved from
http.11 www.nvtimcs.com^OO^Oj/QI'weekinrcview/01 cQnncllv.html? r- l&scp=l&sq-conngllv<>/p2Q0
J]&St=C5£
42


Pwiy hhmtifitxitiofi Yearly Averaqes, Calliqi P _ 'M^pulihmu 'V tVtih igHH 1990 nwv 194.1 i^<)6 1998 irdoa 2n| r^oa(t
(vVLLl I1
Figure 4.2 Party Identification Yearly Averages, Gallup Polls, 1988-2008. Source: Jones,
J. M. (23 Januar>r* 2009). Democrats1 2008 Advantage in Part> ID Latest
Since'83. Gallup. Retrieved from
http://wwwr^a I lun.com/poll/113947 Democrats-2008-Advantage-Party-
Largest ,aspx
Furthermore, as seen in Table 4.1 in Appendix 2A, from 1993 to 2002, the Republicans
gained in Party ID within 41 states, with the biggesl gain in Utah, at +25%^ Overall, by
2002, the GOP had far more states where it led in Part\' ID by 20+ percent when compared to
the Democrats49, as seen in Figure 4j hi Appendix 3A.
In summary, thus far ihe data show thal after the 1960s realignment, the Democrats
clearly lost support among the voters in three decades after the critical election of 1%8. Their
continuing, although rather slim, advantage against the Republicans in Party ID can be 44
44 Jones, J. M. (7 January, 2003). Special Report: Slate-by-Siate Analysis Reveals Republican Shift,
Gallup. Retrieved from httD//www.£alliip.cmtfpoll 7543/S[>ecial-Rcport-StatebvSiatc-Analvsis-
Rcvcals-Republican-Shift.aspx
43


possible explained by the split-ticket voting phenomenon. That is why the GOP won 7 out of
10 presidential contests, but the Democrats continued winning conga^ssional majorities up
until 1990s.
Since then, however, the preceding chart shows that in the span of just four years, the
Republicans have lost 6 percentage points in Part>^ ID and now are at iheir level of 1999
support. Additionally, in a 2005 Gallup sur\cy where State-by-Stale Party ID was polled, as
seen in Table 4.2. in Appendix 4A, the GOP had the advantage in only 15 states, with most of
them being in the South the Republican stronghold1'0. In 2006, the Democrats have gained
in Pa"y ID even morewi ihcm leading the Republicans in all blit 7 slates' as shown in
Table 4,3 in Appendix S A. Overall, the 8% lead the Democrats have had in 2008 over the
Republicans represented the largest margin wiihin this Gallup survey. Moreover, in another
Gallup poll conducted in the first quarter of 2009, the Democratic lead over the Republicans
has grown to ) 3% (52%-29%) if leaners are included5^ as seen in Figure 4.4 in Appendix 6A.
astlythe Democratic lead in Party ID over the GOP wiiliin the various generational groups
is quite sizable as of 20095\ as presented in Figure 4,5 in Appendix 7A-
In conclusion, data show that from the mid 2000s there was a substantial reversal in
the Ircnd Party ID trend, with the Republicans losing much of the gains they had made in that 51 52 53
30 Jones, J. M. (23 Januai>t 2006). Special Report: Many Stales Shift Democralic During 2005. Gallup.
Retrieved from http://www.tiallup.cQm.,'poll,2l004 Special-Rcnort-Manv-States-Shift"DeincKratic-
Durina-2005.aspx
51 Jones. J. M, (30 January, 2007). Democratic Edge in Partisanship in 2006 Evident at National, Slate
Levels. Galtupr Retrieved from http:/Avww_aallim.corn'po 1/263081'Dcmocratic-Fc^c-Partisanship-
2(X)6-Evidem-National-Stalc-Lcvels-asnx
52 Jones, J, M. (30 April, 2009). Democrats Maintain Seven-Point Advantage in Party ID. Gallup.
Retrieved from hltD^/www.^allup.conTpoli^l l80S4/Democrats*Mainiain^Scvgn*Point-AdvarHaEC*
Panv.aspx
53 Newport, Frank- (8 Mayt 2009Democnus Oo Besi Among Gencralion Y and Baby Boomers.
Gaiiup, Rcirieved from htip/^ww\v.iiallup.com.,rpoll,118285.'Dcmocrais-Bcst-Anion^-Gencratiofi-
Babv-Boomers.aspx?CS *rS=alen
44


particular categor>' in the preceding three decades. From these charts we can see that by 2008,
ihe Democrats enjoyed a +10% advantage in overall Party ID, they have a 50/ lead over the
Republicans among Men, +16% among Women, +14% among the 18-29 year olds, +3%
among the Southerners and even a slight lead among While voters- The currently continuing
trends also show that the Democrats arc poised to gain even more in that particular category^
thus bringing it close to the long term durability part of the Sundquist's theory. With that,
based on the presented material in this chapter, is it fair to conclude that major and
measurable changes in Party ID took place during the alleged realignment period between
2004-2008, thus confirming theoretical notion of Sundquist for the Second Motor claim of
the realignment theory.
45


CHAPTER 5
VOTER TURNOUT
According to V,0. Key and Burnham^ the concerns of the electorate and the
subsequent voter turnout during realignments and critical elections are abnormally high.
Election stylistics for almost all critical eleclions of the 19th and 20th century have shown a
pattern of increased voter participation during those significant junctures in the U,S, history.
For instance, according to Mayhew and as shown in Figure IB, the critical elections ofl860
and 1896 were one of the highest in their respective time period tn terms of the voter turnout.
During the Lincoln election of the I860, some 81.2% of eligible voters cast their ballots,
while 793% of the voters participated in 1896 elections (Mayhcvv, 2002, pg. 73). Although
the 56.9% participation level for the 1932 elections was relatively low, the chart, in Figure
5.1 in Appendix IBshows that this statistic represenled an end of a rather steep decline in
the voter turnout trend that started right after 1896 elections. V.O* Key also pointed out that
that the largest turnout increase came from the contingent of new voters, which in turn voted
heavily for the FDR and the Democralic Congress. Key wrote that "the Democrats gained the
allegiance of persons who had not been enough concerned with public affairs to vote and of
persons coming to voting ageGamm,1990, pg, 13). Key noted that the new Democratic
coalilion began to fonn as early as 1928, with many oilier new voters became elcctorally
active in the 1930s, He also suggested that this new political force which consisted of
industrial and urban workers, as well as immigrants, became in effect a steady base of
"potential Democrats^ (Gamm, 1990, pg. 13). Some thirty six years later, as seen in Figure
46


7B, the 60.8% voter turnout in the 1968 eleclions represented the highest watermark in terms
of the turnout percentage for the next 40 years. In the 2008 elections, however, that 1968
number was finally trampled, with the latest reported voter turnout statistics showing it to be
at 61.7%.54 In other words, critical elections (including the critical election candidate of 2008)
also posted significantly higher turnout levels than other elections around the same time.
Even before the 2008 elections took place, voter negistration/participatiori levels were
trending upwards, and in way that benefitted the Democrats, As reported by Ihe United
States Election Project (USEP)54, between 2002 and 2004, there was a 7.4% increase in the
voter registration numbers. Then, between the 2006 and 2008, voter registration numbers
trended upwards again, which was primarily associated w ith the heightened interest in the
2008 presidential primaries. Overall, the numbers from the above-mentioned election project
indicate that in 2008, there was a total increase of 5.4% in registration over 2004, from 177,4
million to 187.0 million registrants, also seen in Tabic 5.1 in Appendix 2B,
Furthermore, partisan atTilialion numbers from ihe twenty-nine states that have voter
registration by Ihe political party, as displayed in Tables 5.2 and 53 in Appendixes 3B and
4B, suggest that fcithe national increase came primarily from Independents and Democrats.
Among these twenty-nine stales, the number of registrants identirying with the Democratic
Party increased 10.8%, compared to 0.5% for Republicans and 12.0% for lndependentsv
(United Slates Election Project, 2009). Whales more, it appears that the biggest increases took 53
w Reader should note that the discrepancy between the 2008 elections voter turnout numbers in Tables
5,4 and 5,5 in Appendixes 5B and 6B can be explained by the fad lhat the statistics in 6B were
preliminary and thus less cxacl, as opposed lo those used in Figure 5Bt where they were computed
using ihe latest turnout data.
53 McDonald, M. (6 March, 2009). 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics. United States
Elections Project. Retrieved from hltpi/'clections.gmu.edij/Rciiistration 2Q08G.html
47


place in those states that were vital in determining the outcome of the Democratic Party
presidential primaries, such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and North Carolina,
The increase in voler registration that clearly favored the Democrats during the 2008
primaries played itself out similarly during the general elections. As seen in Tables 5.4 and
5.5 in Appendixes 5B and 6B, and as explained on the USER website, 4SThe largest turnout
rate increases from 2004 were experienced in states tlial shifted onto the battleground, such as
Indiana, North Carolina^ and Virginia. Other non-baltlcground Southern states such as
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolinn (and the District of Columbia)
experienced turnout increases, perhaps a consequence of high turnout among African-
Americans excited to vote for president-elect Obama, Turnout declines in deep red states
such as Alaska and Utah may reflect less enthusiasm among Republicans for Sen. McCain.^56
A report released by American University's Center for ihe Study of ihc American
Eleclonile (CSAE) confirmed the USEP findings as well as explained the reasoning behind
the rather modest increase in voter turnout of just 1,6% over 2004 elections, when by many
estimates, the turnout was suppose to be a lot higher. According to CSAE, the small increase
in overall voter participation can be largely attributed to the tower turnout among the
Republican voters. The report Mated that h4ihe percentage of eligible citizens voting
Republican declined to 28.7 percent doun L3 percentage points from 2004. Democratic
turnout increased by 2.6 percentage points from 28,7 percent of cligibles to 31,3 percent. Il 54
54 McDonald, M. (12 March, 2009). 2008 Unofficial Voter Turnout. United States Elections Project.
Retrieved from http: Vdections.gmu.edii.preliminary vote 2008.11tml
48


was the seventh straight increase in the Democratic share of the eligible vote since the party^
share dropped to 22.7 percenl of cligibles in l980/>57
In terms of specific demographic groups, voter turnout statistics for the 2008
elections showed some mixed results. In one report conducted by the Census Bureau, data
showed that 18 to 24 voters were the only age group to show a statistically significant
increase in turnout, reaching A9 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004/,s* Tom
Edwards, an analyst for the U.S. Census Bureau, noted that among that particular group of the
electorate, ^African Americans had one ihe highest turnout rates at 55 percent, which
represenled an 8 percent increase from 2004"57 58 59 Overall^ if compared with the election in
2000, the increase in youth voter turnout in 2008 was around 11 percent.60 61 According to
another study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was found that "'nearly one-fourih of
voters in last November's election were minorilies, the most diverse election ever, fueled by
high turnout from black women and a growing Hispanic population, an independent research
group found,The study revealed tliaUhe increased participation ong Afric Americans
was highest in more than a decade, with 15.9 million casied ballots which represented 12,1
percent of the electorate. In comparison, the overall voting share of African Americans voters
57 Gans, C.^ & Hussey, J, (6 November, 2008). Much-hypcd Turnout Record Fails to Materialize.
Convenience Voting Fails to Boos! Balloting. American UniversUy. Retrieved from
http: jiS.cdn.tumer.com/cnn2008.images/H 06pdftiansre08tumbiHnpdf
58 Edwards, T. (20 July 2009). Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election,
U,S. Census Bureau Reports. Daia Show Significant Increases Among Hispanic, Black and Young
Voters. US. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.ccfi.sus.gov/Prcss-
Rclease/www/rtflease&^archives/votin^O 1399^,hlml
w Ibid.
60 The Center for Informaiion and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement slafT.(19 December
2008). Young Voters in rhe 2008 Presideruiat Etectionr Rclrieved from
httpiAwww-civicvoLith.oni/PopUps/FaclSheets FS 08 exit polls.pdf
61 Hop Y. p0 April 2009>Blacks malch whites in voting rates in 200S/Vess. Retrieved
from h/www.newsvinc.conr ncuV2009.04GO,2755812-blackvmatch-wMtcsiii-vtir)g-rates-ip:
2008
49


previously declined to 11 percent in 2004 after their low turnout in George W. Bush's re-
election. The report explained that the dramatic gains Hispanics made in their voting share
can be attributed for the most part due to their fast growing population. In 2008 elections,
roughly 9.7 million, or about half of the eligible Hispanics casied their ballots. That
represented an overall total of about 7,4 percent of the total electorate a jump from 6 percent
in 2004.62
Having said thaL the historic by nature increase in turnout among certain
demographic groups was offset by a rather stagnant participation and decreased turnout
among other groups, in turn causing overall voter turnout increase to be rather modest in
2008 elections. In CSAE report it was pointed out that many election turnout prognosticators
failed to realize that the excitement in re-electing their candidate which was present for the
Republicans in 2004, was not there for them in 2008 and thus many mistakenly assumed that
the GOP turnout would stay at the similar level as four years earlier. Curtis Gans, CSAE+s
director, stated that 'Ve failed to reatize that the registration increase was driven by
Democratic and independent registration and that the long lines at the polls were moslly
populated by Democrats."'63 In fact, the percentage of older white voters who participated in
2008 elections decreased as that group of the electorate showed lack of interest in backing
either Barack Obama or John McCain.^ Overall, at the time of rhe publication of the CSAE's
report, of the 47 states and the District of Columbia, the turnout numbers increased in 22
62 Ibid
w Gans, C., & Hussey, J. (6 November, 2008). Much-hyped Turnout Record Fails to Materialize.
Convenience Voting Fails io Boost Balloting. American Univeni(}\ Retrieved from
http: Vi2.ctln.Uimer.com/cnn/2008images/11/06/pdfansre08uimout.au.pdf
M Yen, H. (20 July, 2009). Voting rate dips in 2008 as older whiles stay home. The Seattle Times.
Retrieved from http:,Vseanleties.nwsource.conVfitmrDolitics/2009504295 apusvicruimout.htfDl
50


states and D.C, and even these numbers were depressed by the low turnout and Ihe loss of
voters within the GOP.
In summaty, voter turnout statistics of the 2008 elections showed mixed results when
tested for the Mayhew's realignmenl claim of sharp increase in participation during
realignments. Although the rather modest growth in the voting participalion of the whole
electorate certainly did nol match the original theoretical claim of V.O. Key and Burnham,
these results need to be considered in a different conrext. The sharpest increased in
participation in 2008 was witnessed among the fastest growing group of ihc electorate the
18-29 voters and the ethnic minorilies. The ability of Barack Obama's campaign to capture
over two thirds of that electorate went a long way in helping him win the presidency. Of
course it is important not to overlook the ways in which he captured those two voting blocs.
He attracted them because in many \%ays he resembles them. His youthful appearance, ability
of his campaign to communicate his message and gel out to vote drive via new electronic
media, such as Internet and Text Messaging, and etc., as well as his ethnic minority status and
therefore his ability to relale to the issues of minorities went a long way in securing a great
majority of votes from that portion of the electorate. From a historic perspective^ the current
alliance of the Democratic Party wilh a voting bloc of young voters and minorities resembles
in many ways the 1932 alliance of the new voters FDR has assembled and which lasted for
over three decades. Due to the recent statistics showing that by 2042* this country will
become Minority-Majority in terms of its population*5^ lhat fact bodes well for the 63
63 Atzenman. N.C.(14 August, 2008). U,S. lo Grow Grayer, More Diverse. Minorities Will Be
Majority by 2042* Census Bureau Says. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
http://www. washinponpost.com/wp-dvn/conicn^ailiclc^OO 8/08/13/A R2008081303 524 Jnml
51


Democratic Party and its future success, at least as things currently stands in terms of its
support for the policies which are favored by these rapidly growing voting groups.
52


CHAPTER 6
TURMOIL DURING PARTY CONVENTIONS
The theoretical link between critical elections and the turmoil associated with the
nomination process during each political part>^s conventions has to do with a potential
situation where some deep Pactional divisions within a political party can lead to a possibilit)1
of either a temporal or a permanent collapse of the part>r's governing coalition and thus can
lead to a loss in the following elections. The theory also alleges that these types of
contentious conventions usually take place during preceding realigning periods and quite
often in a year corresponding to critical elections, Mayhcw wrote that according lo Burnham,
the intensity surrounding critical elections "typically spills over into the party nominating and
platform-writing machinery during the upheaval and results in major shifts in convention
behavior.. ..Ordinarily accepted 'rules of the game* are flouted; ihe party's processes, instead
of perfonning their usual integrative functions, themsdves contribute to polarization^5
(Mayhew, 2002, pg. 21).
Prior history of critical elections shows that in 824, as mentioned in chapter 2 of this
thesis, the Democratic-Republican Parly essentially splintered during the nomination process
into four different parts, with John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson leading two biggest
factions. After the split, Jackson's wing of the party formed a new political entity the
Democratic Part>-. In 1860, the Democratic Party broke up into two competing factions again
53


-northern and southern, with both groups nominating their own candidates for President
(Mayhew, 2002, pg 75), The divide among the Democrats along the lines of slavery allowed
the Republican Parly and its candidate Abraham Lincoln to win the presidency, ushering in
an electoral realignmeiU. Furthermore, in 1896, as Mayhcw pointed out, the clash among the
Democrats over differences of Gold vs. Silver and how to treat them in the political platform
splintered that party again, with over 160 party delegates refusing to vote (br nomination of
William Jennings Bryan (Mayhew2002, pg. 76), The interparty fight and the inability of the
Democrats to come up with a cohesive party platform once again allowed the Republicans to
win, this time in 1896, a classic realigning election.
The most recent example of turmoil during a party convention coinciding with a
critical election was in 1968. In lhai year, the presidential nomination process for the
candidates of the two major politicat parlies was rather dramatic. Republican Richard Nixon,
although not without a challenge from governors Ronald Reagan from California and Nelson
Rockefeller From New York, got nominated as a GOP presidential candidate for Ihe 1968
elections on the first ballot after he struck a deal with some of ihe more conservative state
delegates from the south (Paulson. 2000, pg. 102-103)* On the other hand, the Democratic
Party convention turned out to be an utter disaster. Rioting between the police and llic anti-
war peace protesters in the host cily of Chicago, ^spilled into the Democratic convention^
adding to a polarization that kept Eugene McCarty, the losing candidate, from endorsing the
winner, Hubert Humphrey, until hue in ihe campaign*" (Ma> hew, 2002, pg. 76). The
polarization inside the convention hallways and outside deeply divided Ihe Democrats as the
elections approached. Haynes Jonesin an article for Smithsonian magazine wrote that
negative developments associated with the 1968 Democratic convention had ^long-term
54


political consequences, it eclipsed any other such convention in American histor>, destroying
failh in politicians, in the political system, in the country and in its institulions.),66
Forty years later, the neck-and-neck race for the Democratic Party nomination for
President between Senators Obama and Clinton prompted many predictions, especially from
political pundits and some media outlets, about the possibility of the so called '"floor fighr
during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which took place in late Augusl in Denver.
Justin Ewers, a columnist for U.S. News and World Report, wrote in the midst of the
Democratic Party primaries, ii was ^becoming increasingly likely lhat, barring compromise,
the party's Super Delegates -elected officials and party leaders who arenpl bound by the
choices of primary1 voters will decide the winner. Not surprisingly, this has caused an
epidemic of hand*wringing among political experts, who wrr> that this slate of affairs is
dangerously similar to 1968, when a furious battle within the Democratic Party over two
popular candidates^ Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey, spilled from the Democratic
National Convention onto the streets of Chicago.^7
As the race for the nomination progressed towards its conclusion, the rhetoric from
both campaigns became more hostile towards each other. Racial undertones were heard on
the campaign trail.A divide between various demographics within the Democratic electorate
became clearly visible. Perhaps one the clearest examples indicative of these divisions was
witnessed at the June 2008 Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws meeting. 66
66 Johnson. H, (August 2008). 1968 Democratic Convention. The Bosses Strike Back. The
Smithsonian. Retrieved from hltp//www.smithsonianmafi.com/hi5trv-archaelEV,ll968-dcmocraric
convention.html
^ Ewers J, (20 March, 2008). Clinion-Obama Delegate Fight; A Repeat of 1968 Convention?
Some historians say the conicst more closely resembles Kennedy-Stevenson in 1960, US. News and
World Report. ReCrieved from http:"www.iiSiKws.com/articles/news campaign2008/2008/3/20/-
the-democrats-p1aviny>thg-1968-conveniion-al l-over-aaain prini.him
55


where the fate of convention delegates from Michigan and Florida was being decided. With
both states being denied voting representation at the convention for holding early primaries
(against the Democratic Party's scheduling rules). Senator Climon's wins in both states were
essentially null and void. Her only chance to wrestle the nomination away from Senator
Obama was to get a full numbei* of delegates from those two states in her win column. When
that request was dented, one of Clinton's supporters Harriel Christian stood up and uttered
the following:6*
Im proud to be an older American woman,
The Democrats are throwing Uu? election away. For what? An inadequate black
male, who would not have been running had it not been a white woman lhat was
running for president?
uAnd Vm not gonna shut my mouth anymore* I can be called white, but you can^t be
called black. Tliat's not my America, It's equality for all of us. lt*s about time we all
stood up for it.
Im no second class citizen, and God damn the Democrals.
1 came here fbr tlur vote of every Americanand our Democratic Party threw us
down the tubes, I was a second class citizen before, now Tm nothing. Why? Because
they want to do what they want to do.
A(And ihey think we wortH turn and vote for McCain. Well,I go! news for all of you:
McCain will be the next president of the United Slates (Retter, 2008).
This particular quote perhaps serves as a best iltustmtion of the remaining deep seated
animosit\r that still remained within the Democratic Party after contentious primaries. Harriet
** Retter, D. (2 June, 2008). Campaign Worker's Rant is a Disgrace. The York Post. Retrieved
from
hnp//^ww.nvoost.com. seven 06022008 ncws/nationalnews campaign workers ram is a disa race
113521 him
56


Christian represented, in a way, a contingent of older, white Americans who were
uncomfortable with Barack Obama's coalition of young and ethnic voters.
With the primar> season about to end, it was clear that neither Obama nor Clinton
would gain enough pledged convention delegates to win the Democralic nomination outright,
although Senator Obama held a small but solid lead among those pledged delegates.69
Mindful of the events of forty years ago, when the party leaders handpicked the presidenlial
nominee and thus made the vote of the people in the l%8 primaries irrelevanU many leaders
of the Democratic Party in 2008 wanted to make sure that the super delegates i.c. party
leaders, did not go against the will of the primarj' voters. Katherine Sibley, a professor at St.
Joseph's University in Pennsylvania, told America.gov website that "Ihere was a sense that
the super delegates, if they had gone for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama when the
popular vote, even though it was close, was leaning the other way, would have really led to a
sense of alienation,or even l"addcd an element of illegilimacy'" to Clinton^s candidacy,70
Fearing a potentially disastrous situation where a nomination fight on ihe ^floor1' of
the convention could lake place, the leaders of the Democratic Party released a statement
urging any uncommitted super delegates to declare their choke for the partys nomination by
w Super Delegates are representatives lo the Democralic Party convention and who comprise nearly
40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch ihe Democralic nomination. Unlike regular
convention delegates who are essentially selected by the voters during the Democralic Party primaries.
Super Delegates are comprised by the Democralic Party elecled officials such as governors and
members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al
Gore, retired congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardi. and all Democralic National Committee
members, some of whom are appointed by the party chairman. Source: Curry, Tom, (26 April, 2007).
What role for Democratic 'super-delegates'? MSNBC. Retrieved from
http//www, msnbc.msn.com/id, 1827767Sr.
70 Kaufman. S. (4 August, 2008). Memories of 1968 Democratic Conveniion Resonate in 2008.
Protest, alienation at Chicago meeting changed party's nomination process. The U S, Department of
State, Retrieved from hnp: www americafaov.WLisg-
emiJishOOOS Augusr 2008080418525 lesnamfimkOI 775171htnil
57


the end of the primarj' season. In the same slatement. Howard Dean, chairman of the
Democratic National Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader
Harr>' Reid and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin^ chairman of the Democratic Governors
Assn., also urged Hillary Clinton to officially drop out of the race after she refused to
concede the defeat fottowing the conclusion of the primaries, at which point Barack Obama
had gained enough pledged and super delegates for the Democratic Party presidential
nomination.71
With intense pressure mounting on her lo concede the race. Senator Clinton did just
that on June 7lh, 2008 by ofTicially suspending her campaign. However, she decided not to
release her delegates to vote for Barack Obama, thereby leaving a slight opening for herself
that if something were to happen to her Democratic opponent, she would be next in line for
the nomination. That move, however, once again prompted many pundits in the media to
speculate of the potential nomination fight during the convention. Further complicating issues
for the Democrats who wanted to show a united front and have trouble-free convention in
Denver* were several organizations, such as Recreate 68, whose purpose was to recreate anti-
war demonstrations that took place forty years ago in Chicago. The fear of a repeat of
violence prompted calls for increased law enforcemeni presence during the Democratic
National Convention (DNC).72 77
71 Malcolm. A. (4 June, 2008). Dean, Pelosi, Reid set Friday deadline for superdelegatcs* choices,
move to force end to Clinton bid. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from
httpi./latimcsbloes.latimgs.com'washinetOfi^OOK'OG/dean^pelosi-rei.html
77 Kopel,D. (3 May, 2008), KOPEL: Barr, Ltmbaugli go loo far. Radio hosts talk of riots in Denver.
The Rocky Mouniain Retrieved from
http:"www.rgckvmountainnews,com/ncvss 2008 may/03v,kpcl-batT-limbauah-go-ioo-far/
Sprengelmeyer, M,E. (I l August, 2008), Tom Hayden, Chicago 1%8. The New Left leader from four
decades ago thinks Denver should be skeptical of federal authorities' warnings about violent protest.
The Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved from
58


When the DNC finally took place, Ihe fears of the repeat of l%8 were never realized
for the Democrats. Both Barack Obama and his vice-presidential pick Joe Biden were elected
as their par^1 nominees by acclamation* 73, delegates from Florida and Michigan got full voting
rights at the convention74 75, the speeches by Bill73 and Hillary76 Clinton were well delivered
and were greatly received by the viewing public and which helped sooth primar>r '"battle
wounds1'.77 Violence on the streets of Denver was almost non-existent. Although minor
skirmishes took place between some demonstrators and the police, the overwhelming
presence of the law enforcement officers prevented any possible escalations in violence.78
Overall, the DNC of 2008 was perceived as successful in unifying the Democrats for the
upcoming general election campaign.79
On the Republican end, Arizona Senator John McCain had essentially wrapped up bis
nomination by late Februai>r of 2009, when most of his biggest rivals dropped out of ihe race.
However, the GOP candidate still faced potential trouble at the convention if he were to
choose a Vice-Presidential running mate who was pro-choice. As reported by Jan Crawford
http: 7www.rockvmountainnews.com/newv2008. aug111 l/officials-prcssinfi*the-panic-buUn-begcts-
savs
73 HufTington Post Editorial. (27 August, 2008). Obama Nominated By Acclamation, Accepts
Nomination. Retrieved from htfp^/www,hufyingtonpost.com/2008/Q8/27/obama-nominatcd-bv-
acclam n 121934,himl
71 Weisman, J. (24 August, 2008). Michigan and Florida Delegations Regain Full Convention Voting
Rights. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
http://vicg5-washin^onp5l.com.44/200Sv0S?4/michiaan and florida dclc^atjp.html
75 Webb, J. (28 August 2008). Bill Clinton hails Barack Obama. BBC News. Retrieved from
http: news.bbcxo.uk/2/hiamericas/7584307stm
76 Joncs^ J, M. (28 August 2008) Hillary Clinton's Speech Well-Received, Gallup.
http^/www.aalluD.com'Poll/IO^C^/Hillarv-Clintons-Spcech-WellReceivcdaspx
^ Cillizza, C. (28 August, 2008). Convention Cheat Sheet: Unity! The Washington Past. Retrieved
from hup: VoiccsAva.shinmonpost.com ihelix convention-chcat-shcctconvcntion-chcat-sheet-day-
3.himl
71 Lilwin, M. (25 August, 2008). I weni lo a protest, and a festival broke oui. The Rocky Mountain
Nwst Reiricvcd from httD.',,www.rockvmountainncws.coml^new^2008/au^/25/proiest-festLvaMittwin/
79 Springston. J, (31 August, 2008). Democrats Unify at Party's 2008 National Convcnlion. The Atlanta
Progressive Neyss. Retrieved from httP'7www,atlantaprourcssivencws.CQtn/ncws ,0370.himl
59


Greenburg of ABC News, with a few days before Ihc announcement of the VP pick, a revolt
was brewing A4among anti-abortion activists in his conservative base that could include a
walkout at the Republican National Convention next week and a huge battle on the floor -
especially if he selects fonner-Democrat-tumcd-lndependent Joe Lieberman.lJ0 The ABC
reporter went on to say that aside from the possibility of a brawl on the convention floor,
'"major conser^'ative donors who have planned to bankroll issue-oriented advertising and
other grass-roots efforts directed at social conservatives are putting their work on hold and
will withdraw financial support if McCain picks a running mate that is not strongly anti-
abortion/' The same article quoted one conser\^aiive strategist who characterized the
proposition of an abortion rights VP pick as a "disaster"1 for the Republican Party "'and said
selecting Lieberman would cost McCain ihe eicclion. It would enrage conservatives and
prompt some Republicans to shift support to libertarian candidate Bob Barr.M McCain's
eventual pick of Alaska's Govenior Sarah Palin for the Vice-Presidcnrial nominee essentially
slammed ihe door to any potential delegate walkouts or convention floor fights. As reported
by Mark Halpcrin of Time Magazine, the pick crcaied excitemenl "amoag the kind of grass-
roots conservatives who have never been enthusiastic about McCain, and in the media, which
will be fascinated by Palin's good looks,., intelligence and charm/"*1 In his later article
describing Palin's acceptance speech as VP nominee, fcVShe rocked the halt (and likely Ihc
country) with a tough, conservative message, steely offenseglowing optimism, and 81
^Crawford-Greenburg* J. (28 August, 2008). McCain Risks Alienating Conservative Base With VP
Choice, ABC News. Retrieved from hHD//www.atKfie\vs.gJcom/print?id 567719g
81 Halperin. M. (29 August. 2008). The Palin Pick: Bold or Disastrous? TIME Magazine. Reirieved
from hctp^/www.timc.coni/timc.politics/artick Or8599.1837514,Q0.himl
60


boundless charisma. The start of something Iruly big or the best nighi of her candidacy.,,s2
As was the case with rhe Democrats, the Republican Party showcased its unity and the
excilemenl surrounding the selection of Sarah Palin almost completely overshadowed the
recently concluded DNC.
In retrospect both political parties avoided potential disasters that could have
crippled the general election campaigns for the respective candidates. On the Democratic
side, the primaries have exposed an undeniable conflict between the so called Old Guard and
New Guard of the Democratic Part>'. The Old Guard, led by Senator Clinton, was mostly
represented by the traditional or old fashion Democrats, who arc white, more conservative
and in some ways less diverse. The New Guard was represented by Senator Obama and his
organized forces of youth, diversity and ethnicity. The inlcrparty fight that Democrats have
experienced represented more or less a generational fight and a iransition between from the
ways of the Old Guard to the New Guard, something that I will discuss more in detail in
chapter $ of this thesis. The conflict could have escalated if Senator Clinton chose to push
her nomination case to the convention floor, thereby poienlially triggering a point of no
repair, and thus would present a difficult situation for either candidate to win in the general
election.
On the opposite end of the political spccirum, the campaign for the ideological purity
has already forced many of the more moderale Republicans, those more tolerant to Abortion
and Gay marriage, to abandon the party, fhc GOP convention, which took place in St. Pault 12
12 Halpcrin, M. (3 September, 2008). Scorecard: Second-Night Speeches. TIME Magazine. Retrieved
from
hitpi.' www.iimc.coTn/time/spccials packau^s article 0,28804.1838233 1838561 1838560,00 htiril
61


Minnesota, was one of the leasl diverse conventions in Republican history.*3 So in essence,
the Republican Party, for all intenl and purposes already had its own Civil War before the
primaries and the convention took place, from the standpoint that its social and economic
conservative policies led Ihe party to shrink in its size to the point where it cannot become a
majority governing coalition. Therefore, the relatively uneventful Republican primaries and
convention signified that the ideological puriftcation has been complete.
With that said, from the theoretical standpoint, Mayhew's notion (via Burnham) of
party1 convention turmoil being a key harbinger of realignment in many ways realized itself,
although perhaps not in the strictest theoretical sense. There was no repeat of 1968, when
Democrats fought on the convention floor. That can be explained by the new party
nomination and convention rules, especially on the Democratic side, which were specifically
designed to avoid potential interparty fights in the future. Therefore conventions are now
considered more or less a$ exhioitions, where party nominees are already chosen and most of
the events taking place during the conventions arc considered as formalities. However, it is
undeniable thal interparty changes that have been described in this chapter signify ihe essence
of realignment, meaning the deep rooted changes within parties took place.
w Saslow, E., & Barnes. R. {4 September, 2008). In a More Diverse America, A Mostly White
Convention. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http/1 ww\v.vvashingtonpost com/wp^
dyn/contgnt/articky2008/OgyOJ/AR2008090303962 pf.html.
62


CHAPTER 7
PERFORMANCE OF THIRD PARTIES
The basic concept behind the ihcoretical relationship between the performance(s) of
the Ihird parties and realignment is lhat "for one reason or another, good showings by third
parties tend to stimulate, or at least to lake place shortly before, rcalignmentsv (Mayhcw,
2002, pg, 21), James L* Sundquist. a major contributor to this particular section of the
realignment theor>\ conceptualized it by saying that the existing major political parlies tend
to straddle or become noncommittal on a big political issue, whatever it might be. The vague
response on issues by political parties or particular politicians within those parties tends to
happen for multiple reasons. Most of ihc time though, the elected officials, especially those
who are fighting for their reclection, do nol want to "upset"* some of the bigger contributors,
who tend to be affected one way or another by the big political issues that take place in
Washington. The ambiguous appearance of politicians in turn, forces radicals from one or
both political spcclrums lo start advocating the organization of a new political party (or
joining an existing third party) as a way of achieving the changes in policies they are seeking.
These radicals tend to argue that uone major party is as bad as the other and both are hopeless
as instruments of action. The established politicians continue lo urge working through one or
both existing parties. Bui if neither party embraces the issue and it continues to grow in
power, sooner or later a third party is formed"' (Sundquist, 1983, pg 313).
63


Burnham, for his part, distinguished two basic types of ihird-pa^ activity within
realignment theory. He characterized the first one as a major-party bolt, "which,
organizationally and at the mass base detaches the most acutely disaffected parts of a major
party's coalitioir, (Burnham, 1970, pg. 27). For Burnham, this type of inlcr-party rebellion is
more durable because the insurgent coalition in many instances plays a major rote in the
current party and then due to circumstances leaves it for good and joins the third part>r. The
second t\rpe of a third-party activity is less durable and is more of a protest type of a
movement, which, according to Burnham may have a broad appeal for a short time and is
usually made up of a group of electorate that are *lnot prominent in either major party
establishment, and which draws mass support cutting across pre-existing party lines^
(Burnham, 1970, pg. 28). Additionally, Burnham theorized that these third-part>' movements
often occur as early as the midpoint of a party system," and figure as protorealignment
phenomena*' in flhc] model of tension buildup1' (Mayhew, 2002, pg. 22).
The recent history of realigning periods shows that the relatively successful
campaigns of Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace in )%8 represented a hybrid
movement as it contained both types of the third party activity, per Burnham^s theory. The
rebellion of the Soulhem Democrats in the 1948 presidential elections, unhappy with their
party over the Civil Rights movement, led to a situation when a majority of the Democratic
electorate in that geographic region voted for a third party bid by Dixiccrat Thurmond* At the
time, this protest vote was considered temporal as this particular group of voters came back
into the Democratic fold for the presidential elections from 1952 ihrough 1Q64, However, this
temporal rebellion was actually a sign of things to come as this Southern Democratic
electorate eventually bolted the national party (al least on the presidential level for the next
64


several decades) permanently. The critical election of 1968 represented a decisive point in
American history as the Southern Democrats, who voted for the third party campaign of
segregationist George Wallace in big numbers, wiih him capturing over 9,9 million in popular
vote count and 46 electoral votes84, eventually aligned themselves with the GOP, starting
with the 1972 presidential elections.
More recently, three relatively successful third-party presidential runs have taken
place in the last 16 years. In 1992, Ross Perot, ran as a fiscal conservative, strong on law-and-
order, but also as socially liberal, believing in woman's right to choosG% and a religious-right
bashing candidate. *s In that election, Perot was able to garner close to 20 million votes,
which translated into almost 19% of Ihc popular vote8* the highest numbers for the third-
parly candidate since the 1968 declion. His parly followers were mainly made up of
moderate 18-44, middle-class voters, who were disaffected by both major political parties*7
While stilt debatable within the Political Science community, but by many estimations,
according to Peter W. Schramm, 'ihe vast majority of those who voted for Ross Perol would
have voted for the Republican nominee if Perot were not running. Although in public the
Democratic Party claims to be worried about Perot, and iheir inability to woo Perot
supporters, I believe thai they privately acknowledge the fact that without Perot running in 86
u Lcip* D. Dave Leip*s Alias of U S. Presidential Elections. 1968 Presidential General Election
Results. Retrieved from
http//usckctionatlas,or4LrRESULTS/natiQtial.php?vear^l968&f O&otT^O&clgct^Q
Holmes, S, A, (5 November, 1992), The 1992 Elections: Disappointment News Analysis An
Eccentric but No Joke; Perors Strong Showing Raises Questions Or What Might Have Been, and
Might Be. The New York Times. Retrieved from http//www.nvlimes,com 1 11 OJ/us' 1992-
clcctions-disappointTnent-analvsi&ccccntric-bui-no-ioke-pcrot-s-strona.html
86 Leip, D. Dave Leip*s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. 1992 Presidential General Election
Resuiis. Retrieved from
httD,,,ustflcctionallas.or&/RBSULTS,nalional.php?vear= 1992&f" 0&off=0&glect^0
^ Spicer, Dr E. (14 March, 1997). The Perot Vole. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
Universit}\ Retrieved from hitp:> \vvvw.hks.harvard.edu. casc '3pt/peri voic.hmil
65


J92, Clinton would not be President/"M In subsequeni mid-terms in 1994 and in presidential
elections in 1996, a big number of the Pero! voters started to migrate back to the GOP.*9 His
vote totals in the 1996 presidential elections were less than half of what they were just four
years before that.* 90
While In the 1992 and 1996 elections, the third-party challenger Perot debatably
played a spoiler role to the GOP and arguably cost them at least one of the two presidential
elections, in the year 2000 that role was played by Ralph Nader of the Green Part>ft who
harmed the Democrats.91 Although various analyses of that election offer several different
explanations for George W, Bush's victor> in the presidential race against Al Gore in 2000,
one of the main ones still remains Ralph Naders third-party1 campaign, especially in the
battle-ground states of Florida and New Hampshire. In Florida* with the presidential election
in that state decided by 537 votes, Henon and Lewis argued that out of the ninety two
thousand plus votes the liberal candidate Nader received, in his absence, a sufficient number
of his supporters would have voted for Gore and thus would have reversed the election
outcome not only in Florida, but also for the entire nation. The same can be said about New
** Schrammt P. W, (July, 1993). Clinton^ Perot, and Chaos, Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs ai
Ashland University. Retrieved from httD.,;www ashbr&ok.Qra/publicat/onpria^vln2/schramin.hmil
Luntz, F. (4 March, 2007). Fixing ihe GOP, Republicans must reach out to the Ted-ups/
independenis who hold the balance of political power. The San Diego Union-Tribune.
http; V www. si i{non&andicg,com/iinintrib,200703Q4/newsmzle4fixing,html
90 Lcip, D. Dave Leipfs Atlas o/U.S. Presidential Elections. 1996 Presidential General Election
Results. Retrieved from
htip/^sclectionallas,oriL/RFSULTS/national.php?vear= l996&fT-0&decr=0&f=0
Herron, M* & Lewis* J, B. (24 April, 2006), Did Ralph Nader Spoil a Gore President? A
Ballot-Level Study of Green and Reform Party Voters in the 2(X)0 Presidential Eiection. Rcirieved
from hitp//www,sscnct.ucla,cdu.,pqli^ci/facuUy/le\vis.lpdf,,gregnreform9.pdf
66


Hampshire, where Nader received over twenty two thousand votes in an election that was
decided by a margin of less than eight thousand votes.92
Despite the inferior performance of the third-party candidates in the 2000 presidential
elections, if compared lo the 1992 and 1996 elections, they still managed to get some 3.75%
of the total popular vote which corresponded to roughly 4 million votes, with Ralph Nader
getting almost 73% of thal total. Four years later, however, the minor parties barely received
]% of the total number of cashed votes throughout the whole country. Ralph Nader, received
just a little over 463 thousand votes, which corresponded to 0.38% out of the overall number
of total votes casted country-wide.
As the 2008 elections appeared on the political radar, a number of wild speculation
arose about what kind of effect, if any. the third-parties would have in that year's presidential
contest As early as May, 2006, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post raised the possibility of
a third-party unity ticket. He wrote that at that time l'a group of political consultants from
both sides of the political aisle [took] steps to draft a third-party ticket for president in 2008,
guided by a belief that neither the Republican nor Democratic parlies are adequately
addressing the problems of average Americans/'* 91 A year later, James Carney of Time
magazine, wrote an article about a possibility of New York City^s Mayor Michael Bloomberg
running for president as an independent, Carney quoted the mayors political adviser, who
said that ^Bloomberg might run if the two parties put forward nominees that play to their base
constituencies but turn ofT ihe center of the electorate/" It^s not impossible lhal that window
w Infoplcase. ¢2000). Presidential Election of2000, Electoral and Popular Vote Summary.
Retrieved from hltp://www.infopka.sexom./ipa/AO876793,html
91 Cillizza. C, <30 May, 2006). 2008: Time Ripe for Third Part> Ticket? The Washington Past.
http://voiccs,washin£tonpsLcomihcn\/evc-on-2008 200H-a-third-partv-bkl^Htnil
67


could open and he could run a viable campaign/' Sheckcy [said] with careful deliberation.
MAnd if it opens, he should consider
However, as the presidential debates and primaries for the two major political parties
began in late 2007, the talk of the third-parlies and ihcir candidates disappeared for quite
some time. Only in late May of 200& headlines when it picked former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia as its
presidential candidate, move that that could attracl some conservatives turned offby the
Republican Parly/'95 said Steven Thomma of McClatchy Newspapers. Thomma wenl on lo
say that with Barr being one of the best known candidates, his supporters '"hoped that fame
would help him draw more news media attention and increase the parly's fall vote/* Barr,
who in recent years soured on the Republican Party, opposed the war in Iraq* the Patriot Act,
"'suspension of civil liberties in the name ot lighting terrorism, and the rapid rise in domestic
government spending/' Thomma reported that Barr insisted thal he did not intend to play just
a spoiler role in 2008, as Nader did in 2000,
In the summer of 2008, a survey conducted by Zogby International, showed that
some of the third-parly candidates were doing relatively well in the polls. In that survey, Bob
Barr won the support of 6% of the people, with Ralph Nader, who once again declared his
candidacy for the presidential elections, getting about 2%.w In an August poll conducted by
ABC and Washington Post, both Barr and Nader received 4% support from the registered
w Camey, J, (14 Mayt 2007). Will Bloomberg Run for Presidcni? TIME Magazine. Retrieved from
hitp:7www.time.cnt/timc/naiion/ailicle,0.8599,1620821.OO.lnml
^ Thomma, S. (25 May% 2008). I.ibcnarians pick Bob Ban as their presidential candidate. The
McCiaichy\ Retrieved from ww,mcclaichvdc.corii/25 l/str\'3851S.html
^ Zogby Iniemacional. (06 July, 2008). Zogby Poll: Building Mo~bamat Democrat Leads McCain in
Electoral College Taityr 273-160. The Democrat also leads 44% to 38% in the nationwide horserace
test as Liberiarian Bob Barr wins 6. Reirieved from
hup/1 www^zoabv-CQm/iemplate&'nrintnews.cfm^^d-1523
68


voters.97 99 The somewhat strong showing by the ihird-party candidates in polls conducted over
the summer did not Iasi long, however. In a September survey conducted once again by ABC
and Washington Post, the support for Nader fell to a total of 3%, while Barr's support fell to a
total of I%,9* The downward trend for the third-party candidates continued in October, as
according to an AP-GtX poll, Barr and Nader were only supported by about one percent point
each among the likely electorate.^9 In the end, on election day the campaign of Ralph Nader
received support of almost 740 thousand voters, which corresponded to 0.56% of the total
popular vote, while Bob Barr garnered almost 523 thousand votes, which corresponded to
0.40% of the total popular vote. The olher third-parly candidates received in lotal a little over
745 thousand votes, which corresponded to 0.57% of the electorate,100
In summary, it is fair to say that a rather weak performance of ihc third-parties and
their candidates had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the 2008 presidential campaign.
Thus from the main stand point of realignment (hoor>*t the notion that third parties tend to
perform better during realignmenl certainly did not come to fruition during the current
realignment cycle. It appears that both parties, especially the Democratic Parly after the
contentious primaries, were able to coalesce their respected supporters. Barack Obama, being
a transfonnative and in many ways populist candidate, took away reasons for many leftist
Democrats to vote again for somebody like Ralph Nader. The same could be said about the
97 The Washington Post Editorial. (19-22 August, 2W%yWashington f*ost-ABC News Poll, Retrieved
from hnp ,/www washiimtonpost,com,wcKsrvlpiitics.,documcnis/pos(poll 08230S.hlml
99 GfK Rober Public Affairs & Media. (16-20 Oclober, 2008). The AP-Gfl Poll. Retrieved from
httpr//www.ap-gfkix?ll-com/pdrAP-GfK Poll 3 Topline FlNAL.pdf
Leip, D. Dave Leip*s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, 2008 Presidenfiai General Election
Results. Retrieved from
hltD//usdcctionatlas.rtL'RESULTS/naUonal.php?vtfar=2008&n^0&glcct=0&f^0
69


McCain campaign, which with the selection of Sarah Palin, also diminished^ for the most
part, the rational under which conservative voters would have chosen a third party candidates.
That in turn was the primarv cause as to why the support for the third parties was rather
minimal. Furthermore, the spike in popularity of the third-parties that was witnessed in the
1990$ and to the lesser extent in the 2000 election was temporary, just as described in
Burnham's second type of third-party activity, and did not resemble anything dose to the
ihird partv movement in the late 1940s and 1960s. Therefore* from the standpoint of theory,
the activities of the third-parties did nol in any way play a role in the hypothesized
realignment.
70


CHAPTER 8
A NEW DOMINANT VOTER CLEAVAGE, IDEOLOGICAL
POLARIZATION OF THE ELECTORATE AND
NATIONAL ISSUE-BASED ELECTION IN HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES
The history of realignments shows that each of them, more or less, was associated
with some sort of ideological or issue-based polarization within a significant portion of
American electorate. The political and socio-economic divide among ihe electorate, which al
times can be exlremc, is the heart of the theoretical notion of voter cleavage driving
realignments, a theory which was, in part, developed by Sundquis% who argued that hia new
'Issue" or ^cluster of related issues,;, can provoke a realignment. This cleavage was associated
with slavey in the 1850s, with 1890s questions over '"whal should the government do about
the hardships of the farmers and about inequality in the distribution of wealth and income
among regions and classes^ in the 1890s, and with questions over "what should the
government do about the Great Depression?'" in the 1930s (Mayhew, 2002t pg. 23),
Schattschneider, per Mayhew, also believed that realignments were brought on by a durable
new cleavage or electoral conflicts between different voting groups (Mayhew, 2002, pg,
22).
Although many political topics can divide the electorate into competing partisan
groups before an election, during realignments critical issues cause extreme polarization
71


among the great huvnber of voters. The issue of slavey (and ultimately civil war), which was
deferred many times by politicians in the early 1800s, was finally from and center in the
critical election of 1860. Burnham, who initially introduced the concept of ideological
polarization in relation to the realignment theo^ believed lhal during realignments like the
election of 1860, '"the rise in intensity h associated with a considerable increase in ideological
polarization, at first within one or more of the major parties and then between them. Issue
distances between the parties are markedly increased, and elections tend to involve highly
salient issue-clusters, often with strongly emotional and symbolic overtones, far more lhan is
customa^ in American doctoral politics^ (Burnham, 1970, pg, 7). Furthermore, Burnham
contended that during the political campaigns associated with a particular realignment or a
critical election, k'thc insurgents' political style is exceptionally ideological by American
standards; this in turn produces a sense of grave threat among defenders of the established
order, who in turn develop opposing ideological positi]isT, (Mayhew, 2002^ pg. 24).
Along with dominant voter cleavage and ideological polarization of the electorate
comes the idea tlial during realignments, the House dectioiis hinge more ofkn than not on
national issues, while local issues often dominate House elections in off-realignment years.
Volatile issues that cause rcalignmcm afTeci not only presidential elections, but congressional
as well, as most policy proposals that arc ofTcrcd on ihe campaign trails by the presidential
contenders have to go through the Congress as well. David WT Brady* according to Mayhew^
emphsisiz^d the importance of that point Juc lo his theoretical notion that realigning elections
set national priorities and enable Congress "to overcome its alleged chronic problems of
'inertia7 and incrementalism^ in the policy realnV* (Mayhew, 202* pg. 100).
72


Paulson, who researched and analyzed the compositions of the two major political
parties during the period of the past three realignments, from 1896-1964 to be exact, revealed
that the Democratic Parly was composed of many different and sometimes competing
factions. He wrote that the Southern Democrats, who were disproportionately conservative
and pro-slaver>* before the Civil War and '"pro-white supremacy after Reconstruction^ were
often found in rural alliance with western populists at the rum of the twentieth centu^"'
(Paulson, 2000, pg. 43), On the other hand, the "Northern Democrats were divided between
the partj^ regulars of the urban machines, supported by a largely working-class electoral base,
and reform factions with a more middle-class electoral base^ (Paulson, 2000, pg. 43).
Although consisting of many big factions, the Southern Democrats from the time of the end
of Reconstruction to the middle of the 20,h century represented the electoral base of the part>
and was the most dominant faction during that period as well.
Unlike the Democrats, the GOP in the early third of the 201h century was
fundamentally a two-faction part>r. Although based in the Northeast, the Republican Party
was also strong in the Midwest and the West coast+ up until ihe 1932 New Deal election. The
Northeast area was mostly represented by the ^Wall Street'' faction, where as the olher areas
mostly consisted of different Main Street factions. The Wall Street faction at that lime,
"represented the interests of big business: monopoly and international capitaP (Paulson,
2000, pg. 74). It also supported "the gold standnrd and high tariffs, and generally opposed
governmenl regulation of the economy" (Paulson+ 2000, pg, 74). The t4Main Street'' faction
was more progressive and populist at times. It represented small, competitive capitalwith
its local roots and (sometimes) national markets^ (Paulson, 2000, pg. 74). However, unlike
the "Wall Street'' bloc, it was more supportive of government regulation on the economy and
73


on other financial issues. It was also more active in the areas of environmental protection and
foreign affairs.
The stock market crash in 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression shook up these
existing voter alliances, although mostly within the GOP. Franklin Roosevelt, who in 1932
campaigned on the New Deal programs of increased role and support of the federal
government, was able to add to the traditional Demctcratic block of the Southerners by
reaching out to new electoral groups of minorities (African Americans, ethnic Americans,
and Jews), voters from big urban centers, and farmers -pilfering from elemems of the
Republican base at the time (MaiseL Buckley, 2004, pg. 51). The Republican coalition, on the
other hand, consisted of nonunion members, financially well-off people who were not
affected by the Great Depression, whites, Protestants, residents of smaller cities and rural
areas. Moisei and Buckley wrote that s+none of these groups was much more loyal to the
Republican Party than the nation as a whole. That isT the Republicans attracted voters
disaffected by the Democratic Party, but those disalTecled were so few as to constitute only a
losing coalition during the period of the New Deal and its immediate aftermath"' (MaiseK
Buckley, 2004, pg, 51).
Maisel and Buckley went on to argue that the newly defined party division reflected a
voter cleavage in the American political system that endured for essentially the next three
decades. During that period, the issues that divided Ihe electorate were still the New Deal
issues, and the political agenda was defined by the same question: *fcdoes the federal
government have a responsibility to serve as the employer of last resort, intervene actively in
the economy, and help those who were unable to help themselves?'' (Maisel, Buckley, 2004T
pg. 51). Maisel and Buckley contended that when that question changed in the middle of
74


1960s and other issues, such as the war in Vietnam and race relations took precedence among
the electorate, the New Deal coalition began to unravel and the Democrats experienced the
same kind of fundamental shakeup lhal undermined the GOP in the 1930s-
The Civil Rights legislations that was pushed through Congress in the 1960s and
eventually signed by President Lyndon Johnson into law, was the proverbial last +nail in the
coffin" for the New Deal coalition. President Johnson made a comment shortly after he signed
the 1964 Civil Rights Act thal hl think wc jusl delivered the South to the Republican Party for
a long time to come,'1 (Wickham, 2004). Paulson added that among Southerners, the
Democrats from that region provided the most of the opposition (Paulson, 2000, pg.173).
With lhal, a redefinition of voter cleavages within ihe two political parties began.
Maisel and Buckley wrote that the Democralic Parly was split by the war along the
lines of social class, with more liberal members Ihe academics and the upper class citizens-
opposing the military actions in the Vietnam, whereas the working class was mainly
supporting it as the soldiers fighting in the conflict were mainly descendents from Ihe lower
class households. Black voters and other minorities, helped by newly enacted civil rights
legislation registered and turned out to vote in numbers never before seen, while white voters
"'began to look for conservative Republican alternatives, but they had difficulty finding Ihem
below the presidential level because the Republican Party as an organization was so
moribund throughout the South that il ran few credible candidates for any office^ (MaiscL
Buckley, 2004, pg. 54). Finally, when the 1968 election took place, at least on the
Presidential level, the split within the Democratic Party led to a situation when a majority of
conservative suburban voters in tlic Western, mountain and Southern stales voted for the
Republican Richard Nixon.
75


In the decades following the 1968 realignment, the Republicans on the Presidential
level, wilh some help from conservative Southern Democrats in CongressH initiated ihe shift
in the domestic policy agenda away from ihe heavy involvement of Ihe federal government
and its redistributing policies, as was the ca^e during the New Deal. It is important to note
that those Southern Democrats slilt believed in Government's responsibility to regulate
businesses, but they also believed that mai>y of those federal policies went loo far, especially
when il came to the issues of race. Fueled in part by the so catted Southern Straiegy101, the
GOP was able to pass legislation by playing on ihe fears of the growing Southern ekclorate
and their dis^uisraction wilh welfare and other policies that benefited minorities and
especially Blacks (A istmp7 1996, pg, 36)r
In addition to capturing the so called ^economic^ voters who were fed up with
Democratic excesses in terms of tax and spend issues, the GOI1 was also able lo draw
^culturaT' or value voters, who were nol comfortable with the "'counterculture of the sixties,
including feminism, gay rights, abortion rights, decriminalization of drugs, and sexual
freedomsJudis* Tekeira, 2002, pg, 24). fn the presidential and congressional elections that
took place in the 1980s, the Republicans picked up those cultural voters from what used lo be
many Democratic strongholds throughout the country, Judis and Teixeira wrote th^t a$ide
from gaining votes among the anti^bortion Catholics, the most important defections to the
Republicans over values h Teixeira2002, pg_ 24}, hey went on to say that lliese voters made up about two-fifths of
m Southern Strategy is described as a policy approacli used since the I ale 1960s by the Republican
Party in attracting southem white voters who were hostile to the federal government's commilment to
racial integration and equality. Kalki Bruce H_ 7*^ Origins of ihe Southern Strateg}r. Lexington Books,
200],
76


the white electorate in ihe South and about one'Seventh of the white electorate elsewhere'^
(Judi&T Teixeira 2002, pg. 24). Additionally, Ronald Reagan's elecloral coalition added
Midwestern blue-collar Democrats a group that was later dubbed Reagan Democrats to the
existing mix of traditional farm-state and the Northeastern moderates.
Throughout 1980s and 90st with its continuing reliance on the Southern Strategy, the
Republican Party utilised a ihrec pronged approach in the attempt to expand its electoral
reach and at the same Hme. The made it a point to constantly emphasize Welfare programs as
pure wasie, government regulalions as those that hurt business expansion as well as global
trade, and lastly their beliefin traditional family values. In fact, the analysis of the results of
the 1994 Congressional elections showed that the GOP finally gained a complete majority in
the South, with Lanr> Sabato noting that the 1994 Republican wave ucould be the culmination
of 30 years worth of rolling realignment in the South'" (Aistrup 1996, pg. 60), Aistrup added
that the Republicans were able to regained the upper hand on such issues as taxes and big
government to ""recast the anticomrrmnist pillar into an argument to rebuild the militar>-,..,9
and recast racial issues inlo a focus on crime and welfare" (Aistrup, 1996, pg. 60). Even
during the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton, the GOP was able to pass a number of
legislation nim^d at curtailing "Big Govcmmcnr" spending, such as Welfare reform of 1996
and the Balanced Budget Acl of 1997.
The GOPTs 1980 surge and 1994 triumph continued in the 2000 elections. With
economy doing quite well, and the budget surpluses projected for the foreseeable future, after
8 years of a moderate Democratic pa^idcncy the GOP nevertheless won a dramatic
presidential victory, largely by leveraging voier cleavages over values issues. In an exit polls
conducted by Los Angeles Times during 2000 presidential elections, it was revealed that
77


George W. Bush was preferred by the ^values1' electorate over Al Gore. Voters chose the
Republican when it came to the issues of "honesty and integrity1', '"moral and ethical values'",
taxes and abortion.102
With the terrorist attacks on September 11,2001, followed by the start of the war in
Afghanistan as well as discussions of potential mititar>r aclions in Iraq^ the 2002 mid-iemi
elections were dominated by the theme of national security. Gar>- C. Jacobson, analyzing the
results of the 2002 Congressional elections, wrote lhat there was an obvious shift in the
political focus of the electorate away from domestic issues and towards national defense and
foreign policy. He further explained that although polls showed Democratic advantages on
such issues as health care, education. Social Security, prescription drug benefits+ taxes,
abortion, unemployment the environments and corporate corruption, the survey also showed
that the Republicans were mostly preferred with dealing with terrorism, the possibility of war
with Iraq, the situation in the Middle East, and foreign affairs. Jacobson added that kkvoiers
put terrorism and ihe prospect of war at the top of their list of concerns, providing a major
assist to the Republican cause. Without September ] l, the election would have hinged on
domestic issues, and the talk of invading Iraq would have seemed like Svagging the dog/ a
transparent attempt to deflect attention from the economy'' (Jacobson, 2003),
Analysis of the 2004 presidential and congressional eleciions showed that ihe voter
cleavage and ideological stance among the clectomie did not change dramatically from the
2000 general and 2002 mid-terms elections. Still, even though the composition the
Republican and Democratic coalitions stayed relatively the same, the shift of the support
102 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Election 2000 exit poll. Retrieved from
hUP;//www.pollingrcport.com/2000.him^EXIT
78


toward the GOP was evident. In his re-election campaign against Democratic candidate John
Kerry, George W. Bush kept the same advantage in his level of support among the Men (
+ 11%), while narrowing his disadvantage among the Women from -11% in 2000 to just -3%,
according to the New York Times exit poll table105. Furthermore, ihe survey showed that
President Bush increased his support among Whites, from +12% to +17%, as well as
improved his vote percentage totals among the Midwestern and Southern electorate. Among
the so called value voters. Republicans gained among the Protestants, Caiholics and Jewish
voters. His advantage over John Kerr>^ within the evangelical voters was at +31%* Among the
issues that concerned the electoralc the most, the CNN exit poll showed that Bush led Kerry
on the issue of Moral Values (22% of the polled selected it as the mosl important issue) 80%
to just 18%, and on Terrorism (19% of the polled selected it as the most important issue) 86%
to the 14%- Thomas Mann in his study of the 2004 election results for the Brookings Institute
concluded that the motivation in this core Republican constituency the values electorate
was underestimated- He weni on to say that 4kwc figured that most of the anger was on the
Democratic side, and we really didn't appreciate the extern to which other Americans felt that
the whole nalurc of their belief systemstheir faith* their lifestyleswere being threatened,
and this was an opportunity to act on ihat.^* 104
Overall, after decades of growing differences between the votersespecially in
diflerent geographical regions of the county the political polarization among the electorate
visibly intensified leading up to 2004 elections. Paul Krugman, for instance, noticed that
m The New York Times Editorial (5 November, 2008). Election Results 2008. National Exit Polls
Table. Retrieved from http:tfdcctions.nviinies.com/2008/mults/president/national-gxipolls-html
104 Brookings Institute. (5 November 2004), Event Summary The 2004 Eteciion Resulis^ Retrieved
from hp: \vAvw.brookings.edu/pinions 2004/1 IQ-Selcciions.aspx
79


since the 1980s, a rise in polarization was directly affected by a rapidly increasing income
inequality (Kmgnan2008, pg 4) He wrote that since the Reagan administration,
economists began noticing a sharp rise in income disparity and with that, many politicians
began to gravitate toward the ends of the left-right political spectnim. Krugman also
mentioned that during George Bush's second term, the income inequality reached the levels
not seen since the 1920s, and with that, political polarization a*achcd one of the highest
levels. Krugman explained this phenomenon by saying tlml due to globalization and
technological revolution in the 1980s and 1990s, income inequality rose when an elite
minorit>r pulled away from the rest of the population. The GOP tended to gravitate itself to
this elite group more so than the Democrats. With lhai, he elaborated that the GOP became
the party of the few and the fortunate ones, while the Democrats represented those left behind
(Krugman. 2008, pg. 6).
Dan Balz of the Washington Post, for his part, also reported that both major political
parties became increasingly homogenized and partisan during the same time framc,!0S As did
James E. Campbell, who also noticed that the American electorate became more ideologically
polarized. He wrote that "more voters indicated either conservative or liberal inclinations, and
these corresponded lo their party identifications^' (Campbell, James E., 2008, pg, 72), What's
more, Lewis-Beck. Norpoih and Jacoby suggested that growing voter polarization directly led
to a greater concern of the electorate with the outcoitie of the elections. They wrote that
"'regardless of llicir level of political attitude, fewer people did nol care how the election
turned out in 2000 and 2004 than did not care in the 1950s. A typical comparison is that 57 0
l0S Balz, D, (29 March 2005). Partisan Polarizaiion Intensified in 2004 Election
Only 59 of the Nation's 435 Congressional Districts Splii Their Vote for President and House. The
Washington Post, ww.washinuEoiipo^i.com. wpKivn ^articles.1 A7793-2005.Mar2S.htmI
80


percent of the 1956 respondents with just one political atiitude did not care how the election
came out, versus only 29 percent m 2004^ (Lewis-Beck, Norpoth and Jacoby, 2008, pg, 77}r
The authors went on to suggest that based on their analysis of the election results of the 2000
and 2004 elections, they concluded that there was a correlation between ihe increase in voter
tumoul in 2004 elections to the stronger feelings aroused by the cattdidatc$ in lhal contest.
They wrote that out measure of preference intensity registers an uptick between 2000 and
2004. Respondents grew more sharply polarized in their afTccls towards ihc candidates and
parties. The Bush-Kenry matchup generated more heat in the electorate than the Bush-Gore
contesf' (Lcwis-Beck, Norpoth and Jacoby, 2008, pg. 91).
The further proof of increased polarization of the electorate came from Box-
Stcffcnsmcicr and Schicr who rcali?.cd that the campaign of George W. Bush actually tried to
use electoral divisions for their political advantage. The authors wrote that Bush and his
political advisor Karl Rove believed lhal the important fautt lines in American politics were
real and that "'they reflected deep and authenlic disayreemems over basic questions: about Ihe
size of government, about whether popular culture had become too secular and too coarse,
about the proper balance of force and diplomacy as the United States asserts its interesls
abroad'" (Rox-Sieffensmeier and Schier, 2008, pg, 6}, They went on lo say lhat because of
these powerful disagreements, the electorate was very evenly divided between two distinct
worldviews, Box-StefTcnsmcicr and Scliier concluded that the imperative of Bushes political
operations was nol to hlur electoral division bul lo sharpen them on ihe most fa%rorable terms.
In the aflemiath of the 2004 general elections, the unpopular policies of the GOP
which were initiated in the previous four years, as well as new policy proposals that were
introduced by the Bush Administration aitd its congressional allies in 2005 and 2006 led to an
81


even shaiper increase in the polarization of the country's electorate, Abramowilz, who
analyzed ihe events leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections and the results of the
congressional contests, discovered those divisive trends as well. Major policy issues, such as
the war in Iraq and Immigration reform continued to divide this country^ voters,
Abramow itz, citing data from the naiional exit polls, wrote that "kthe ideological divide within
the elecloratc increased between 2004 and 2006. Almost 90 percent of self-identified liberals
voted for a Democratic House candidate while 80 percent of self-identified conservatives
voted for a Republican House candidate. The 69 point gap in part>' support between liberals
and conservatives was an all-time record, breaking the previous record of 67 points in 2004'"
(Abramowitz, 2007). He noted that the largest increase between the 2004 and 2006 elections,
among the Democratic electorate, came from the Hispanic voters. While in 2004 the
Democratic congressional candidates received only 56 percent of the Hispanic vote, iwo
years later, in large part due to the tough and at times quite hostile^ as well as
uncompromising positions of the GOP towards illegal immigrants and the Immigration
refonn in general, the Democratic share among that group of the electorate increased to 70
percent. Michael Gerson, a former Bush staffer and supporter of the immigration reform,
warned lhat unwillingness of the majorit>' of the Republicans, those in the Law and Order
Taction of the GOP, to support the efforts of ihe pro-business faction of the part> who
supported the reform, could mean a substantial shift of Hispanic voters toward the Democrats
in southwesiem states of Arizona, New Mexico* Nevada and Colorado, as well as Florida. In
turn, he cautioned, that could make ihe tiational political map unwinnablc for Republicans for
years to come.106 Abramowitz also nolcd that Democrats increased their support among the
106 Gerson, M. {19 Scptember> 2007). Division Problem. The GOP's Ruinous Immigration Stance. The
82


white voters, while African Americans continued their support of the Democrats
overwhelmingly. As a result he mentioned, the racial divide among the overall electorate was
only slightly smaller in 2006 than in 2004,
Abramowitz, in analyzing voting pauems among other voting groups, concluded that
voter cleavages were just as large in 2006 as in 2004. He wrote thal 'the religious divide
among white voters remained enormous. White evangelicals, who made up almost the same
proportion of the electorate in 2006 as in 2004 (24 percent vs, 23 percent), gave 71 percent of
their vote to Republican House candidates. Meanwhile, 74 percent of whites with no religious
affiliation voted for Democratic House candidates.9' Furthermore, his analysis showed that
within geographical regions, the divide in the support for the parties remained large. He
found that while Democratic candidates received 64 percent of the vote in the Northeast in
the South the support was only al 46 percent. Abramowitz also tetok notice of Ihe fact that
despite the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate, "the Soulh would remained a GOP
stronghold in the 110th Congress with 17 of 22 Senate scats and 77 of 131 House seats from
the 11 states of the old Confederacy held by Republicans^ (Abramowitz, 2007).
Abramovvitz5s analysis also revealed that no issue was as divisive among the 2006
cleclorale as was Ihe war in Iraq. Allhough in general the overall support for the war had
declined since 2004, the exit poll statistics for ihe 2006 midterms showed that ^Democratic
and Republican voters held very divergent views about the war: the overwhelming majority
of t)emocratic voters disapproved of the war and favored withdrawing American troops from
Iraq; the overwhelming majority of Republican volcrs approved of the war and opposed
Washington Post. Reiricved Trom hup: >7www. washi nglonpost .com^wp-
dvn/conlent/article 2007 W 18 AR2(>07091801626 htnil
83


withdrawing American troops in lraqY+ (Abramowitz, 2007), In summa^ of his analysis,
Abramowilz came to a conclusion lhat fundamentally the 2006 eleclions continued and in
many ways reinforced a long-term trend of increased polarization in American politics. He
added that the statistics from national and state exit polls demonstrated that the electorate in
2006 remained deeply divided on major policy issues and especially on the war in Iraq,
In nnolher analysis of the 2006 elections, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira found that, for
the most part, the demographic groups that voied for Democrats in the late I990s% but
abandoned them in the early 2000s, came roaring back into ihe fold. Kor instance, they
examined college-educated worrien, who backed Democrats by 57 percent to 42 percent, as
well as single women, who backed Democrats by 66 percent to 33 percent for Republicans.
Judis and Tcixcira noted that ihe key swing group among uomcn voters White working-
class women shifted ihcir allegiances dramatically. While m 2004, they voted Republican
57 percent to 42 percent, in 2006 that 15 point margin shrunk to just five points, as this group
backed Republicans by only 52 percemto 47 percenl. The aulhors of the study also
discovered that "this movement away from the GOP included a gunning 26-point shift by
white working-class women wilh annual household incomes between $30,000 and $50,000,
who went from pro-Republican (60 percent to 39 perccnl) in 2004 to pro-Democratic (52
pcrcentto 47 percent) in 2006ltn (Judis, dxeira 2007) Addilionally, they found that
professionals with postgraduate degrees also moved decisively towards the Democrats. In
2002 mitkemisthis particular demographic backed Republican candidates by 51 percent to 107
107 Judis, S. B., & Teixcira, R. (19 June, 2007). Back lo the Future. The rc-emergence of the emerging
IDcmocratic majority. The American Prospect. Retrieved from
htlD 84


45 percent, but in 2006 they flipped towards the Democrats by supporting their candidate by
58 percent to 41 percent.
Moreover^ the report also showed that in 2006 Ihe Democrats improved their support
among the While working class from 39% in 2004 to 44% in 2006, Judis and Teixcira
observed that this 5% improvement within this particular demographic allowed the
Democrats to pick up House and Senate seats in traditionaEly Republican states such as
Indiana u(where the white working class makes up 66 percent of the voting electorate); two
seats in Iowa (where it makes up 72 percent); a Senate seal in Montana (which is 68 percent
white working-class); and a Senate seat, a House seat, and the governorship in Ohio (which is
62 percent white working-class),,10ft (Judis, Teixeira 2007), Last but not least, the Democrats
received a substantial amount of support in 2006 from voters ages 18 to 29 the bMiIlentals,
which helped achieve ihc overall election victory of Democrats, This fastest growing
demographic group in the nation chose the Democratic congressional candidates over the
Republicans by 60 percent to 38 percent.
The aforementioned historical information, statistics and reports described several
important trends concerning voter polarization and cleavage in the aftermath of Ihe 2006
elections. After being thoroughly dominated by the Republicans in several consecutive
electoral contests prior to 2006, the Democrats were able to reverse their loosing trends. The
contentious issues of the war in Iraq and Economy among others, as well as the overall
unpopularity of decades old Republican policies led to ralher dramatic shifts in support
among several very important groups of voters. The Democrats regained their solid advantage
among women, and increased their lead among the fastest growing electoral groups of 101
101Ibid
85


Hispanics and 18-29 voters. Furthermore, the Blue vs. Red (Democrat vs. Republican)
aivision among the electorate was continuing to grow, with Democrats were expanding their
lead in the Democratic leaning areas such as Northeast and coastal West, while the GOP was
still doing quite well in e Deep South
Leading up to the 2008 general elections, Ihe overall theme of ^Change' was
prevalent throughout the majority of the electoral contests in the countr>\ To be more
specific, empirical as well as qualitative data showed that 2008 elections, especially on the
presidential level, turned oul to be a Generational Change election. Arguably^ 2008 was the
year when the 'new-age America% which consisted of young, diverse/ethnic population and
more tolerant to the social issues, battled the 4Baby-boomcr/ld America\ which represented
less diverse (more while), conservative and in some ways nationalistic population. Looking
back at the l%8 elections, 2008 elections represented in many ways a reversal of the 40 year
old coniest, with young voters choosing lo show their strength in the voting booths as appose
to participating in violent confrontations with police. This generational divide, in retrospect,
greatly afTected voter cleavage formation as well as contributed to the high polarization of the
electorate.
The first signs of the generational conflict appeared actually during the Democratic
presidential primaries, when Age became a major factor in the formation of the voter
cleavage for the general elections, Katharine Seclye, of the New York Times, noted in her
article that '*in a campaign where demographics seem to be destiny, one of the most striking
factors is the segregation of voters by agc+Hlw She commented that throughout primaries,
m Seelye, K. . (22 April, 2008). in Clinton vs. Obama, Age Is One of the Greatest Predictors, The
Sm York Times. Retrieved from hltp/.lwww.n\iimcs,com,12008,,04/22 luslpolitic^2agc.html? r-1
86


statistics showed that older voters gravitated towards Senator Clinton, who is 60, and in a
way this demographic group became her core constituency. On the other hand, younger
voters have shown primary after primary their strong support for Senator Obama, who is 46
and represents a different generation of voters. Age, Seelye said, was of the most
consistent indicators of how someone might vote more than sex, more Ilian income* more
than education. Only race is a slrongtr predictor of voting than age, and then only if a voter is
black, not if he or she is white.M Mentioned in her articles were sample exit polls which
showed that 57 percent of voters 65 and older have supported Senator Clinton and 36 percent
have supported Senator Obama, The numbers were almost in reverse when it came to voters
age 30 and younger. Some 59 percent of them supported Obama while 38 percent supported
Clinton. Mara Liasson's article for NPR, confimied Seelye's findings. She also indicated that
although the candidacies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton divided the Democratic Party
on the issues of race, income and education, age was the primarv1 demographic indicator
among Ihe Democratic prima^ voters, 4The older you are^ Liasson said, h*lhe more likely
you were to vote for Clinton, and the younger you are, the more likely you were to vote for
Obama0
The success that Obama enjoyed during Ihe primaries among the young vote
continued in the general election. The Miltenials, while not turning out in disproportionate
numbers, according to ABC News* 111, gave the Democrat a stunning 34-poinl margin, 66
l!0 Liasson, M, (I May, 2008). Parsing [he Generational Divide for Democrats, National Public Radio.
Retrieved from http: .ww\v.m?rorg/iemi>lates/Mrv,storv,plip?storyId-90076971
111 Langer, G Morin, R., Hartman, CraighilK P. Deane, Brodie^ Mo^nihan, P.t Shapiro, 0.^
& Clemenu S- (5 November, 2008EXIT POLS: Storm of Voter Dissatisfaction Lifts Obama lo an
Historic Win, Battered Economy, Partisan Shift in Power and Promise of Change Lift Obama to
Victory. ABC News. Retrieved from
http: Vabcnews.^ cm/PpllingUnit/Votg2008'Storv?id^6189129&pagc : I
87


percent to 32 percent. For comparison, John Kcrry^s margin in 2004 elections among 18-29
voters was only nine points. Teixeira remarked that Obama's support among the Millenials
was remarkably broad, extending across racial barriers. ikHe carried not just Hispanics in this
age bracket (76 percentto 9 percent) and blacks (95 percent to 4 percent) but also whites (54
percent to 44 percent), Obama^s 10-point advantage among white 18- to 29*year-olds starkly
contrasts with his 15-point deficit among older whites^ (Teixeira^ 2009, pg, 12). According to
Amanda Ruggeri, Indiana and North Carolina the states that Obama won by a very slim
margin, went Democratic solely because of the Millenials. Barack Obama, she said, 'lost
every other age categor>f in those stales. And in the battleground state of Florida, although
Obama had a very slight edge in other age groups overall, it was the 61 percent of youths who
cast Democralic ballots that solidified his lead.^ 112
The 2008 generational conflict was also evident in the perceived uneasiness of Ihe
majority of older voters with Obama's race and ethnic background. Joe Garofoli, of the San
Francisco Chronicle, claimed that racially rooted attacks on Obama were appearing more
frequently and overtly in ihe last month of the campaign. Additionally, he said, these attacks
used what he referred lo a hidden or %fccodedM language. Citing analysts, he brought forth
examples of such messages, where GOP^s vice prcsidenlial nominee Sarah Palin portrayed
Obama "4as a cultural outsider and friend to terrorists and Ihe dismissive way his Republican
opponent. Sen, John McCain, referred to Obama at ihcir Tuesday night debate as "that one.M>>
112 Ruggcri, A. (6 November, 200K), Young Voters Powered Obama's Victory While Shrugging Off
Slacker Image. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from
hnp: www.usncws.com/articles/new&,campaign-2008 2008 11 06/youna-voters-povvered-obamas-
victory-while*shrm>pint>*o fT-slackcr-image.html
88


In numerous other articles, there were constant references of McCain and Palin rallies
where their supporters in the crowd were often heard of yelling what would be considered
hidden or coded messages of racism, intertwined with incendiary comments referring to
Barack Obama's African heritage, his connections with William Ayers a college professor
and a former member of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground who bombed
U,S, facilities to protest the Vietnam war, as well as other associations. Frank Rich* in his
OP-ED for the New York Times on October 11* of 2008, summarized what had been the
most common inflammatory remarks towards Senator Obama, He wrote that escalation in
rhetoric had been witnessed at recent GOP evenls and he insisted that the dangerous oratory
should be a cause for alarm as it could lead to violence. He noted that quite often inciting
remarks were heard at McCain-Palin rallies: b4tlie raucous and insistcnl cries of "Treason!* and
Terrorist! and Kill him!* and Off with his head! as well as the uninhibited slinging of
racial epithets, are actually something new in a caiDpaign thal has seen almost every
conceivable Rich suggested lhat the rhetoric often spouted at campaign events by
Sarah Palin, where she would insinuate that Obama ^launched his political career in the living
room of a domestic lerrorist" or that he is "palling around with terrorists," as well as that
Obama is "not a man who sees America the way you and I see America/5 and that Obama
was bkan enemy of American trps.M Rich went on lo say that the rhetorical conflation of
Obama with icrrorisTn was stoked further by the repeatedly mentioning of Obama^ middle
name Hussein by surrogates introducing the GOP ticket at these rallies.
1,3 Rich, F. (I I October, 2008). The Terrorisl Barack Hussein Obama. The New York Times, Retrieved
from
hup: Vwww.nviimcs.com/200810 12/Qpinionyi 2rich.html? r^lAadxnnl=I &adxnnlx= 1253081162-
A9YT16vDdTM5Gvpf6JQA00
89


Perhaps the best illuslration of this wild and inflammatory rhetoric came from the
McCain-Palin town-hall type events in Minnesota, when one of the attendees Gayle
Quinnelltook the microphone and proclaimed the following: donttrust Obama have
read about him. Hefs an Arab,14 Niel MacDonald, a reporter for CBC, noted that McCain^
to his credit, quickly corrected the obvious misstatements. MacDonald mentioned that after
the event, Gayle Quinnell remained resolute. "Obama, she told reporters after her monienl on
stage last week wilh McCain, is !,a Muslim and a terrorist. .all ihe people agree with what I
said-115
In the immediate aftemiatli of Barack Obamas victory iiuhe 2008 presidential
elections, af^er one of the most divisive and polari£mg campaigns in American history, the
raw emotions of the electorate were evident in many journalistic accounts. Although a vast
majority of the stories described joy and happiness among the big portion of the electorate
associated with this history and monumental victory, there were plenty of news accounts that
described conservative backlash to the Obama's win. Tim Shipmatn a reporter for Telegraph
-a British publication wrote that although Barack Obama's election was mostly met with
celebrations around ihe world, "for some Americans his honeymoon is over before he has
even taken frice/,n6 He mentioned a highly emotional denunciation of Obama by
Republican Congressman Paul Brown, who not only called then President-elect a Marxist,
but also "compared his plans for a national service coq>s to help out in natural disasters to
lu Macdonald. N,(16 Oclober^ 2008), Obama 'Muslim, rumor: Ugly, false and out in the open. CBC
Sews. Retrieved from htip^/www.cbc.ca vvorld usvote&'Slon/2008.10/15T-vp-macdnald>html
M<,Shipman, T.(15 November, 2008). Conservative backlash begins against Barack Obama. The Daily
Telegraph. Retrieved from
http//www,|gkgraph.co.uLfncws/worldncws,lnorthamerica/usa^barackobama,13464679,'Consgrvativg-
backlash-bcgins-againsl-Barack-Qbama.html
90


Ihe formation of the Nazi brownshirls/1 "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany^
said Georgia's Representative Brown. 1,We can't be lulled into complacency... Adolf Hitler
was elected in a democratic Germany. Tm not comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler,
what I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road.'1 Shipman also discovered
that a Roman Catholic priest in South Carolina ^told his parishioners not to seek Holy
Communion if they voted for Mr Obama^ because supporting him Constitutes material
cooperation with intrinsic evil" as the President-elect backs abortion rights/* In another storjr,
Shipman mentioned an incident in Madison CountyT Idaho, wher the school supenntendent
was forced to remind teachers and bus drivers ihat studcnB musl show proper respect for
dected ofHdak This action was requeued after pnts complained that children ^
school bus were chanting, HAssassinate Obama!p, A story on National Public Radio as of
November 25*, 2008, confirmed accounts of violence in the aftermath of ihe election of
President Oban^a, htCmm uni lies around the country,H the report mentioned,, ''have seen a
spike in rdciI vioterKC since the presidential deetkm of1 Baradc Obama. In the few weeks
since Elecliott Da>cross bings, racist graffiti and other alleged hate crimes have been
reported.117
In summary', these documertltd facU show llial race and age were one of the biggest
factors that contributed to ihe poliinzation oTlhe clecloralc. Younger voters, who are more
tolerant, ended up being a loi more comfortable with lakiag a chance on Barack Obama and
his left of center policies, where as southern and older voters^ due to their racial tendencies or
ll? National Public Radio, (25 November^ 2008). Obama ^Virt Sparks Rise in Hate Crimes, Vioience.
Reiricved from hUp://www.npr.ora|ltemt>la(e^^torv,-story.php?storv [d~97454237
9]


Full Text

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2008 ELECTIONS: REALIGNMENT OF THE AMERICAN POLITICAL MAP by LEONID BALABAN B.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2000 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Social Science Department of Social Sciences 2009 I

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This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by Leonid Balaban has been approved by Anthony Robinson /Vov 3D, Z.DO '1 Date

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Balaban, Leonid (M S Master of Social Sciences) 2008 Elections: Realignment of the American political map Thesis directed by Professor Tony Robinson ABSTRACT The main purpose for this thesis is to investigate and test the possibility that electoral realignment in the U.S. took place between 2004 through 2008 Evidence, based on some initial empirical indicators and scholarly analysis, will be presented that the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections signaled a continuous movement of the political pendulum from a conservative / right position to a more liberaVleft one. This thesis will present information on the potential endurance and effectiveness of the currently governing Democratic coalition, which is important for the sake of identifying the longevity of the possible realignment. Furthermore, it will identify apparent changes in the composition of American electorate, and as a consequence, if realignment indeed took place, exploration of potential differences of the realignment effects on four geographical areas of the country: the coastal states of the Northeast and West Midwest Deep South and the Western/Mountain states will be made To investigate these aforementioned questions empirical evidence from the 2004-2008 elections which many are claiming count as realigning elections, will be

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compared and contrasted to the last two realigning periods in American history, which many scholars agree culminated with the 1932 and 1968 elections. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.

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DEDICATIOI\I I would like to dedicate this thesis to my family for their continuous support during the period of time while I was writing this paper. I also would like to thank members of my committee for their academic guidance, encouragement and understanding during this past year of my study

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Figures 4.1 -5.1 .......................................................... ...... .......................... viii Tables 4.1 5 5 .............................................. ........ ...................................... ix CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................... ..................... 1 Realignment Theory ...... . ........... .... . . ...... . .... .... .... . .... .................. 4 Mayhew s Realignment testing method ........................................... 10 2. HISTORY OF REALIGNING PERIODS IN THE U.S AND THEIR CYCLICAL NATURE ........................................................................... 16 3. THE FIRST MOTOR ............................................................................. 27 4 THE SECOND MOTOR ............................................................... ...... ... 40 5. VOTER TURNOUT ..... . ..... ......... . ............ .............................. ........ . 46 6. TURMOIL DURING PARTY CONVENTIONS .................................. 53 7. PERFORMANCE OF THE THIRD PARTIES .......... .............. ............. 63 8. A NEW DOMINANT VOTER CLEAVAGE IDEOLOGICAL POLARIZATION OF THE ELECTORATE AND NATIONAL ISSUE-BASED ELECTION IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES .... ................................................... .............. ...... 71 9. MAJOR CHANGES IN GOVERNMENTAL POLICY AND REDISTRIBUTIVE EFFECTS OF NEW POLICIES ......................... 100 VI

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10. LONG SPANS IN UNIFIED PARTY CONTROL ......... .... ..... ..... . . 111 11. EFFECTIVE EXPRESSION OF THE VOTING PUBLIC ................. 116 12. CONCLUSION . . . . ... ......... ... ... . ... ..... .... . ........ ..... ...................... 122 13. EPILOGUE . ... ..... ... ....... ......... . . . ... .............. .... ............ ..... ..... ...... 129 APPENDIX A ........... ...... . ....... ......... . . . . ..... . ...... ......... ...... .... .............. ........... ... 134 B .................................. ....... ....... . .......... ............ ....... . .......................... 143 REFERENCES ......... ..... ... . ....... . . ....... ..... ............ . . . .... .... . ..... . .... ............. 154 Vll

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FIGURES Figure 4.1 Party Identification Gap from 1976 to 2008, in Appendix 1A. ................. 134 4.2 Party Identification Yearly Averages Gallup Polls, 1988-2008 ................. .43 4.3 2002 Postelection State by State map representing Republican advantage in Party Identification in Appendix 3A .. ......... .... .... ............... 136 4.4 Trend of changes in Party Identification, including leaners from 1991-2009 in Appendix 6A ... .... ..... . . . . ... ........ ...... .... .... .... .... . . . . . ... 141 4.5 Partisan Gap by Generational Group, in Appendix 7A . .... ........... ..... . .... 142 5.1 Voter turnout in U.S. elections from 1824-1968 in Appendix 1B ..... ...... 143 Vlll

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TABLES Table 4.1 State by State changes in Part y Identification from 1993 to 2002 in Appendix 2A . ......... . . . . ....... ... .......................... ............ ..................... 135 4.2 State by State shift of the electoral support towards the Democrats in Appendix 4A ... ... ..... ...... ... ..... . ... . ...... . . . . .... ...... .... .... . .... . ............ 137 4.3 State by state Democratic Party advantage in Party Identification in 2007, in Appendix SA ..... ..... ..... ..... . .......................... ....... .... ..... ... .... 139 5.1 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics in the U.S., in Appendix 28 ... . ....... ... ..... . . . . .... ..... ..... . . . .... . ...................... .... ..... 144 5 2 General Election Voter Registration Statistics by party affiliation on State by State bases, in Appendix 38 .... . ..... .... . .... .... .... .................... 146 5.3 Voter Registration Statistics by party affiliation on State by State bases-change from 2004-2008 in Appendix 48 .......... 148 5.4 2008 estimated voter turnout and turnout rate in the U.S. compared to the 2004 statistics in Appendix 58 . ........... .... .... ................. 150 5.5 National Voter turnout statistics for federal elections from 1960-2008 in the U.S., in Appendix 68 ......... ......... ........... .... . ....... 152 IX

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Fundamentally the November 4th outcome was completely predictable ... The truth is this: any mainstream Democratic candidate was destined to win in 2008 when the age-old slogan It's Time for a Change,' had powerful new meaning. The electoral conditions-the fundamentals I often call the north stars of politics -could not have been more clear or bright in the sky The north stars that applied to the 2008 contest were presidential popularity economic conditions and war and peace (Sabato 2009). The preceding conclusion concerning the results of the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections written by Larry J. Sabato Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia invite the following questions: did this so called alignment of stars that allowed the Democrats to increase their majorities in both houses of Congress and recapture the Presidency for only the 3rd time in last 40 years take place because of the cyclical nature of American elections? ls there empirical evidence that can consistently predict a changing political environment every 30-40 years (Mayhew, 2002 pg 16) as some observers have claimed? Do these 2008 elections, which arguably have completely transformed the political landscape of our country represent a fundamental and enduring shift in the American political system, as it would in a cyclical political system or is it just a temporary electoral blip or a spike in political tendencies of the electorate ? Many political scientists are inclined at this point to favor the notion that the results of the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections in the United States represent a fundamental and long term realignment in American politics. The outcome of those elections

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in conjunction with the 2006 mid-terms produced empirical evidence which shows a clear shift of the U S electorate towards the Democratic Party and away from the Republican Party which as recently as 2004 had full control over both the legislative and executive branches of our government. Some believe this shift in support is part of a larger realignment of American politics Therefore, the main purpose for this thesis is to investigate and test the possibility that electoral realignment in the U.S. took place between 2004 through 2008 Evidence based on some initial empirical indicators and scholarly analysis, will be presented that the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections signaled a continuous movement of the political pendulum from a conservative/right position to a more liberal/left one. Another important goal for this paper is to investigate the potential endurance and effectiveness of the currently governing Democratic coalition which is important for the sake of identifying the longevity of the possible realignment. Furthermore it is also scholastically imperative to identify apparent changes in the composition of American electorate. Was there a so called generational turnover in the electorate meaning new voters replaced the old ones, or was the alleged realignment caused by a simple psychological change within the same electorate that only four years ago re-elected Republican president and allowed the GOP to regain control in both houses ofCongress? As a consequence if realignment indeed took place, I will explore potential differences of the realignment effects on four geographical areas of the country: the coastal states of the Northeast and West Midwest Deep South and the Western/Mountain states To investigate these aforementioned questions I will compare and contrast empirical evidence from the 2004-2008 elections, which many are claiming count as 2

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realigning elections, to the last two realigning periods in American history, which many scholars agree culminated with the 1932 and 1968 elections Examining the questions of realignment and whether it actually took place in the last four years is important on many levels Not only would it help to explain relatively recent changes that took place within the electorate in terms of its demographical composition as well as its latest political tendencies, but also describe transformation within the field of public policy. Campbell and Trilling wrote that the scholarship surrounding the concept of realignment enhances the study of the whole democratic process-that process by which the desires of the public are translated into public policy (Campbell Trilling 1980, pg. ix). In essence further enhancing the validity of the realigning theory in tum props up the notion that once a generation there is a radical change in the direction of the public policy in the United States both on the domestic and international fronts. Thus, if enough scientific evidence exists that realignment indeed took place in the last four years, it will also prove that the underlying nature of American politics the Two Party political system is still functioning in a way it was designed by the founders On the other hand, it is within the realms of possibility that despite some initial indicators realignment did not take place in the period from 2004-2008. If that indeed is the case then it would be very appropriate to not only find out the reasons behind this theoretical divergence, but also question whether the realignment evaluation method was at fault and in turn needs to be amended. If it is found that realignment theory is not valid as it currently constructed perhaps some fundamental changes would need to be made to it. 3

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Realignment Theory The concept of Electoral Realignment was first introduced by V O. Key in his 1955 article called "A Theory of Critical Elections." He defined realigning elections as a unique category of elections in which: voters are at least fron:' impressionistic evidence unusually deeply concerned in which the extent of electoral involvement is relatively quite high and in which the decisive results of the voting reveal a sharp alteration of the pre-existing cleavage within the electorate .. The truly differentiating characteristic of this sort of election[s] the realignment made manifest in the voting in such elections seems to persist for several succeeding elections. All these characteristics cumulate to the conception of an election type in which the depth and intensity of electoral involvement are high in which more or less profound readjustments occur in the relations of power within the community and in which new and durable electoral groupings are formed (Key 1955, pg 4). Four years later Key somewhat revised his initial concept of sudden shifts within voting coalitions during realigning elections. In his 1959 article Secular Realignment and the Party System ," he introduced a new concept of" secular" realignment which meant that majority voting factions can change more gradually as opposed to more abruptly or swiftly (Key 1959 198-21 0). Key s theory has since propagated a substantial literature on the subject of electoral realignments Campbell and Trilling, for instance defined the concept of realignment as a political process when there is "a durable and significant redistribution of party support (Campbell & Trilling, 1980, pg 29) They also classified realignment as 4

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' critical when the bulk of the redistribution takes place w ithin reasonable defined time limits" (Campbell & Trilling 1980 pg. 29) Furthermore Campbell and Trilling introduced a concept of a critical election', which initiall y displays most of major portion ofthe elements of a critical realignment in its results (Campbell & Trilling 1980 pg 30) Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes also took Key s original theory and amended it b y classifying American elections into 3 different types : maintaining', 'deviating and realigning A maintaining election ," they said "is one in which the pattern of partisan attachments prevailing in the preceding period persists and is the primary influence on forces governing the vote (Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes, 1960 pg. 531 ). The 1988 election of George H W Bus h (Bush 41) as the 415 1 President of the U.S. for instance may be considered as one of the examples of the maintaining election. Following eight years of Ronald Reagan s presidency Bush 41, who was Reagan s Vice President for eight years represented a continuation of his predecessor s policies. His victory and winning voter coalition closely mirrored tho s e of Reagan in 1980 and 1984 .1 Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes went on to classify a deviating election as one where the basic division of partisan loy alties is not seriously disturbed but the attitude forces on the vote are such as to bring about the defeat of the majority party (Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes 1960 pg. 533) They added that after the personalities or events that deflected the s e forces from what we would e x pect on the basis of party have disappeared from the scene the political balance returns to a level that more closely reflects the underlying division of partisan attachments (Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes, 1 Le i p David D ave L e ip's A tla s o f U.S. Pr eside nti a l El ec ti ons. R e trieved from http : // www. u se l e ction atlas org. 5

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1960 pg.533) The four authors concluded that a deviating election is thus a temporary reversal that occurs during a period when one or the other party holds a clear advantage in the long-term preference ofthe electorate" (Campbell, Converse Miller and Stokes, 1960, pg. 533) A case in point of a deviating election could be a 1992 Presidential victory of Bill Clinton and his subsequent reelection in 1996. Clinton's victory in 1992 was largely attributed to the strong showing of a 3rd party candidate-Ross Perot, who siphoned a lot of conservative support from Bush 41. But Clinton s victory did not signal an end to the Republican-dominated electoral era. During Clinton's eight years as President, the Republicans not only regained a majority in the Senate, but also captured control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Furthermore, his economic agenda which included further promotion of the free global trade, Welfare reform reduction of budget deficits, and lowering of interest rates, were arguably conservative economic policies which were widely supported by the Republicans and economic conservatives (Bartlett, 2004). In fact, Clinton s famous phase from one of his 1996 radio addresses that the "The era of big Government is over" (CNN, 1996) arguably highlighted his conservative economic tendencies and in some ways continued policies which were offered by Republican President Ronald Reagan (Goodwin, 2009). The eventual election of George W. Bush as the 43rd President following the Clinton years and his subsequent reelection in 2004 possibly confirmed the notion that the 1992 and 1996 Presidential elections were deviating Lastly Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes characterized a realigning election by the appearance of a more or less durable realignment of party loyalties ." They said that in such an election "popular feeling associated with politics is sufficiently intense that the basic partisan commitments of a portion ofthe electorate change (Campbell Converse, Miller and 6

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Stokes 1960, pg. 534) Noting Key s observation Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes wrote that although every election has a potential of creating or strengthening voters lasting loyalty to a political party it is only during a sharp realignment where the number of those voters is so great. Most importantly, the authors observed a pattern where changes in long term party allegiances tend to be associated with great national crises (Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes 1960 pg. 534 ). As a vivid e x ample of a realigning election Campbell brought forth the 1932 election which featured the most dramatic reversal of party alignments in [the 20111] century ... associated with the Great Depression of the 1930 s (Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes 1960 pg. 534) He went on to say that the economic collapse that transpired during the Hoover Administration discredited the GOP so much that it fell from its impressive majorities of the 1920 s to a s erie s of defeats which in 1936 reached overwhelming dimensions (Campbell Converse Miller and Stokes 1960 pg 534) Walter Burnham w as one of the first scholars to note that electoral realignments emer g e in time cycles taking place fairly regularly just about every thirty to thirty-eight years or so He said that historically speaking at least national critical realignments have not occurred at random Instead there has been a remarkably uniform periodicity in their appearance (Burnham 1970 pg 8 26). Arthur Paulson concurred with this cyclical theory b y saying that a broad consensus in the literature place s previous reali g nments in the 1830s, the 1860s the 1890s and the 1930s The periodicity of realignments may reflect waves of economic modernization and political development with ne w issues and interests accompan y ing the decline of old parti s an ali g nments and the rise of new ones (Paulson 2000 pg xvi) He also added that new l y formed electoral coalitions may reflect several varying combinations of voters including party switchers a new generation of v oters as well 7

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as the emergence of a portion of the electorate that has not previously voted in high levels but has now mobilized for one reason or another. With that said, it is quite clear that realignment theory has changed over the decades, mainly due to the additional research on the subject. However the original core principles of Key s theory still remain the same within the scope of new scholarship on realignment. In a global sense the realignment theory as it currently stands, suggests that there is an element of predictability in American political system Within that predictability notion the theory proposes that fundamental changes inside the system itself or within the electorate occur with regular periodicity every 32 to 40 years. Thus, realignment junctions and critical elections can be predicted with a fair degree of certainty. In a scope of political and social science the realignment theory explains American political system as a pendulum that swings from one side to another with the aid of the forces of change within the society. The duration of each swing lasts about three to four decades or approximately one generation, after which the direction of the swing changes and new electoral c ycle begins. In some ways the realignment theory relates with the theory of retrospective voting. In general terms the main concept of the retrospective voting assumes that the electorate bases its voting decisions on the past performances of an incumbent party in power. If the voters perceive that an incumbent party accomplished positive results within a certain period oftime (usually in-between the elections) then more likely than not, the propensity of reelection of candidates from that party rises. On the other hand if an incumbent party performed poorly, then propensity to vote for that party falls ? Taken retrospective voting into 2 Bendor J., Kumar S., & Siegel D. A (I September, 2005). V. 0. Key Formali zed: R e trospe c tiv e Voting as an Adaptive Pro cess. Retrieved from http : // www.allacademic.com / met a/ p40005 index html 8

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n consideration, realignment essentially takes place when voters become unhappy with the incumbent party's short and long term performance or overall direction of the country in terms of public policies. With that the electorate changes its long term preference from one party towards another Several decades later the electorate s ours on majority party and its policies and the political pendulum swings back towards the minority or opposition party and with that new realignment c y cle begins . Although in its current state the realignment theory has a solid footing within the political science domain there are still some scholars who at times challenged either certain portions of the theory or its standing as a whole. Mayhew who has designed a fifteen point metric which will be used e x tensively in this thesis as a method to test for the potential of reali g nment and a critical election in 2008 for instance argued that some methods which had been used by a number of scholars in the past to identify realignment periods do not reliably show the existence and the periodicity thereof (Mayhew 2002 pg. 46-59). Paul Allen Beck among others also questioned at times the viability of the realignment theory on the grounds that the realignment of the late 1960s did not fit the definitions initially established by V 0. Key (Rosenof, 2003 pg. 141 ) Rosen of wrote that many political scientists argued that what took place in the 1970s in this country should be considered as dealignment a s voters abandoned political parties as opposed to participation in the political process with one party or another (Rosen of, 2003 pg. 141 ). However armed with latest empirical evidence Paulson among other scholars argues that dealignment perspective does not inherently discount the notion of periodic sea change in American elections and party systems (Paulson 2006 pg. ', 11) the two notions which in many ways define American political system as unique and unparalleled. 9

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Mayhew's Realignment testing method Analyzing the 2006 and 2008 elections for the possibility of realignment will be done by utilizing one of the latest models for testing the theory which was devised by David Mayhew. He wrote that realignment theory is "in principle empirically testable or at least [it has] a testable empirical side (Mayhew 2002 pg. 13) Mayhew explained that realignment theory by his estimation had fifteen distinct key claims He assessed that most of these claims can be empiricall y tested since all but the last ofthe 15 claims are universalistic in form-at least across the domain of American history. The last is historical (Mayhew 2002 pg 13). In describing the fifteen key claims that could be tested in realignment theory Mayhew noted that the first four items in his testable method add up to the kind of content found in a cyclical theory of history-such as business-cycle theory They feature a phenomenon that recurs a specified periodicity of the recurrence and two alternative causes of the alleged periodicity (Mayhew 2002 pg 13 ). Furthermore he classified the next six claims as those that take up process events that are thought to map onto electoral realignments in various way (Mayhew 2002 pg. 13). Meaning these claims explain relationships between election related events such as voter turnout and movements along the line of party affiliation and the alleged realignment. The ne x t four items take up issues relating to the effects on the governmental policy Mayhew noted that the last claim is not easily classifiable, but still are part of a testable theory in the whole. The following are the fifteen claims which Mayhew devised to test elections for evidence of realignment: 10

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I Through the examination of patterns of voter support for parties over time American national elections can be sorted into two kjnds-a few specified realigning ones and a great many nonrealigning ones. 2. Electoral realignments have appeared in a pattern of regularity-that is, periodicity. 3. First motor: A dynamic of tension buildup has caused the oscillation in and out of the thirty-year-or-so realignment cycles 4. Second motor: A strengthening and weakening of party identification has caused the oscillation in and out of the thirty-year-or-so realignment cycles. 5. Voter concern and turnout are unusually high in realigning elections. 6 Realignments are marked by turmoil in presidential conventions. 7. For one reason or another good showings by third parties tend to stimulate, or at least to take place shortly before realignments. 8 In an electoral realignment a new dominant voter cleavage over interests ideological tendencies, or issues replaces an old one 9. Elections at realignment junctures are marked by insurgent-led ideological polarization. 10. At least as regards the U.S. House realigning elections hinge on national issues nonrealigning elections on local ones II. Electoral realignments are associated with major changes in government policy. 12. Electoral realignments bring on long spans of unified party control of the government that is, of the House Senate and presidency ; such spans are a precondition of major policy innovation. 13. Electoral realignments are distinctively associated with redistributive policies. 14. The American voting public expresses itself effectively and consequentially during electoral realignments but not otherwise. 15. There existed a System of 1896 ." Mayhew argues that although every election has its own distinct characteristics when it comes to voter participation stability or the shifting preference of the electorate, history and research shows that realignment periods reveal distinct similarities between each other The main approach of this thesis will be based on a replication of the Mayhew s fifteen point model testing the empirical data from the 2006-2008 elections against Mayhew s indicators of realignment with the exception of the last claim which is not really empirically testable and therefore will be omitted and thus will be omitted in this thesis. This is a timely scholarly 11

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task since there is suggestive evidence that the 2008 election may indeed qualify as a "critical election." Part of this evidence is the suggestive fact that several decades have passed since the last realignment period and the last critical election. Thus, taking into the consideration the cyclical nature of the realignments and the notion that the last critical election in the U.S. took place most likely in 1968 (Paulson, 2000, pg. 18), the hypothesis is that 2008 election occurred at precisely the right historical time to qualify as a critical/realigning election. I will test this hypothesis in the remaining chapters of this thesis. In the second chapter of this thesis, I will discuss the first two claims in the Mayhew system, although they will not be directly tested against the 2006 and 2008 election data by themselves. The real purpose of examining these claims is to establish the notion that realigning periods and critical elections in the American history have indeed taken place and that they took place roughly every thirty to forty years throughout American history. The third chapter will discuss Mayhew's "First Motor" claim, which describes political tension buildup leading up to the realignment and a critical election. Thus, in addition to introducing historical occurrences of prior socio-economic and political tension buildup in prior realigning periods, 1 will comprehensively review political and economic news accounts relating to the 2006 and 2008 election cycles in order to explore the evidence of similarities between the current situation and realigning periods taking place 40 and 76 years ago respectively. In the forth chapter of this thesis, I will explore party identification data and whether substantial changes in electoral partisanship can currently be considered as evidence of realignment. Chapter five will present evidence of voter turnout patterns and whether the 12

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trend in increased participation in 2006 and 2008 compares favorably to other realigning periods. In chapter six I will discuss whether any significant events took place during the party primaries and for the lesser extent conventions, which could have contributed to irreconcilable party divisions leading up to the general elections This particular section will be more relevant to the p!7esidential elections of2008 than the congressional elections in 2006 and 2008 respectively Chapter seven will discuss whether Third parties had any effect on the outcome of the 2008 elections and to the lesser extent in 2006. In chapter eight I will explore whether new voter alliances have been formed within the U .S. electorate in the past two election cycles. I intend to delve into the differences between the new electoral coalition and that in 2004. Historical comparison to the 1968 and 1932 voting coalitions will be made as well. Within that chapter, I will also look into how polarized the new voter coalitions became in the recent elections and what were the key issues behind that polarization Furthermore, I will explore whether those key issues were on the level of national importance (as in Mayhew s tenth point) or were more or less localized In chapter 9 I will explore whether Democrats have been able to introduce and implement radical changes to the governmental policies since the 2006 election. As a subsection to that analysis I will delve into the potential redistributive effects of those policies as in Mayhew s thirteenth point. With the Democrats holding solid majorities in both houses of Congress and the Presidency Chapter I 0 will delve into the long term potential endurance of the party in the majority Although elections of members of House of Representatives are much harder to 13

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prognosticate the electoral contests within the Senate are much easier to predict since only a Third of that chamber is up for re-election in the next election cycle. I chapter II, I will discuss how effectively the v oting public expressed itself during the 2006 and 2008 elections I will explore whether voters wanted to go with the new governmental policy approach presented by the Democrats as opposed to just voting against the Republicans. Furthermore, within the scope of analyzing the effectiveness ofthe expression of the voting public I will analyze whether the margin of victory b y the Democrats in 2008 (and to lesser extent in 2006) in the Electoral College popular vote and number of Congressional seats won can be considered a mandate to implement monumental changes to the governmental policies An examination of the results of the 2006 and 2008 elections in the U.S for potential signs of realignment can serve multiple purposes. Firstly this thesis will produce evidence of whether there are any signs pointing to the confirmation or a repudiation of the hypothesis that the period spanning from 2006 through 2008 can be considered realigning as described by the Realignment theory Secondl y, if it is proven that realignment did indeed take place and the 2008 election was critical, then it ought to give us some early indicators of the future political direction of this country and thus allow us to make claims as to when the next realignment might take place Although this thesis will present the latest scholarship relating to realignment theory I will not much engage in the debate as to whether the theory is fundamentally right or wrong Mayhew s fifteen claim system of testing for realignment will only be used as a method of testing whether recent elections do or do not count as realigning. For the purpose of this thesis it will be assumed that both realignment theory and Mayhew s system of testing for realignment are essentially valid. In other words, the 14

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point of this thesis is to replicate and test Mayhew's theory against recent elections-not to debate realignment theory itself. However, in the concluding section of this thesis I will propose suggestions on how realignment theory might be improved based on the findings of my research. Furthermore, I will offer readers my recommendations on whether there is a need to further validate the basic fundamentals of the realignment theory and Mayhew's system for testing it, in light of the latest developments. 15

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CHAPTER 2 HISTORY OF REALIGNING PERIODS IN THE U.S. AND THEIR CYCLICAL NATURE V.O. Key who developed the original theoretical core of the realignment theory conceptualized realignments as periods in political history when sharp and durable changes take place within the political alignment of the voting electorate and those rather radical transformations only take place during certain elections (Mayhew 2002 pg. 14) Burnham added to that by saying that critical elections have differed in their kind from all other non critical elections (Mayhew 2002 pg. 14). Furthermore Burnham supplemented the original concept by asserting that the rea l igning periods appear periodically with each cycle emerging approximately once every thirty to thirty-eight years (Mayhew 2002 pg 16). Paul Allen Beck concurred with Burnham s assessment and also added that realignments are usually followed by a long period of time when politics are become normalized and stabilized (Mayhew 2002 pg 16). From the historical perspective up until 2008 the American political system can be divided into six distinct phases party systems which lasted approximately 32-40 years for the most part, and which were separated by a period of realignment. Each ofthose party systems was unique in their own way but at the same time they all displayed similarities with each other as well. The first party system was born right after the 1789 election of George Washington as the first President of the U S., who ran virtually unopposed in his 16

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campaign3 and as the only President who did not align himself to a particular political party. Almost four years later in the 1792 congressional elections, the Federalists (supporters of the strong federal government) had formed a political party and ran against the Anti-Federalists (supporters of the loose confederacy) who themselves evolved into a Democratic-Republican Party. Grier Stephenson points out that although the Federalist Party initially dominated political field in the original 13 states, their run was rather short lived as Democratic-Republicans replaced them "as the ruling party after 1800, when Thomas Jefferson became president. The Federalists gradually faded away as a credible political force and by 1820 there was no candidate for the presidency running as a Federalist (Stephenson, 1999 pg. 28). The domination of the Democratic-Republican Party grew so much, that the years 1816-1824 almost completely lacked any sort of partisan confrontation and this period was subsequently called the "Era of Good Feeling." This epoch period reached its peak in the election of 1820, when President James Monroe "was re-elected with all but one electoral vote-a vote withheld only due to the voter's concern that George Washington should remain as the sole president elected unanimously.'"' Furthermore, the supremacy of the DemocraticRepublican Party was evident not only in the Presidential elections but also in House and Senate elections. In fact from 180 I through 1824, the Democratic Republican Party enjoyed a 24 year period of uninterrupted unified control of both the executive and legislative (House 3 Dykman J. & Gregory S ( 4 November, 2008). I 0 Elections That Changed America. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http: //w ww time.com / time /s pecials / packages / article / 0,28804, 1856551 1856544 1856530,00.html 4 Rutgers University. Archive of American Politics : Era ofGood F ee ling". Retrieved from http : //www .ea gleton .r utgers.edu/e-gov / e-po I iticalarch ive-good feel i ng.htm 17

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of Representatives and the Senate) branches of our government.5 From the historical perspective this type of political domination has never been replicated as of 2008 As a matter of comparison, Republicans had achieved only 14 years of unified control from 1897-1911, and Democrats accomplished the same from 1933-1947 (Campbell, Trilling pg. 293). Eventually, Stephenson notes the era collapsed in 1824 when a rivalry for the presidency developed among four Democratic-Republican leaders : John Quincy Adams, William H. Crawford Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson Those challengers ended up splitting the electoral vote into four with no one receiving a clear electorate majority. With some heavy political maneuvering, Clay steered the election towards Adams in the House of Representatives. Jackson and his supporters were furious of the outcome, with them alleging that corruption had taken place. The confrontation caused an irreparable rift within the Democratic-Republican Party which then split into a Democratic Party led by Jackson and the Whig Party led by Clay With that said the first party system lasted approximately 32 years. The transitional period between 1824 through 1828 was the first actual realignment in the history of the American political system. This realignment period culminated with the critical election of Andrew Jackson in the 1828 Presidential elections, which in turn signaled the beginning of the second party system In that monumental election, the Jackson won every state in the South and West while the incumbent Adams swept the electoral votes of every state in the North except Pennsylvania and part ofNew York. 5 United States Senate. Par ty Divisi o n in the Senate, 1 7 89Pr esent. Retrieved from http : // www.se nate. gov / pag elayo u t/histo r y / one ite m and t ease rs / partydiv htm ; Office of the Clerk, U.S House of Representatives. Party Divi sions of th e Hou se of R eprese ntativ es (1789 to Pr ese nt) Retrieved from http: // clerk hou se .gov / a rt histo r y / house his tory / partyDiv html 18

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The Second System featured what some might call an electoral revolution. From the mid 1820s thought 1840s most states repealed property qualifications for voting and office holding. Moreover direct methods of selecting presidential electors county officials, state judges and governors replaced indirect methods ."6 Because of these and other political innovations, voter participation skyrocketed. Twice as many voters cast ballots in the election of 1828 as in 1824 four times as many as in 1820 ."7 By 1840 voting participation had reached unprecedented levels Nearly 80 percent of adult white males went to the polls ."8 Even though each of the two major political parties was stronger in some states than in others nationally they were closely balanced Between 1836 and 1852 [the] Democrats won the presidency in 1836 1844 and 1852 while Whigs prevailed in 1840 and 1848. "9 Additionally both Whigs and the Democrats at some point between 1828 through 1850s were in control of one or both houses of Congress. The Second Party system began to show signs of instability starting in the mid-1840s as the Wigs and the Democrats began to split along sectional lines over slavery extension, and that sectional rupture would ultimately help cause the system's demise in the mid1850s ."1 0 The American political system during the 1850s became incapable of containing the sectional disputes between the North and South that had smoldered for more than half a 6 Mintz S. (2007) Jacksonian Democracy: The Presidency of Andrew Jackson. Di g ital History Retrieved from http ://www. digitalhistory .uh. ed u/ datab a s e / articl e dis play cfm ? HHID = 6 3 7 7 Ibid 8 Mintz S (2007) Jacksonian Democracy: Rise of Democratic Politics Di g ital Hi s tory Retrieved from http://www. dig i t alhis t o ry.uh. e d u/ databa se / arti c l e display.cfm ? HHID = 6 33 9 Holt M F. (2002) Ov e rv iew. G e ttin g th e M ess a ge Out Na ti o nal P o liti c al C ampai g n Mat e rials, 1840-1860. Retrieved from http : // d ig. l i b niu .e d u/ m ess ag e / p s o v e rvi ew. htm I 1 0 Ibid 19

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century ."11 The Whig party collapsed and the Democratic Party split into Northern and Southern factions With the breakdown of the party s y stem the issues raised by slavery exploded. The bonds that had bound the country for more than seven decades began to unravel. "1 2 Gordon Kleeberg concurred with that asse ss ment saying that the period between 1851 to 1859 was full of political transitions during which old political alignments in the United States were broken and gave place to new crystallization of voters ; and in which also former political issue s were supplanted by the paramount contest over slavery in the Territories (Kieeberg 1914 pg 13). In 1854, following the Kansas-Nebraska Act some thirty members of Congress agreed to form a new political party the Republican Party (GOP) which initially consisted of a number of former members ofthe Whig Party Free Soilers and Democrats (Kleeberg 1914, pg. 13). With that, the Second Party system which lasted just like the first one for approximately 32 years was essentially over. With the creation of the GOP the s econd realignment in American history took place It concluded with the critical election of 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected as the first Republican President. The third party sy s tem began during the period of the Civil War and lasted roughl y 36 y ears during which the Republican Party dominated the presidential elections Due to its support for abolition of slavery and other economic programs in conjunction to the Reconstruction the GOP had won all but two presidential contests-in 1884 and in 1892 It is important to note, however, that during and following the Civil War voters in Southern states who w ere largely supporters of the Democratic Party were disenfranchised if they had fought on the side of the Confederacy. Moreover with the 11 Mintz S (2007) The Impending Crisis : The Slave Power Conspirac y Digital Hi s t ory. Retrieved from http : // w ww .digitalhis t ory uh e du / d a t a b ase / a rticl e dis play.cfm ? HHID =324 1 2 Ibid 20

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Reconstruction Act of 1876 Congress divided Southern states into five military districts which led to the essential disenfranchisement of entire Southern region.1 3 After Reconstruction the Democrats made solid political gains in the South "where resentment by whites toward Republican domination of their region after the Civil War was high and when Southern blacks were prohibited from active participation in politics by the notorious Jim Crow laws (Maisel, Buckley, 2004, pg. 43). Moreover, between 1874 to 1892 the Democrats would often control the House of Representatives. With that, by the time the third party system would run its course the Southern states were solidly Democratic while the Northern and Western states were mostly Republican. This type of electoral and geographical division among the two political parties would hold up for another seven decades up until the 1968 elections On the surface, there was no obvious realignment that took place between the third and forth party system. The fourth party system which lasted roughly from the mid 1890s to 1932 unlike previous ones did not represent a substantial electoral change per se. Yet, Paulson wrote that the 1896 election established a normal Republican national majority with control of the Presidency and Congress" (Paulson 2000 pg 7). The Republican Party continued its domination when it came to the presidential elections but the change in the forth party system was represented by the supremacy in the control of the Congress as well as "the issues that separated the parties and the allegiances of large groups of voters" (Maisel Buckley 2004, pg 48). In the aftermath of the 1896 election, the Republicans had solidified their base in the urban and north-east areas while the Democrats electoral foundation was 13 Glass A (23 February 2 008) Missis s ippi readmitted to the Union Feb. 23, 1870 Politico. Retrieved from http: // www. p o litico.co m/news / s tori es / 0 208 / 8640.html 21

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mostly in the south and some western areas. From that point on Maisel and Buckley wrote the Republicans would hold the White House for sixteen consecutive years and for twentyeight ofthe next thirty-six years (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg. 48). Only the Democrat Woodrow Wilson was able to break the mold by winning the presidency in 1912 and 1916 (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg. 48). The Democrats recaptured the reins of Congress during the Wilson s presidency but by 1920 the Republican coalition had regained its control of both branches of the U S government. The fourth party system which lasted for approximately 36 years was marked by some fairly progressive reforms, which included women finally attaining their right to vote. The next realignment took place following the stock market crash in 1929 and following the Great Depression in the first two years of the 1930s. The midterm elections in 1930 showed the first signs of cracks within the Republican coalition as the GOP lost 52 House seats and eventually lost control ofthat chamber .1 4 Moreover, the Democrats gained 8 seats in the Senate bringing the party division with in one seat: 4 7 for the Democrats and 48 for the GOP Essentially Maisel and Buckley wrote the American public blamed the Great Depression on Republican president Herbert Hoover and his party (Maisel, Buckley, 2004 pg. 50). In the critical election of 1932 the populist message of economic reforms from the Democratic governor from New York Franklin Roosevelt (FOR) resonated with the voters and he crushed the incumbent Republican Hoover at the polls by winning 472 to 59 in the 1 4 Before the first day of Congress 14 repre s entatives-elect died The results of the special elections caused party control ofthe House to chan g e and Democrat s organized with the majority of the House seats Office ofthe Clerk U.S House of Representatives Party Div i s i o n s o f th e H o u se o f R epre s e ntativ e s (178 9 t o Pr ese nt ) Retrieved trom http : // clerk hou se .gov / art his tory / hou se his tor y / p a rtyDiv htm #foo t I 22

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Electoral College, alongside capturing some 57 percent of the popular vote. With that, the fifth party system had begun, lasting for approximately 36 years. The popularity of the New Deal programs and the overall approval of the Democrats by the electorate during the World War II was marked by the mandate like reelections up until the 1946 election Even considering the fact that the Republicans regained control the Congress in 1946 and won presidential elections in both 1952 and 1956-both by Dwight D. Eisenhower, these elections were seen as more or less as deviating. Eisenhower, by today's standards, was hardly a conservative as he expanded Social Security, trimmed the Defense budget and initiated the interstate highway system, one of the largest public works projects in American history.1 5 Having said that, Maisel and Buckley contended, the majority of the American electorate in the 1950s was still more aligned with the Democratic Party and its continuing New Deal policies. Ln the 1954 elections, the Democrats re-took the House of Representatives and didn t relinquish control of that chamber for another 40 years. In the same election, they also regained control of the Senate. With the elections of J.F. Kennedy in 1960 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964, the Democrats once again dominated the political landscape by controlling both the legislative and the executive branches of government. In spite of that, by the middle 1960s the New Deal coalition was clearly eroding. The erosion actually started in 1948 when the Democratic Party was divided into 3 different camps : the Truman-status quo camp, the Progressive camp led by Henry Wallace and the Southern segregationist faction led by Strom Thurmond. The Southern Democratic bloc, 15 Black A & Hopkins J (2003). The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Dwight Eisenhower. Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site. Retrieved from http : // www. nps. gov / arch i ve / e I ro / glossary / eisenhower-dwight.htm 23

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critical to the once mighty Roosevelt electoral coalition was breaking away from the party. Maisel and Buckley wrote that 'the prominent issues of the 1960s civil rights and the Vietnam war-further dro v e the wedge in the Democratic Party between conservative Southerners and their more liberal copartisans in the North (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg. 52). In fact the Democratic Party was actually split into three different factions The liberal wing ofthe party which consisted of the intellectual elite opposed the war while the so called blue-collar wing ended up supporting it considering the fact that their sons for the most part being the ones fighting in the conflict (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg. 53) The third wing of the party which represented the conservative South was peeling off on the civil rights issue s. According to V O. Key the electoral realignment that was clearly taking place in the 1960s was somewhat different in nature if compared to the previous ones. Key dubbed it as secular" in nature as it started roughly in 1948 and spanned for over two decades (Key, 1959 198-21 0) With the divided Democratic Party a conservative tide in the South West coast the Mountain states and in rest of the country s suburbia took place and led to the election of the Republican Richard Nixon as the President in the 1968. The critical election in 1968 signaled the beginning of the six party system which lasted roughly until the end of2004. During this 36 year period Southern States on the political level continued their transition from being once solidly Democratic to being firmly behind the Republican Party which was one of the primary reasons behind Republicans winning in 7 out of I 0 presidential elections Although during that period the Democrats technically controlled the House of Representatives e x clusively from 1968-1994 and had control of the Senate for man y of those years as well most of the Southern Democrats voted 24

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with the GOP on a great number of bills especially those concerning social issues. This was especially evident during the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan when for all intents and purposes the GOP held a governing majority by relying on the conservative Democrats to deliver on Reagan's agenda. Following the Democrat Bill Clinton s 1992 presidential victory the 1994 Republican Revolution and the so called Contract for America allowed the GOP to recapture the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years and regain its majority in the Senate By the mid 1990s Southern Representatives and Senators essentially became the base of the Republican Party in Congress. Republican strength in state legislatures throughout the South reached new post-Reconstruction peaks" (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg 54). This pattern continued in the first two elections of the new millennium when it arguably reached its peak In 2002 midterms, with help from the congressional redistricting the Republican Party expanded its ranks in the House. Their Southern Republican majority by that time reached three-fifths of the total number of seats from the South (Black Black, 2008 pg. 193). Furthermore the GOP was also victorious in 60 percent of the congressional districts in the Midwestern states. It was according to Earl and Merle Black, the strongest performance by the Republicans in that area of the country since the early 1950s (Black, Black 2008 pg 195) ln 2004 elections, the GOP expended its majorities in the House and in the Senate even more in addition to having Republican George W. Bush reelected for his second term as the President. The Republican Party in the aftermath ofthe 2004 elections looked almost invincible to some observers and there was a talk inside the Washington political circles of the 25

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Permanent Republican Majority.1 6 Yet what appeared to have doomed the Democratic Party in the 1960s and for the next three plus decades-the Vietnam war-seems to have the same effect on the GOP as the second Gulf war (2003-present) has badly undermined their electoral majority. The unpopularity of the conflict in Iraq coupled with the corruption charges within the GOP as well as a slowdown in the economy propelled the Democrats out of the political basement in the 2006 mid-term elections when they regained control of both the House and the Senate Just two years later, in 2008 the voters elected Democrat Barack Obama as the first African-American as the President of the U.S. history-only the 3rd Democratic President since the 1968 elections as well as the highest total vote getter in terms of the overall popular vote percentage It appears that the last two elections might have signaled the end of the Republican dominated Sixth Party System and the beginning of what might be the Seventh Party System. Throughout this chapter, I have demonstrated historical evidence of realignments and their consistent periodic occurrence of every three to four decades how each realignment period was highlighted with a critical election which in turn signaled a beginning of a distinct new era within the American political system The hypothesis that I will explore in the next chapters of this thesis is the probability that a realignment period took place sometime between 2005-2008 with the 2008 elections being critical in terms of culminating electoral realignment and signaling the beginning of a new party system 1 6Kohut A., & Doherty C. ( 19 August 2007 ) Permanent Republican Majority ? Think Again The Washington Post. Retrieved from http :// w ww. wa s hingtonpo s t.com / wp d y n / c ontent / article / 2 007 / 08 /17/ AR2007081701713.html 26

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CHAPTER 3 THE FIRST MOTOR Mayhew via Burnham identified the First Motor claim as a dynamic tension buildup or force which causes the political pendulum to o s cillate in and out of the thirty-year-or-so realignment cycles as one of the main features of the realignment theory (Mayhew 2002 pg. 17). Burnham contended that following a realignment, socio-economic forces cause political stress or tensions to build up until they escalate to a so called boiling point ", at which time a new realignment is triggered In other words a so called pendulum which swings from one way to another on the political spectrum reaches its highest point with the help of realignment forces which are accelerated by some monumental or epic events such as war or deep economic recession that take place in the society. The peak of the swing is represented by a critical election during which electoral changes occur forcing the policies of the government to change which in turn cause the political pendulum to reverse the direction and swing the other way. The reverse oscillation is fueled by the effects of the new governmental policies and it lasts for another thirty or so years later. Eventually, the forces of change cause the pendulum it to reach the peak on the opposite side of the swing and then the process repeats itself only this time in the oppo s ite direction Looking back at the history of realignments, the economic collapse in the year of 1929 which turned into the Great Depression is an example of one of those monumental or epic events which fueled the forces of change and which affected the American economy for 27

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many years. The wave with which the Democratic Party took control of the Congress in 1930 elections as well the overwhelming victory by FOR in 1932 was directly related to failed economic policies which began in the late 1890s and ended with the administration of President Herbert Hoover. The Great Depression was the accelerant that essentially caused the political oscillator to reach its peak in 1932, when a critical election took place. The direction of the country was essentially reversed by the new economic policies of the Democrats, which last ed for the next 36 years. Three decades later the war in Vietnam was escalating, and racial tensions throughout the country were on the rise, fueled by the violent protests and demonstrations. The economic policies of the FOR administration lost their popularity, especially among the Southern whites and newly affluent homeowners whose taxation levels consistently rose under the policies ofthe Democratic "Great Society". These issues effectively reversed the leftward direction of the "political oscillator and caused it to go rightward once again accompanied by the 1968 election ofNixon. Fast forwarding some thirty six years, the aftermath of the 2004 presidential and congressional elections look similar to the elections of 1928 and 1964. The incumbent party won the Presidenc y and the control of the Congress yet again in these elections. However, signs of trouble for the ruling party were already visible in 2004 similar to the other prerealignment elections of 1928 and 1964. In 2004, a variety of tracking polls showed that since approximately April of2003, the majority of the population thought that the U.S. was heading in the wrong direction. In the l ead-up to the 2004 e lections only 39% of people were satisfied with the direction ofthe country, according to the Newsweek poll.1 7 A similar 17 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Direction of th e Country: Right Track I Wrong Track. Retrieved from http: // www.pollingreport.com / right.htm 28

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survey conducted by Pew Research Center, found just 36% satisfied while 58% of people dissatisfied with how things were in the country at that time.1 8 An exit poll conducted by CNN during the election day in 2004 showed only 49% of the surveyed thought the country was on the right track. Additionally survey showed that out of20% of the voting public who thought Economy/Jobs was the most important issue of the elections 80% ofthem voted for Democratic candidate John Kerry. Additionally for those 15% of the people who mentioned Iraq war as their primary concern, 73% of them voted for the Democrat.19 In the end the Republican George W. Bush was re-elected with one of the smallest electoral and popular vote margins of the incumbents in history of the U.S. elections. His rather slim 286 to 251 victory in Electoral College and 50.7% to 48.3% in popular vote over the John Kerry rivaled only Woodrow Wilson's thin margin in his 1916 re-election. In the aftermath of the 2004 vote, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed another troubling sign for the GOP. The survey was tracking the following question: "Overall, which party-the Democrats or the Republicansdo you trust to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years?"20 In the period from January 2002 through August 2003 the trend favored the Republicans by an average of just 5%. Starting from the June 2005 survey, however, the poll showed growing trends that favored the Democrats. In fact the poll showed that in the lead-up to the 2006 elections the Democrats were preferred by an average of 48.5% of those polled, while Republicans were favored by only 38.1 %. 18lbid 1 9 CNN. (2004). Election R es ult s: U.S. President I National I Exit Poll. Retrieved from http: // www cnn.com/ELECTION / 2004 / pages / results / states / US / P /OO/ epolls.O html 20 Polling Report Inc (2009). Major Institutions : Political Parti es. Retrieved from http :// www.pollingreport.com / institut2 htm 29

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In the buildup to the 2006 mid-term elections the Newsweek survey conducted in October of that year found only 31% of the people were satisfied with the overall direction of the country, while 61% were dissatisfied. The October 2006 Pew poll showed similar dynamics, with only 30 % of those responded thought the country was headed in the right direction and 63% thought the opposite ?1 Those numbers went up a bit in the CNN exit-poll survey for 2006 elections with 41% of the respondents saying that country was on the right track compared to 55% saying the country was on the wrong track. The same poll showed that some 50% of the people thought that economy was either not good or poor. The issue of the lraq war dominated that election with some 88% of people in the survey thinking of it as either somewhat very or extremely important. Furthermore 56% disapproved of the war, 55% thought that U.S should withdraw some or all fighting troops from that region and 59% of the people thought that Iraq war did not improve the security of this country.22 A historical comparison conducted by Gallup also found that "it took longer for a majority of Americans to view the Vietnam war as a mistake than has been the case for Iraq (Joyner, 2005) Lastly with several ethics-related scandals associated with bribery of public officials by powerful Washington lobbyists and allegations of fraud hanging over many Republicans in general and some of its more powerful members in Congress the issue of corruption became one of the centerpieces of the 2006 election campaign With Republicans Randy Duke Cunningham of California being convicted of bribery and Robert Ney of Ohio convicted of fraud as well as various implications of House Majority Leader Tom Delay of 2 1 Polling Report Inc (2009) Dir ec ti o n o f th e Co untry: Ri g ht Trac k I Wro n g Track. Retrieved from http: // www pollingr e p011.com / right.htm 22 CNN (2006) Am e ri c a V ot e s 2006 Exit P o lls : U.S. Hou se of R eprese ntativ e s I Nati o nal I Exit Poll. Retrieved from http : // www.cnn com / ELECTION / 2006 / p a ges / re s ult s / s tate s / US /HJOO/ epolls O html 30

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Texas and Senator Conrad Burns of Montana among others with the disgraced and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, corruption became an election year issue for the Republicans that helped them to lose control of the Congress and tip the political scale towards the Democrats in the aftermath of the 2006 mid-terms. A CBS News poll which was taken a week before the elections showed that 35% of those asked believed that the Republicans had more corrupt politician s than the Democrats, while 15% answered that the Democrats are more corrupt.23 A CNN exit poll ofthe 2006 elections showed that 78% of the people thought corruption was either very important or extremely important. Of those people, an overwhelming majority voted for the Democrats for Congress?4 The above mentioned synopsis of public opinion polls and other empirical indicator s, in the aftermath of the 2004 general elections shows that the electorate was becoming increasingly unhappy with the Republican Party, its policies and subsequently the overall direction ofthe country. The unwillin gness of the Republican majority to acknowledge and in some ways to adhere to the electorate's opinion on hot button issues such as the war in Iraq directly led to the rapid increase in political tension between the electorate and the governing party The growing tension and the unhappiness of the voters led to the first wave of changes that translated into the Republican losses in the 2006 congressional elections, during which the GOP lost its legislative majorities in Congress. 23 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Government and Politics. Retrieved from http: // www.po llin greport com / politics.htm 24 CNN. (2006) America Votes 2006. Exit Polls: U.S. House of Representatives I National I Exit Poll Retrieved from http: // www.cnn com / ELECT ION / 2006 / pages / results / states / US / H / 00 / epolls.O.html 31

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In 2007, the newly elected Democratic majorities in the House and in the Senate25 were small in sheer numbers and therefore were unable to deliver on many of their campaign promises, mostly because of parliamentary tactics employed by the Republicans and vetoes (or threats thereof) from President Bush. However, Brian Knowlton, of the New York Times, pointed out that a even by simply proposing legislation which was favorable to the electorate, even if it was bound to fail, actually served a purpose from the Democrats' standpoint. By doing that, Knowlton wrote, the Democrats kept pressure on Republicans while helping the Democrats show their supporters "why they can't get this done." 26 The issue of the war in Iraq continued to be a major topic of public policy discussion throughout 2007 and by the end of that year a majority of the Americans favored some sort of a timetable for the w ithdrawal of troops from Iraq. A Gallup poll showed that "59% of Americans say it is better for the United States to set a timetable for removing troops from Iraq and to stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Iraq at that time."27 Situation in Iraq remained the most important topic for the electorate leading up to the 2008 primaries, where clear differences on that issue were evident during publicly televised presidential debates With all Democratic candidates admitting in some form or fashion that the war was a mistake, most of the Republican candidates, with the exception of Congressman Ron Paul from Texas considered the war itself as the one that needed to be 25 This chamber was actually split 49-49. The Democratic majority in the Senate was made possible by two independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut caucusing with the Democrats. 26 Knowlton, B. ( 18 July, 2007). Senate Republicans again block vote on Iraq pullout. The New York Times. Retrieved from http :// www.nytimes com/2007 / 07/18 / world/americas / 18iht cong.4.6718722.html 27 Caroll, J. (II December 2007). Public Continues to Favor Timetable for Iraq Withdrawal. Gallup. Retrieved from http: // www gallup.com / poll / 1 03159 / Public-Continues-Favor-Timetable-lraq Withdrawal.aspx 32

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waged and faulted President Bush and his administration for the bad execution of it.2 8 With the differences between the parties continued to grow on this subject as the time went on, the political tension continued to rise. Countless number of anti-war protests took place in 2007 and 2008 in Washington D C and throughout the country. With escalating tensions some of those protests actually turned out to be violent. In Olympia Washington for instance, it was reported that normally laid-back town was on edge in the middle ofNovember of2007. after a week of raucous war protests that have resulted in dozens of arrests broken windows and police firing pepper-spray projectiles to control restive crowds ."2 9 Having said that the Iraq conflict was not the only issue indicating a buildup of political tension during this time however As the first presidential primaries of2008 approached, the continuing conflict in the Persian region slowly lost its top spot in the minds of the voters In one of the polls taken in November of2007, both Democratic and Republican voters from early primary states identified health care as the top issue they want to hear about from presidential candidates during the 2008 election campaign. In that survey the issue of health care eclipses other important national priorities such as Iraq illegal immigration the economy and terrorism / security issues according to voters from Iowa, New Hampshire South Carolina and Nevada. "30 With state primaries now in full swing the Gallup 2 8 Greene D. (4 June 2007). Democratic Presidential Debate Targets Iraq War N ation a l Public Radio. Retrieved from http: // www npr.or g/ t e mpl a t es / story / s tory.php ?s toryld = I 069 3 491 ; CNN (5 June 2007 ) CNN Liv e E ve nt / Sp eci al : R e publi c an Pr es id e ntial D e b a t e Retrieved fTom http : / / tr a n s cripts.cnn com / TRA N SCRI PT S / 0706 / 0 5 / se. O 1 .htm I 29 Garber, A. & Thoma s, R ( 15 Novemb e r 2007) Tension in Ol y mpi a as war protests escalate The S e attl e Time s Retrieved from http :// s e a ttletime s .nw s our ce. com / html /loc aln ews / 20040 15038 prot es t s 15m html 30 PRNewswire (6 November 2007) H e alth Car e T o p s I s su es Vot e r s in Earl y Prim ary Sta t e s W ant 2 00 8 Pr eside ntial Candidat e s to Addr ess Bi oM e di cine Retrieved fTom http: // w ww. bio medicin e .org / medicin e -n e w s-l / HealthCare Top s-Iss ues Vot e r s -in-Early -Primar y -St a t es Want-2008Pr eside nti a l-Candidat es -to-Address-566 2-1 I 33

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poll conducted in the middle of February indicated that "the percentage of Americans mentioning "the economy" as the most important problem facing the country has sharply increased since early January. Now, for the first time since March 2004 the Iraq war is not the No. I problem. The findings of the survey showed that some 34% of Americans mentioning "the economy" in general terms as the most important problem facing the country. That is nearly double the 18% who said this in January, and is the highest Gallup has measured since another 34% reading in February 2003 The last time a higher percentage of Americans gave this response was at the tail end of the first Bush presidenc y in December 1992 and January 1993. "3 1 As the primary season progressed towards its conclusion the issue of economy continued to be on top of the polling charts ln a survey conducted by ABC News/Washington from May 8-11 of200832, some 36% of the polled answered economy as their primary concern of the upcoming elections. The same poll also showed that Iraq was still very much on people s minds with 21% of those asked mentioning it as their top priority. Throughout primaries and despite contentious inter-party battle among the Democrats the electorate in polls after polls expressed its disapproval in Republican administration s handling of the economy. Furthermore, these surveys also showed that voters trusted Democrats more than Republicans on handling of the Economy. For instance the results of the April2008 Washington Post I ABC News Poll showed that just 28 percent of the public approved ofthe way the Republican administration of President Bush was 3 1 Jones J. M. (20 February 2008). Econom y Surpasses Iraq as Most Important Problem: First time in four years Iraq is not No. I. Gallup. http : // w w w.gallup com / poll / 1 0 4464/ E conom y -Surpa ss es-lrag Mo s t-lmportant Problem a s p x 32 Polling Report Inc. (2009). Probl e m s and Priorities. Retrieved from http: //www poll ingr e port com / prioriti .htm 34

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handling the economy while 70 percent disapproved .33 In the aftermath of the presidential primaries the voters continued to display their dissatisfaction with the current conditions in the country and their distrust in the Republican Party when it came to major policy issues. In sampling early summer polls it was found that voters showed substantial preference towards the Democrats on the major issues of economy health care and Iraq. In a Diageo/Hotline poll where people were asked "Whic h political party-the Democrats or the Republicansdo you think would do the best job handling? "34, the Democrats in general were favored by 54% to 24% on the issue of health care 54% to 28% on the issue of economy and 46% to 34% on the issue of Iraq. What's more, June 2008 Bloomberg I Los Angeles Times poll also found that "The Obama voters are much more energized and motivated to come out to vote than the McCain voters; McCain is still struggling to win over some of his core groups .. The good news for Obama is also that he seems to be doing better on the issue that is uppermost in voters' minds and that is the economy."3 5 Aside from the their statistical leads over Republi cans on the most important issues facing the country the Democrats enjoyed enormous advantages when it came to the overall voter excitement and campaign participation For example in July 2008 study conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship organization it was found that "32% of Democrats stated that the 2008 campaign was "exciting," as compared to 9% of Republicans and 14% of 33 Cohen, J. (15 April, 2008) On the Economy 70% Disapprove of Bush. The Washington Post Retrieved from http: // www. washingtonpost.corn/wpdyn / content / article / 2008 / 04 / 14/ A R200804140 2 842 html 34 Polling Report Inc. (2009) Probl e m s and Priorities. Retrieved from http: // www.pol lin greport com / prioriti.htm 35 Przybyla, H (25 June 2008). Obama Has 15-Point Lead as Voters Reject Republicans. Bloomb e rg. Retrieved from http : // www.b l oomberg.com / apps / news ? pid = washingtonstory&sid = agCTbSDJ83rc 35

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Independents."36 The study also revealed that overall large numbers of campaign contributors and large crowds at political rallies in 2008, combined with the comparatively high rates of participation found in our survey, suggest that this is a remarkably participatory election ... In short, many Americans are right now-talking and thinking about issues and personally taking action."37 In another July 2008 survey, conducted by USA Today I Gallup, the results revealed that there was a big 'Enthusiasm' gap between the Democrats and the Republicans. The poll showed that some 67 percent ofObama's supporters were "more excited than usual about voting" for their candidate, whereas just 31 percent of McCain's supporters said they were excited more than usual.38 In late summer and early fall, the Democrats continued to enjoy the advantage on the most important issues concerning the electorate. In a poll compiled by Rasmussen Reports, the generic congressional Democratic candidates were favored over generic congressional Republican candidates on most of the issues.39 With a month before the elections, the October 2008 Rasmussen poll40 showed Congressional Democrats being trusted with all the issues asked in the survey, including 51-38% with regards on economy, 54%-34% on healthcare, 53%-34% on education and even the former Republican strong points including handling of Iraq war-4 7%-42% and national security-4 7%-44%. On the presidential race side, the approval ratings for the Democrat Obama looked similar to his colleagues in the Senate, and 36 National Conference on Citizenship. (July 2008). The 2008 Campaign Is A Civic Opportunity : Who is Excited. Retrieved from http: // www.ncoc.net / index .php ?tray=co ntent&tid = top0&cid=206 37 Ibid http://www.ncoc.net/index.php?!Tay = content&tid = top0&cid=205 38 Mann J. (21 July 2008). 'Enthusiasm gap' runs for Obama. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2008 / POLITICS / 07 I 18/ enthusiasm / inde x.htm I 39Rasmussen Reports. (2008). Trust & Importance on Issues: August 2008. Retrieved from http://www.rasmussenreports com / public content/politics / issues2 / trust importance on issues august 2008 40 Rasmussen Reports (2008). Trust & Imp orta n ce on Issu es. Retrieved from http: // www.rasmussenreports.com / public content/politics / issues2 / trust importance on issues 36

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the same could be said for the Republican McCain. In the aftermath of the collapse of the global financial markets and McCain's rather poor job of handling it, the CNN poll showed 53%-39% lead for the Obama on the issues of managing of the financial crisis. The lead was even bigger for the Democrats on the issues of hand I ing of the economy + 16% and the healthcare-+20%.41 Additionally alongside the growing lead for Democratic on the most important issues facing the country, the polls continued to show growing Enthusiasm gap. In one of those surveys conducted by Gallup in October of2008, results revealed that "only 51% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in previous years compared to 71% of Democrats, marking a shift from October 2004, when enthusiasm was about the same for both partisan groups.',42 With just a few weeks before the general elections journalistic reports continued to show growing excitement and buildup to what appeared to be a historic in nature election Lester Holt of the NBC News, for instance reported that the long lines outside early voting locations around the are a testament to the excitement and passion this election has generated ." Dan Balz of the Washington Post summarized the upcoming 2008 Election Day as among the most anticipated as any in American history He wrote that Campaign 2008 has been the longest and costliest in U.S history, but it has been much more than just that. As it comes to an end, it's safe to say we might not see one like this again.',43 He went on to say that the campaign arguably set records for intensity and involvement as the electorate was as 41 Polling Report Inc (2008) Campaign 2008. Retrieved from http: //www. pollingreport com / wh08.htm 4 2 Newport F ( 13 October, 2008). Democrats' Election Enthusiasm Far Outweighs Republicans'. Gallup Retrieved from http :/ / www gallup.com /poll/lllll5/ Democrats-Eiection-Enthusiasm-far Outweighs-Republicans.aspx 43 Balz D. ( 4 November, 2008) At the End of an Extraordinary Ride The Washington Post Retrieved from http : // voices washingtonpo s t.com / 44 / 2 008 / I I / 04 / at the end of an extraordinary html 37

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engaged with the political process as ever. Balz attributed long lines at early voting location as a sign "of an electorate concerned about the problems the country faces but eager to be part of shaping whatever comes next. Young voters have played an important role. Enthusiasm among African American voters has been at historic levels. He concluded his analysis by saying that come November 4th, 2008 Americans will begin writing the next great chapter in the story of the nation. They will also put a final exclamation point on this remarkable campaign and everyone might miss it when it's gone As Obama put it, whatever happens it's been extraordinary. The election night culminated months and years of building tension within the electorate. The countless news accounts of raw emotions displayed by voters, on both side of the political aisle, proved that the 2008 elections were more than just typical once every four years political occurrence Los Angeles Times editorial described voters reactions on Obama s victory as complex and varied as America itself: elation shock doubt wonder and some hard feelings .'"'4 Carla Marinucci of San Francisco Chronicle, described the celebration scene in Grant Park in Chicago as one where myriad of emotions were at play. She noted that the location of the Obama s victory address to the nation was historic in its own right as forty years ago the site was scene of the 1968 Democratic convention when crowds of bloodied young anti-war protesters clashed with cops at Grant Park to the nation's horror, chanting, "The whole world is watching! "4 5 She remarked that four decades later, crowds of young voters gathered here peacefully this time to witness an event that again the whole world was 44 Los Angeles Times (6 November 2008) Elation, doubt s o n th e d ay aft e r Retrieved from http: / / arti c I es lati m es. co m/2008 / nov / 06 / nation / navo i ces6 45 Marinucci C. (5 November 2008) Chicago's Grant Park epicenter on historic day. The San Franci sc o Chronicle. Retrieved from http : // w w w .s fg ate. com / cgi bin / article.cgi ? file =/ c / a/2 008 / II / 05 / MNKO 13T64T DTL 38

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watching. The news of Obama's win sent the throngs into waves of joy, embracing and song.'.46 In retrospect the information that was presented in this chapter showed that enormous amount of the political tension was present leading up to the 2008 elections. Decades of arguably failin g Republican policies compounded by two wars rapidly collapsing economy and the historical nature ofObama' s campaign culminated into one of the most important events in the American history In many ways the First Motor claim for this electoral cycle mirrored and combined the features of the previous realignment periods especially from 1929-32 and 1965-68 when economic conditions and the escalating war contributed to the electoral realignment. 46 Ibid 39

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CHAPTER4 THE SECOND MOTOR V O. Key first noted potential linkage between realignments and long term voter allegiances to political parties in his 1952 work when he wrote that So cohesive were the bonds ofparty [after the Civil War] that for sixty years the country was normally Republican .. lt remained for a second catastrophe, the Great Depression to produce a major alternation in the pattern of partisan division within the voting population" (Mayhew, 2002 pg. 68). Sundquist also found that realignments featured long term or durable shifts in the distribution of basic attachments to the political parties. However he noted that in almost every election some minor shifts in the electorate even the ones that are long term, can be observed. That is why Sudquist along with other scholars later qualified the original definition to include notions of major and measurable' in conjunction with long term shifts in party identification that take place within the electorate during realignments (Sundquist 1983 pg. 7). In the end Sundquist defined relationship between party identification (support) and realignment as the one that reflects a change in the structure of the party conflict and hence the establishment of a new line of partisan cleavage on a different axis within the electorate" (Sundquist, 1983 pg. 14 ). From the standpoint of theory it is important to point out that Party Identification numbers do not necessarily represent a full picture of support for one political party or another. Prior to the realignment in the 1960s Party ID numbers were much easier to 40

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interpret because majority of the electorate voted consistently down the party line during presidential and congressional elections Meaning the electorate supported and voted for the presidential and congressional candidates from the same party Therefore if during the New Deal era the vast majority of the country identified itself with Democrats, that statistic represented a general mood of the majority of the electoratewhen Democrats were favored to the Republicans However, Stonecash showed that beginning with the 1948 Dixiecrat rebellion voters especially in the South began to split their support, when they voted for the Dixiecrat and later Republican candidates for president, but continued voting for Democratic congressional candidates (Stonecash, 2006 pg. I) Thus if these 'split-ticket voters were polled they might have identified themselves as Democrats but in fact they were probably leaning more towards Republicans. For that reason, when it comes to testing for realignments, it important to identify substantial swings in statistics when it comes to support for one party or another as oppose to slight variations in that category If we were to look at Party lD trends spanning five decades-from the 1950s to 2000s some conclusions can be made in relation to the realignment which occurred in the late 1960s after which the political pendulum swung towards conservatism. According to Stonecash, in the 1950s the Democrats enjoyed a 48.1% to 29 8% lead over the Republicans when it came to party ID. By the 1960s the party lD advantaged for the Democrats was even bigger 57 1% to 35:1%, which included the leaners-independent voters who lean towards one political party or another (Stonecash, 2006, pg. Ill). However the realignment in the mid to late 1960s was associated with several trends that were visible with changing party lD numbers The percentage of independent voters grew from 7.2% in the 1950s to 13.5% in the 1970s. What's more, the number of those 41

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identifying themselves as Democrats shrunk from 48.9% to 40.5% which represented the biggest decline in party ID representation in five decades (from 1950s-2000s). The number of voters who identified themselves as Democrats continued to decline all the way until the 2000s, with the overall percentage of Democratic Party lD dropping all the way down to 34.5%. While the decline of Democratic Party lD in five decades was 13 .6% the Republicans fared much better in category, as their core support declined by only 1.2% and stood at 28.6% (Stonecash, 2006). What's more the number of those leaning towards the Republican Party almost doubled in the span of fifty years, from 6.7% to 13% In the end, according to Stonecash, what used to be a sizable 22% lead for the Democrats over the Republicans in Party ID in the 1950s, shrunk to only 7.3% in the 2000s In polls, which conducted by the New York Times in cooperation with CBS News47 Stonecash's observations can be verified. As we can see from multiple graphs in Figure 4 1 in Appendix I A, from 1976 to the early 2000s, the Democrats' Party ID lead had shrunk from about +20% to just a few percentage points. The Democrats lost the most support from White voters and those from the South. Gallup which has also conducted Party ID polls since 1980s, has achieved results comparable to that of the New York Times I CBS News and Stonecash. In the chart presented in Figure 4 2 as seen below, we can see that the Republicans had gained percentage wise in Party ID from 1999 to 2004, with them taking a 32% to 31% lead in 2003. 47Connelly, M. (28 February 2009). Ailing G O.P Risks Losing a Generation The New York Times Retrieved from http: / / www nytimes.com / 2009 / 03 / 0 I / weekinreview / 0 I connelly.html ? r = I &scp= I &sg=connelly%200 301&st=cse 42

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Purty lclentificuticm Yeurly Average. Gull!lf Poll. 19H( '-::!OoH 'Republ i can mO< ntt ?,1 ,,.,, ) :11 1990 I 9 1 199 2000 ::!00:! ::! 0 1 ::!0 ) \LU l' Figure 4.2 Party Identification Yearly Averages, Gallup Polls 1988-2008 Source: Jones J. M. (23 January, 2009). Democrats' 2008 Advantage in Party ID Largest Since '83. Gallup Retrieved from http://www. gallup.com / poll/ I 1394 7 / Democrats-2008-Advantage-PartyLargestaspx Furthermore, as seen in Table 4 1 in Appendix 2A, from 1993 to 2002 the Republicans gained in Party ID within 41 states with the biggest gain in Utah, at +25%.48 Overall, by 2002, the GOP had far more states where it led in Party ID by 20+ percent when compared to the Democrats4 9 as seen in Figure 4.3 in Appendix 3A. In summary, thus far the data show that after the 1960s realignment the Democrats clearly lost support among the voters in three decades after the critical election of 1968. Their continuing, although rather slim advantage against the Republicans in Party ID can be 48 Jones, J M (7 January 2003). Special Report: State-by-State Analysis Reveals Republican Shift Gallup. Retrieved from http : // www.galluo.com / poll /7543/ Speciai-Report-StatebyState-Analysis Rev ea ls-Republican-Shift.asp x 4 9lbid. 43

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possible explained by the split-ticket voting phenomenon. That i s why the GOP won 7 out of I 0 presidential contests but the Democrats continued winning congressional majorities up until 1990s. Since then however the preceding chart shows that in the span of just four years the Republicans have lost 6 percentage points in Party 10 and now are at their level of 1999 support Additionally in a 2005 Gallup survey where State-by-State Party 10 was polled, as seen in Table 4.2. in Appendix 4A the GOP had the advantage in only 15 states with most of them being in the South-the Republican stronghold50. In 2006 the Democrats have gained in Party 10 even more with them leading the Republicans in all but 7 states5 1 as shown in Table 4.3 in Appendix SA. Overall the 8% lead the Democrats have had in 2008 over the Republicans represented the largest margin within this Gallup survey. Moreover in another Gallup poll conducted in the first quarter of2009, the Democratic lead over the Republicans has grown to 13% (52%-29%) if leaners are included52, as seen in Figure 4.4 in Appendix 6A Lastly the Democratic lead in Party 10 over the GOP within the various generational groups is quite sizable as of200953, as presented in Figure 4.5 in Appendix 7 A In conclusion data show that from the mid 2000s there was a substantial reversal in the trend Party ill trend with the Republicans losing much of the gains they had made in that 50 Jone s, J M (23 January 2006) Special Report : Many States Shift Democratic During 2005. Gallup. Retrieved from http: // www gallup.com / poll / 2 1 004 / Speciai-R e port-Many-Stat es -Shift-Democratic During2 005 asp x 51 Jones J. M (30 January 2007) Democratic Edge in Partisanship in 2006 Evident at National, State Levels. Gallup Retrieved from htto :// www gallup com / poii / 2 6308 / Democratic-Edge-Parti s anship2006-Evident-Nationai-State-Levels asp x 52 Jones J M. (30 April 2009) Democrats Maintain Seven-Point Advantage in Party 10. Gallup. Retrieved from http : // www gallup.com / poll / I 18084 / Democr a t s -M a intain-Seven-Point-Advantage Partv a s p x 53 Newport Frank. (8 May 2 009) Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers Gallup. Retrieved from http : // www gallup cornlpoii / 118285 / Democrat s -Best-Among-Generation Bab y -Boomers.a s px ? CSTS =ale rt 44

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particular category in the preceding three decades. From these charts we can see that by 2008 the Democrats enjo y ed a + I 0% advantage in overall Party ID they have a 5% lead over the Republicans among Men,+ 16% among Women + 14% among the 18-29 year olds + 3% among the Southerners and even a slight lead among White voters. The currently continuing trends also show that the Democrats are poised to gain even more in that particular category thus bringing it close to the long term durability part of the Sundquist s theory. With that, based on the presented material in this chapter is' it fair to conclude that major and measurable changes in Party ID took place during the alleged realignment period between 2004-2008 thus confirming theoretical notion of Sundquist for the Second Motor claim of the realignment theory 45

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CHAPTER 5 VOTER TURNOUT According to V.O. Key and Burnham the concerns ofthe electorate and the subsequent voter turnout during realignments and critical elections are abnormally high Election statistics for almost all critical elections of the 19t h and 20th century have shown a pattern of increased voter participation during those significant junctures in the U S history. For instance, according to Mayhew and as shown in Figure I B the critical elections of 1860 and 1896 were one of the highest in their respective time period in terms of the voter turnout. During the Lincoln election of the 1860 some 81.2% of eligible voters cast their ballots, while 79.3% of the voters participated in 1896 elections (Mayhew 2002 pg. 73). Although the 56 9% participation level for the 1932 elections was relatively low the chart in Figure 5.1 in Appendix IB shows that this statistic represented an end of a rather steep decline in the voter turnout trend that started right after 1896 elections V .0. Key also pointed out that that the largest turnout increase came from the contingent of new voters, which in turn voted heavily for the FOR and the Democratic Congress Key wrote that the Democrats gained the allegiance of persons who had not been enough concerned with public affairs to vote and of persons coming to voting age (Gamm 1990, pg. 13). Key noted that the new Democratic coalition began to form as early as 1928 with many other new voters became electorally active in the 1930s. He also suggested that this new political force which consisted of industrial and urban workers as well as immigrants became in effect a steady base of potential Democrats (Gamm 1990 pg 13) Some thirty six years later as seen in Figure 46

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7B, the 60.8% voter turnout in the 1968 elections represented the highest watermark in terms of the turnout percentage for the next 40 years ln the 2008 elections, however that 1968 number was finally trampled, with the latest reported voter turnout statistics showing it to be at 61. 7%.54 ln other words critical elections (including the critical election candidate of2008) also posted significantly higher turnout levels than other elections around the same time Even before the 2008 elections took place voter registration/participation levels were trending upwards and in way that benefitted the Democrats As reported by the United States Election Project (USEP)55 between 2002 and 2004 there was a 7.4% increase in the voter registration numbers Then between the 2006 and 2008 voter registration numbers trended upwards again which was primarily associated with the heightened interest in the 2008 presidential primaries. Overall the numbers from the above-mentioned election project indicate that in 2008, there was a total increase of 5.4% in registration over 2004 from 177.4 million to 187.0 million registrants also seen in Table 5 1 in Appendix 2B Furthermore partisan affiliation numbers from the twenty-nine states that have voter registration by the political party as displayed in Tables 5.2 and 5.3 in Appendixes 3B and 4B suggest that the national increase came primarily from Independents and Democrats. Among these twenty-nine states, the number of registrants identifYing with the Democratic Party increased I 0.8% compared to 0 5% for Republicans and 12. 0% for independents" (United States Election Project 2009) What s more it appears that the biggest increases took 5 4 Reader should note that the discrepancy between the 2008 elections voter turnout numbers in Tables 5.4 and 5 5 in Appendixes 58 and 68 can be explained by the fact that the statistics in 68 were preliminary and thus less exact as opposed to those used in Figure 58, where they were computed using the latest turnout data. 5 5 McDonald M (6 March 2009) 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics Unit e d Stat e s Elections Proje ct. Retrieved from http: // elections.gmu edu / Registration 2 008G html 47

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place in those states that were vital in determining the outcome of the Democratic Party presidential primaries such as Iowa New Hampshire Nevada and North Carolina. The increase in voter registration that clearly favored the Democrats during the 2008 primaries played itself out similarly during the general elections. As seen in Tables 5.4 and 5.5 in Appendixes 5B and 6B and as explained on the USEP website The largest turnout rate increases from 2004 were experienced in states that shifted onto the battleground, such as Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia Other non-battleground Southern states such as Alabama, Georgia Mississippi and South Carolina (and the District of Columbia) experienced turnout increases perhaps a consequence of high turnout among AfricanAmericans excited to vote for president-elect Obama Turnout declines in deep red states such as Alaska and Utah may reflect less enthusiasm among Republicans for Sen McCain. "56 A report released by American University s Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE) confirmed the USEP findings as well as e x plained the reasoning behind the rather modest increase in voter turnout of just 1 6% over 2004 elections when by many estimates the turnout was suppose to be a lot higher According to CSAE the small increase in overall voter participation can be largely attributed to the lower turnout among the Republican voters The report stated that the percentage of eligible citizens voting Republican declined to 28.7 percent down 1.3 percentage points from 2004 Democratic turnout increased by 2.6 percentage points from 28.7 percent of eligibles to 31.3 percent. It 56 McDonald M. (12 March 2009) 2008 Unofficial Voter Turnout. Unit e d St a tes El ec ti o n s Proj ect. Retrieved from http : // election s g mu .e du / p re lim i nary vot e 2 008 html 48

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was the seventh straight increase in the Democratic share of the eligible vote since the party's share dropped to 22.7 percent of eligibles in 1980."5 7 In terms of specific demographic groups, voter turnout statistics for the 2008 elections showed some mixed results. In one report conducted by the Census Bureau, data showed that 18 to 24 voters were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004."58 Tom Edwards an analyst for the U.S. Census Bureau, noted that among that particular group of the electorate "African Americans had one the highest turnout rates-at 55 percent which represented an 8 percent increase from 2004"59 Overall, if compared with the election in 2000, the increase in youth voter turnout in 2008 was around II percent.60 According to another study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was found that "nearly one-fourth of voters in last November's election were minorities, the most diverse election ever fueled by high turnout from black women and a growing Hispanic population, an independent research group found."61 The study revealed that the increased participation among African Americans was highest in more than a decade, with 15.9 million casted ballots w hich represented 12.1 percent of the electorate. In comparison the overall voting share of African Americans voters 57 Gans, C., & Hussey, J (6 November, 2008). Much-hyped Turnout Record Fails to Materialize Convenience Voting Fails to Boost Balloting. American University. Retrieved from http:/ /i2 .cdn. turner.corn/cnn/2008 /images/ I I /06/pd f.gansre08turnout.au .pd f 58 Edwards, T. (20 July 2009) Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election, U.S. Census Bureau Reports. Data Show Significant Increases Among Hispanic, Black and Young Voters. U.S. Census Bureau Retrieved from http:// www.census.gov / Press-Release/www/re leases/arc h i ves/voti ng/0 13 99 5 htm I 59 ibid. 60 The Center fqr Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement staff ( 19 December 2008). Young Voters in th e 2008 Pr eside ntial Ele c tion. Retrieved from http://www. civicyouth.org/PopUps /FactSheets/FS 08 exit polls.pdf 61 Hope Y. (30 April 2009). Blacks match whites in voting rates in 2008. Associated Press Retrieved from http://www .newsvine.com/ news/2009/04/3 0 /27 55 812-blacks-match-wh ites-in-voting-rates-in2008 49

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previously declined to II percent in 2004 after their low turnout in George W. Bush's reelection The report explained that the dramatic gains Hispanics made in their voting share can be attributed for the most part due to their fast growing population In 2008 elections, roughly 9 7 million or about half of the eligible Hispanics casted their ballots. That represented an overall total of about 7.4 percent ofthe total electorate-ajump from 6 percent in 2004 .62 Having said that the historic by nature increase in turnout among certain demographic groups was offset by a rather stagnant participation and decreased turnout among other groups in turn causing overall voter turnout increase to be rather modest in 2008 elections In CSAE report it was pointed out that many election turnout prognosticators failed to realize that the excitement in re-electing their candidate which was present for the Republicans in 2004 was not there for them in 2008 and thus many mistakenly assumed that the GOP turnout would stay at the similar level as four year s earlier. Curtis Gans CSAE s director, stated that "we failed to realize that the registration increase was driven by Democratic and independent registration and that the long lines at the polls were mostly populated by Democrats. "63 In fact the percentage of older white voters who participated in 2008 elections decreased as that group of the electorate showed lack of interest in backing either Barack Obama or John McCain .64 Overall at the time of the publication of the CSAE s report of the 4 7 states and the District of Columbia, the turnout numbers increased in 22 62 Ibid 63 Gans C., & Hussey J. (6 November 2008). Much-hyped Turnout Record Fails to Materialize. Convenience Votin g Fails to Boost Balloting Am e ri c an U niv e r s ity Retrieved from http: //i2 cdn. tumer.com/cn n/ 2008 / ima g e s / I I / 06 / pdf.gan s re08tum o ut.au.pdf 64 Yen H. (20 July 2009) Voting rate dips in 2008 as older whites stay home. The S e attl e Times Retrieved from http : // se a ttletimes nw s ource.com / htm I/ pol itic s / 2 009 504295 apu s votertumout.htm I 50

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states and D.C and even these numbers were depressed by the low turnout and the loss of voters within the GOP. In summary, voter turnout statistics of the 2008 elections showed mixed results when tested for the Mayhew s realignment claim of sharp increase in participation during realignments. Although the rather modest growth in the voting participation of the whole electorate certainly did not match the original theoretical claim ofV.O. Key and Burnham, these results need to be considered in a different context. The sharpest increased in participation in 2008 was witnessed among the fastest growing group of the electorate-the 18-29 voters and the ethnic minorities The ability of Barack Obama s campaign to capture over two thirds of that electorate went a long way in helping him win the presidency Of course it is important not to overlook the ways in which he captured those two voting blocs. He attracted them because in many ways he resembles them His youthful appearance, ability of his campaign to communicate his message and get out to vote drive via new electronic media such as Internet and Text Messaging, and etc. as well as his ethnic minority status and therefore his ability to relate to the issues of minorities went a long way in securing a great majority of votes from that portion of the electorate From a historic perspective the current alliance of the Democratic Party with a voting bloc of young voters and minorities resembles in many ways the 1932 alliance of the new voters FOR has assembled and which lasted for over three decades. Due to the recent statistics showing that by 2042, this country will become Minority-Majority in terms of its population65, that fact bodes well for the 65 Aizenman, N.C. (14 August 2008). U.S to Grow Grayer More Diverse Minorities Will Be Majority by 2042 Census Bureau Says. The Was hington Post Retrieved from http : // www. washingtonpo s t.com / wp-dyn / conten t/ article / 2 008 / 08 / 13/ AR20080813035 ? 4 html 51

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Democratic Party and its future success at least as things currently stands in terms of its support for the policies which are favored by these rapidly growing voting groups. 52

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CHAPTER 6 TURMOIL DURING PARTY CONVENTIONS The theoretical link between critical elections and the turmoil associated with the nomination process during each political party s conventions has to do with a potential situation where some deep factional divisions within a political party can lead to a possibility of either a temporary or a permanent collapse ofthe party's governing coalition and thus can lead to a loss in the following elections. The theory also alleges that these types of contentious conventions usually take place during preceding realigning periods and quite often in a year corresponding to critical elections. Mayhew wrote that according to Burnham, the intensity surrounding critical elections typically spills over into the party nominating and platform-writing machinery duri ng the upheaval and results in major shifts in convention behavior. .. Ordinarily accepted rules of the game are flouted ; the party s processes instead of performing their usual integrative functions, themse l ves contribute to polarization" (Mayhew 2002 pg. 21 ) Prior history of critical elections shows that in 1824 as mentioned in chapter 2 of this thesis the Democratic-Republican Party essential l y splintered during the nomination process into four different parts with John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson leading two biggest factions. After the split Jackson's wing of the party formed a new political entity-the Democratic Party. In 1860 the Democratic Party broke up into two competing factions again 53

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northern and southern, with both groups nominating their own candidates for President (Mayhew 2002 pg 75) The divide among the Democrats along the lines of slavery allowed the Republican Party and its candidate Abraham Lincoln to win the presidency ushering in an electoral realignment. Furthermore in 1896 as Mayhew pointed out the clash among the Democrats over differences of Gold vs. Silver and how to treat them in the political platform splintered that party again with over 160 party delegates refusing to vote for nomination of William Jennings Bryan (Mayhew 2002 pg 76) The interparty fight and the inability of the Democrats to come up with a cohesive party platform once again allowed the Republicans to win this time in 1896 a classic realigning election The most recent example of turmoil during a party convention coinciding with a critical election was in 1968. In that year, the presidential nomination process for the candidates of the two major political parties was rather dramatic. Republican Richard Nixon, although not without a challenge from governors Ronald Reagan from California and Nelson Rockefeller from New York got nominated as a GOP presidential candidate for the 1968 elections on the first ballot after he struck a deal with some of the more conservative state delegates from the south (Paulson 2000 pg 102-103) On the other hand the Democratic Party convention turned out to be an utter disaster. Rioting between the police and the anti war peace protesters in the host city of Chicago "spilled into the Democratic convention adding to a polarization that kept Eugene McCarty the losing candidate from endorsing the winner Hubert Humphrey until late in the campaign (Mayhew 2002 pg. 76) The polarization inside the convention hallways and outside deeply divided the Democrats as the elections approached. Haynes Jones in an article for Smithsonian magazine wrote that negative developments associated with the 1968 Democratic convention had long-term 54

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political consequences it eclipsed any other such convention in American history destroying faith in politicians in the political system in the country and in its institutions. "66 Forty years later the neck-and-neck race for the Democratic Party nomination for President between Senators Obama and Clinton prompted many predictions e s pecially from political pundits and some media outlets about the possibility of the so called floor fight during the 2008 Democratic National Con:vention which took place in late August in Denver. Justin Ewers a columnist for U.S News and World Report wrote in the midst of the Democratic Party primaries it was becoming increasingly likely that barring compromise the party's Super Delegates -elected officials and party leaders who aren't bound by the choices of primary voters-will decide the winner. Not surprisingly this has caused an epidemic of hand-wringing among political experts who worry that this state of affairs is dangerously similar to 1968 when a furious battle within the Democratic Party over two popular candidates Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey spilled from the Democratic National Convention onto the streets of Chicago ."67 As the race for the nomination progressed towards its conclusion the rhetoric from both campaigns became more hostile towards each other. Racial undertones were heard on the campaign trail. A divide between various demographics within the Democratic electorate became clearly visible Perhaps one the clearest examples indicative of these divisions was witnessed at the June I st 2008 Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws meeting 66 Johnson H (August 2008). 1968 Democratic Convention The Bosses Strike Back. The Smith so nian. Retrieved from http ://www.s m ith so nianmag .c om / hi story -archaeology / 1968-democr a tic conv e ntion.html 67 Ewers J (20 March 2008) Clinton-Obama Delegate Fight: A Repeat of 1968 Convention? Some historians say the contest more closely resembles Kenned y -Stevenson in 1960. U.S N e ws and World R e port Retrieved from http ://w w w u s n e ws com / a rticle s / news /campaign-2008/2008/ 03 / 20 / are the-democrats-playing-th e -1968-conventiona ll-overa gain p r int.htm 55

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where the fate of convention delegates from Michigan and Florida was being decided. With both states being denied voting representation at the convention for holding early primaries (against the Democratic Party's scheduling rules) Senator Clinton s wins in both states were essentially null and void Her only chance to wrestle the nomination away from Senator Obama was to get a full number of delegates from those two states in her win column. When that request was denied one of Clinton s supportersHarriet Christian -stood up and uttered the following :68 I m proud to be an older American woman .. .. The Democrats are throwing the election away For what? An inadequate black male who would not have been running had it not been a white woman that was running for president? And I'm not gonna shut my mouth anymore. I can be called white but you can t be called black. That's not my America. It s equality for all of us. It s about time we all stood up for it. "I'm no second class citizen and God damn the Democrats .... I came here for the vote of every American, and our Democratic Party threw us down the tubes I was a second class citizen before now I m nothing Why? Because they want to do what they want to do And they think we won t turn and vote for McCain. Well I got news for all of you: McCain will be the next president of the United States (Retter 2008) This particular quote perhaps serves as a best illustration of the remaining deep seated animosity that still remained within the Democratic Party after contentious primaries Harriet 6 8 Retter D (2 June 2008). Campai g n Work e r s Rant is a Dis grace The N ew Y o rk P os t R e trieved from http : // w ww.n y po s t.com / seve n / 060 22 008 / n ews / n a tion alnews / ca mp a i g n w ork e r s r a nt i s a dis g r a c e 113 5 2 1.htm 56

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Christian represented, in a way, a contingent of older white Americans who were uncomfortable with Barack Obama's coalition of young and ethnic voters. With the primary season about to end, it was clear that neither Obama nor Clinton would gain enough pledged convention delegates to win the Democratic nomination outright, although Senator Obama held a small but solid lead among those pledged delegates.69 Mindful ofthe events of forty years ago, when the party leaders handpicked the presidential nominee and thus made the vote of the people in the 1968 primaries irrelevant, many leaders of the Democratic Party in 2008 wanted to make sure that the super delegates-i.e party leaders, did not go against the will of the primary voters. Katherine Sibley, a professor at St. Joseph s University in Pennsylvania, told America.gov website that there was a sense that the super delegates if they had gone for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama when the popular vote, even though it was close, was leaning the other way, would have really led to a sense of alienation or even "added an element of illegitimacy" to Clinton's candidacy.70 Fearing a potentially disastrous situation where a nomination fight on the "floor" of the convention could take place, the leaders of the Democratic Party released a statement urging any uncommitted super delegates to declare their choice for the party s nomination by 6 9 Super Delegates-are representatives to the Democratic Party convention and who comprise nearly 40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. Unlike regular convention delegates who are essentially selected by the voters during the Democratic Party primaries, Super Delegates are comprised by the Democratic Party elected officials such as governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter former vice president AI Gore, retired congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt and all Democratic National Committee members, some of whom are appointed by the party chairman. Source: Curry, Tom. (26 April, 2007). What role for Democratic 'super-delegates'? MSNBC. Retrieved from http://www msnbc.msn.com / id/18277678 / 7 Kaufman S. ( 4 August, 2008). Memories of 1968 Democratic Convention Resonate in 2008. Protest alienation at Chicago meeting changed party s nomination process. The U.S. Department of State. Retrieved from http :/ / www.america gov / s t/ usg english / 2008 / August/20080804185251esnamfuak0 1775171 html 57

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the end of the primary season. In the same statement, Howard Dean chairman of the Democratic National Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Democratic Governors Assn., also urged Hillary Clinton to officially drop out of the race after she refused to concede the defeat following the conclusion of the primaries, at which point Barack Obama had gained enough pledged and super delegates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.71 With intense pressure mounting on her to concede the race, Senator Clinton did just that on June 7'h, 2008 by officially suspending her campaign. However, she decided not to release her delegates to vote for Barack Obama thereby leaving a slight opening for herself that if something were to happen to her Democratic opponent she would be next in line for the nomination. That move, however, once again prompted many pundits in the media to speculate of the potential nomination fight during the convention. Further complicating issues for the Democrats who wanted to show a united front and have trouble-free convention in Denver, were several organizations, such as Recreate 68, whose purpose was to recreate antiwar demonstrations that took place forty years ago in Chicago. The fear of a repeat of violence prompted calls for increased law enforcement presence during the Democratic National Convention (DNC).72 71 Malcolm, A. (4 June 2008). Dean Pelosi Reid set Friday deadline for superdelegates' choices, move to force end to Clinton bid The Los Angeles Times Retrieved from http: / / lati mesb logs.lati me s .com / wash i ngton / 2008 / 06 / dean-p e los i-rei. htm I 72 Kopel D (3 May, 2008) KOPEL: Barr Limbaugh go too far Radio hosts talk of riots in Denver. The Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved from http: // www rockymountainnews.com / news / 2008 / may / 03/kopel-barr-limbaugh-go-too-far / ; Sprengelmeyer, M.E. (II August, 2008). Tom Hayden, Chicago 1968. The New Left leader from four decades ago thinks Denver should be skeptical of federal authorities' warnings about violent protest. The Rocky Mountain News Retrieved from 58

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When the DNC finally took place the fears of the repeat of 1968 were never realized for the Democrats Both Barack Obama and his vice-presidential pick Joe Biden were elected as their party nominees by acclamation73, delegates from Florida and Michigan got full voting rights at the convention74 the speeches by Bill75 and Hillary76 Clinton were well delivered and were greatly received by the viewing public and which helped sooth primary battle wounds".77 Violence on the streets of Denver was almost non-existent. Although minor skirmishes took place between some demonstrators and the police, the overwhelming presence of the law enforcement officers prevented any possible escalations in 78 Overall the DNC of2008 perceived as successful in unifying the Democrats for the upcoming general election ca. mpaign .79 On the Republican end, Arizona Senator John McCain had essentially wrapped up his nomination by late February of2009, when most of his biggest rivals dropped out ofthe race. However the GOP candidate still faced potential trouble at the convention if he were to choose a Vice-Presidential running mate who was pro-choice. As reported by Jan Crawford http: // www .rocky mountai nnew s .com / new s / 2008 / aug/ 11 / oftic ia l s-press i ng-the-pan ic-button-begets says / 73 Huffington Post Editorial. (27 August, 2008). Obama Nominated By Acclamation, Accepts Nomination. Retrieved from http: // www.huffingtonpost.com / 2008 / 08 / 27 / obama-nominated-by acclam n 121934 html 74 Weisman J (24 August 2008). Michi ga n and Florida Dele ga tions Regain Full Convention Voting Rights. The Washington Po st. Retrieved from http : / / voices. wash ingtonpost.com / 44 / 2008 / 08 / 24 / mich igan a nd florida delegatio.htm I 75 Webb, J. (28 August 2008). Bill Clinton hails Barack Obama. BBC News. Retrieved from http: // news.bbc.co uk/2/h ilamer icas /75 84307 stm 76 Jones J M (28 August 2008) Hillary Clinton's Speech Well-Received. Gallup. http : // www .gall up .com/ poll! I 09909/H i llary-CI i ntons-SpeechWell Recei ved.aspx 77 Cillizza, C. (28 August 2008). Convention Cheat Sheet: Unity! The Washington Post. Retrieved from http: / I voices washington post. com / thefi x / convention-cheat -sheet/ convention-cheat-sheet-day3 html 78 Litwin, M. (25 August 2008). I went to a protest and a festival broke out. The R ocky Mountain News. Retrieved from http ://www rockymountainnew s.com / ne ws / 2008 / aug/25 / protest-festival-littwin / 79 Springston J (31 August 2008). Democrats Unify at Party's 2008 National Convention. The Atlanta Progressiv e News. Retrieved from http :// www atlantaprogressivenews com / news / 0370.html 59

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Greenburg of ABC News, with a few days before the announcement of the VP pick, a revolt was brewing "among anti-abortion activists in his conservative base that could include a walkout at the Republican National Convention next week and a huge battle on the floor-especially if he selects former-Democrat-turned-Independent Joe Lieberman. "80 The ABC reporter went on to say that aside from the possibility of a brawl on the convention floor major conservative donors who have planned to bankroll issue-oriented advertising and other grass-roots efforts directed at social conservatives are putting their work on hold and will withdraw financial support if McCain picks a running mate that is not strongly antiabortion. The same article quoted one conservative strategist who characterized the proposition of an abortion rights VP pick as a "disaster" for the Republican Party and said selecting Lieberman would cost McCain the election. It would enrage conservatives and prompt some Republicans to shift support to libertarian candidate Bob Barr." McCain s eventual pick of Alaska s Governor Sarah Palin for the Vice-Presidential nominee essentially slammed the door to any potential delegate walkouts or convention floor fights. As reported by Mark Halperin of Time Magazine the pick created excitement among the kind of grassroots conservatives who have never been enthusiastic about McCain and in the media, which will be fascinated by Palin's good looks .. intelligence and charm ."8 1 In his later article describing Palin's acceptance speech as VP nominee She rocked the hall (and likely the country) with a tough conservative message steely offense, glowing optimism and 8 Crawford-Greenburg J (28 August 2008). McCain Risks Alienating Conservative Base With VP Choice ABC News. Retrieved from http ://www.abcnews.go.com / print ? id = 5677195 81 Halperin M. (29 August 2008). The Palin Pick : Bold or Disastrous ? TIME Magazine. Retrieved from http ://www.time.com / time / politic s / article / 0,8599, 1837514,00 html 60

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boundless charisma The start of something truly big-or the best night of her candidacy. "82 As was the case with the Democrats the Republican Party showcased its unity and the excitement surrounding the selection of Sarah Palin almost completely overshadowed the recently concluded DNC. In retrospect both political parties avoided potential disasters that could have crippled the general election campaigns for the respective candidates On the Democratic side the primaries have e x posed an undeniable conflict between the so called Old Guard and New Guard of the Democratic Party. The Old Guard led by Senator Clinton was mostly represented by the traditional or old fashion Democrats, who are white more conservative and in some ways less diverse The New Guard was represented by Senator Obama and his organized forces of youth diversity and ethnicity. The interparty fight that Democrats have experienced represented more or less a generational fight and a transition between from the ways of the Old Guard to the New Guard something that I will discuss more in detail in chapter 8 ofthis thesis. The conflict could have escalated if Senator Clinton chose to push her nomination case to the convention floor thereby potentially triggering a point of no repair and thus would present a difficult situation for either candidate to win in the general election. On the opposite end ofthe political spectrum the campaign for the ideological purity has already forced many of the more moderate Republicans those more tolerant to Abortion and Gay marriage to abandon the party The GOP convention which took place in St. Paul, 82 Halperin M. (3 September 2008). Scorecard : Second-Night Speeches TIME Ma g a z ine. Retrieved from http : // www. time com / tim e / s p ecia l s / p a ck a g es / a rt icle / 0 28804, 183 8 223 1838 561 183 8560,00.html 61

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Minnesota, was one of the least diverse conventions in Republican history .83 So in essence the Republican Party, for all intent and purposes already had its own Civil War before the primaries and the convention took place, from the standpoint that its social and economic conservative policies led the party to shrink in its size to the point where it cannot become a majority governing coalition Therefore, the relatively uneventful Republican primaries and convention signified that the ideological purification has been complete. With that said from the theoretical standpoint Mayhew s notion (via Burnham) of party convention turmoil being a key harbinger of realignment in many ways realized itself although perhaps not in the strictest theoretical sense. There was no repeat of 1968, when Democrats fought on the convention floor. That can be explained by the new party nomination and convention rules, especially on the Democratic side, which were specifically designed to avoid potential interparty fights in the future. Therefore conventions are now considered more or less as exhibitions where party nominees are already chosen and most of the events taking place during the conventions are considered as formalities. However, it is undeniable that interparty changes that have been described in this chapter signify the essence of realignment meaning the deep rooted changes within parties took place. 8 3 Saslow E., & Barnes, R. (4 September, 2008) In a More Diverse America A Mostly White Convention. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http : // www washingtonpost.com / wp dyn / content / artic le/ 2 008 / 09 /03/ AR20080903 0 3 962 pf. htm I. 62

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CHAPTER 7 PERFORMANCE OF THIRD PARTIES The basic concept behind the theoretical relationship between the performance(s) of the third parties and realignment is that for one reason or another good showings by third parties tend to stimulate or at least to take place shortly before realignments (Mayhew 2002 pg. 21 ). James L. Sundquist a major contributor to this particular section of the realignment theory conceptualized it b y saying that the existing major political parties tend to straddle or become noncommittal on a big political issue whatever it might be. The vague response on issues by political parties or particular politicians within those parties tends to happen for multiple reasons Most of the time though the elected officials especially those who are fighting for their reelection do not want to upset some of the bigger contributors who tend to be affected one way or another by the big political issues that take place in Washington. The ambiguous appearance of politicians in turn forces radicals from one or both political spectrums to s tart advocating the organization of a new political party (or joining an existing third party) as a way of achieving the changes in policies they are seeking These radicals tend to argue that one major party is a s bad as the other and both are hopeless as instruments of action. The established politicians continue to urge working through one or both existing parties. But if neither party embraces the issue and it continues to grow in power sooner or later a third party i s formed (Sundquist 1983 pg 313) 63

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Burnham, for his part distinguished two basic types of third-party activity within realignment theory. He characterized the first one as a major-party bolt which, organizationally and at the mass base detaches the most acutely disaffected parts of a major party s coalition (Burnham 1970 pg. 27). For Burnham, this type of inter-party rebellion is more durable because the insurgent coalition in many instances plays a major role in the current party and then due to circumstances leaves it for good and joins the third party. The second type of a third-party activity is less durable and is more of a protest type of a movement which, according to Burnham may have a broad appeal for a short time and is usually made up of a group of electorate that are not prominent in either major party establishment and which draws mass support cutting across pre-existing party lines (Burnham 1970 pg. 28) Additionally Burnham theorized that these third-party movements often occur "as early as the midpoint of a party system ... and figure as protorealignment phenomena in [the] model of tension buildup" (Mayhew, 2002 pg. 22) The recent history of realigning periods shows that the relatively successful campaigns of Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace in 1968 represented a hybrid movement as it contained both types of the third party activity per Burnham s theory. The rebellion of the Southern Democrats in the 1948 presidential elections unhappy with their party over the Civil Rights movement led to a situation when a majority of the Democratic electorate in that geographic region voted for a third party bid by Dixiecrat Thurmond At the time this protest vote was considered temporary as this particular group of voters came back into the Democratic fold for the presidential elections from 1952 through 1964 However this temporary rebellion was actually a sign of things to come as this Southern Democratic electorate eventually bolted the national party (at least on the presidential level for the next 64

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several decades) permanently. The critical election of 1968 represented a decisive point in American history as the Southern Democrats, who voted for the third party campaign of segregationist George Wallace in big numbers, with him capturing over 9.9 million in popular vote count and 46 electoral votes84, eventually aligned themselves with the GOP, starting with the 1972 presidential elections. More recently, three relatively successful third-party presidential runs have taken place in the last 16 years. In 1992, Ross Perot ran as a fiscal conservative, strong on law-andorder, but also as socially liberal believing in woman's right to choose, and a religious-right bashing candidate. 85 In that election, Perot was able to garner close to 20 million votes, which translated into almost 19% of the popular vote8 6 -the highest numbers for the thirdparty candidate since the 1968 e l ection. His party followers were mainly made up of moderate 18-44, middle-class voters, who were disaffected by both major political parties.87 While still debatable within the Political Science community but by many estimations according to Peter W Schramm, "the vast majority of those who voted for Ross Perot would have voted for the Republican nominee if Perot were not running. Although in public the Democratic Party claims to be worried about Perot, and their inability to woo Perot supporters I believe that they privately acknowledge the fact that without Perot running in 84 Leip, D Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Pres idential Elections. 1968 Presidential General Election Results. Retrieved from http: // uselectionatlas .org/ RESUL TS / national.php?year = I 968&f=O&off=O&elect = O 85 Holmes, S. A. (5 November I 992). The 1992 Elections: DisappointmentNews Analysis An Eccentric but No Joke ; Perot's Strong Showing Raises Questions On What Might Have Been, and Might Be. The New York Times. Retrieved from http :// www.nytimes .com/1992/ll / 05 /us/ 1992elections-disappointment-analysis-eccentric-but-no-joke-perot-s-strong.html 86 Leip, D. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S Presidential Elections 1992 Presid e ntial General Election Results. Retrieved from http : // uselectionatlas org/RESUL TS / national.php ?yea r = 1992&f=O&of f= O&elect = O 87 Spicer, D E. (14 March 1997) The Perot Vote. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University. Retrieved from http : // www.hks.harvard edu / case/3ptlperot vote.html 65

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'92, Clinton would not be President." 88 In subsequent mid-terms in 1994 and in presidential elections in 1996, a big number ofthe Perot voters started to migrate back to the GOP .89 His vote totals in the 1996 presidential elections were less than half of what they were just four years before that.90 While in the 1992 and 1996 elections, the third-party challenger Perot debatably played a spoiler role to the GOP and arguably cost them at least one of the two presidential elections in the year 2000 that role was played by Ralph Nader of the Green Party, who harmed the Democrats. 91 Although various analyses of that election offer several different explanations for George W. Bush's victory in the presidential race against AI Gore in 2000, one of the main ones still remains Ralph Nader's third-party campaign, especially in the battle-ground states of Florida and New Hampshire. In Florida, with the presidential election in that state decided by 53 7 votes, Herron and Lewis argued that out of the ninety two thousand plus votes the liberal candidate Nader received, in his absence, a sufficient number of his supporters would have voted for Gore and thus would have reversed the election outcome not only in Florida but also for the entire nation. The same can be said about New 88 Schramm P. W (July 1993) Clinton Perot and Chaos. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University Retrieved from http: // www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin / v I n2/ schramm.html 89 Luntz, F (4 March 2007). Fixing the GOP. Republicans must reach out to the 'fed-ups,' independents who hold the balance of political power. The San Di ego Union-Tribune. http: // www.signonsandiego.com / uniontrib / 20070304 /news mz I e4fixing.htm I 90 Leip, D Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presid e ntial El ec tions. I 996 Presidential General Election Results. Retrieved from http:// uselectionatlas org/RESUL TS/ national php?year = 1996&off=O&elect=O&f=O 91 Herron M. C., & Lewis J B. (24 April 2006). Did Ralph Nader Spoil a Gore Presidency ? A Ballot-Lev e l Study of Green and R eform Party Voters in th e 2000 Pr esi d e ntial Election. Retrieved from http: //www sscnet. ucla edu /po I isci/facu I ty/ lewis /pd f / greenreform9. pdf 66

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Hampshire, where Nader received over twenty two thousand votes in an election that was decided by a margin of less than eight thousand votes.92 Despite the inferior performance of the third-party candidates in the 2000 presidential elections, if compared to the 1992 and 1996 elections, they still managed to get some 3.75% of the total popular vote which corresponded to roughly 4 million votes with Ralph Nader getting almost 73% of that total. Four years later, however, the minor parties barely received I% of the total number of casted votes throughout the whole country. Ralph Nader, received just a little over 463 thousand votes, which corresponded to 0.38% out of the overall number of total votes casted country-wide. As the 2008 elections appeared on the political radar, a number of wild speculation arose about what kind of effect, if any, the third-parties would have in that year's presidential contest. As early as May 2006, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post raised the possibility of a third-party unity ticket. He wrote that at that time "a group of political consultants from both sides of the political aisle [took] steps to draft a third-party ticket for president in 2008, guided by a belief that neither the Republican nor Democratic parties are adequately addressing the problems of average Americans.'m A year later, James Carney of Time magazine, wrote an article about a possibility ofNew York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg running for president as an independent. Carney quoted the mayor's political adviser, who said that "Bloomberg might run if the two parties put forward nominees that play to their base constituencies but turn off the center of the electorate." It's not impossible that that window 92 Infoplease. (2000). Presidential El ec tion of2000, Electoral and Popular Vote Summary. Retrieved from http : // www. infoplease.com/ip a/ A0876793 .htm I 93 Cillizza, C (30 May, 2006). 2008: Time Ripe for Third Party Ticket? The Washington Post. http: l/ voices .was hingtonpost.com / thefix / eye-on-2008 / 2008-a-third-patty-bid html 67

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could open and he could run a viable campaign ," Sheekey [said] with careful deliberation. "And if it opens he should consider it.""94 However, as the presidential debates and primaries for the two major political parties began in late 2007 the talk of the third-parties and their candidates disappeared for quite some time Only in late May of2008, did the Libertarian Party made some newsworthy headlines when it picked former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia as its presidential candidate a move that that could attract some conservatives turned off by the Republican Party ,"95 said Steven Thomma of McClatchy Newspapers. Thomma went on to say that with Barr being one of the best known candidates his supporters hoped that fame would help him draw more news media attention and increase the party's fall vote. Barr who in recent years soured on the Republican Party opposed the war in Iraq the Patriot Act suspension of civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism and the rapid rise in domestic government spending ." Thomma reported that Barr insisted that he did not intend to play just a spoiler role in 2008 as Nader did in 2000. In the summer of 2008 a surve y conducted by Zogby International showed that some of the third-party candidates were doing relatively well in the polls. In that survey, Bob Barr won the support of 6 % of the people with Ralph Nader who once again declared his candidacy for the presidential elections getting about 2 % .96 In an August poll conducted by ABC and Washington Post both Barr and Nader received 4% support from the registered 94 Carne y, J. (14 May 2007) Will Bloomber g Run for Preside nt ? TIME Mag a zine Retrieved from http: // w ww .time.com / tim e / n a tion / articl e / 0,8599 162 0821 ,OO. html 95 Thomma S (25 May 2008) Libertarians pick Bob Barr as their presidential candidate. The M c Cl a t c h y Retrieved from http : // w ww.mc c l a tch y dc com / 25 1 / s t o ry / 3 8518 htm I 96 Zogby International. (06 July, 2008) Z og b y P o ll : Buildin g M o -b ama! D e m oc rat L ea d s M c Cain in El ec t o r a l Coll ege Tally, 27 3 160 The D e mo c rat al s o l eads 44% t o 3 8% in th e nati o n wide hors e ra ce t es t as Lib e rtarian B o b B a rr wins 6 Retri e v e d from http : // ww w.zogby.com / t e mpl ate s / printn ews cfm ?id= 1 5 2 3 68

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voters.97 The somewhat strong showing by the third-party candidates in polls conducted over the summer did not last long however In a September survey conducted once again by ABC and Washington Post, the support for Nader fell to a total of3%, while Barr's support fell to a total of 1% .98 The downward trend for the third-party candidates continued in October, as according to an AP-GfK poll Barr and Nader were only supported by about one percent point each among the likel y electorate .99 In the end on election day the campaign of Ralph Nader received support of almost 740 thousand voters, which corresponded to 0.56% ofthe total popular vote, while Bob Barr garnered almost 523 thousand votes which corresponded to 0.40% of the total popular vote. The other third-party candidates received in total a little over 745 thousand votes which corresponded to 0.57% ofthe electorate.100 In summary, it is fair to say that a rather weak performance of the third-parties and their candidates had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the 2008 presidential campaign, Thus from the main stand point of realignment theory the notion that third parties tend to perform better during realignment certainly did not come to fruition during the current realignment cycle It appears that both parties especially the Democratic Party after the contentious primaries were able to coalesce their respected supporters Barack Obama, being a transformative and in many ways populist candidate, took away reasons for many leftist Democrats to vote again for somebody like Ralph Nader. The same could be said about the 97 The Washington Post Editorial. ( 19-22 August 2008).Washington Post-ABC News Poll Retrieved from http: //www. wash ingtonpost.com/wpsrv/po I itics / document s /pos tpo II 082308 .htm I 98 Ibid 99 GfK Rober Public Affairs & Media (16-20 October 2008). The AP-GfK P o ll Retrieved from http ://www. ap-gfkpoll.com /pdf / AP-GfK Poll 3 Topline FINAL.pdf 100 Leip D Dav e L e ip's Atlas of U.S. Pr eside ntial El ec tions 2 00 8 Pr eside ntial G e n e ral Ele c tion Results Retrieved from http : // uselectionatlas org/RESUL TS / nation a l.php ?ye ar =2008&off=O&elect=O&f-=O 69

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McCain campaign which with the selection of Sarah Palin also diminished for the most part, the rational under which conservative voters would have chosen a third party candidates. That in turn was the primary cause a s to wh y the s upport for the third parties was rather minimal. Furthermore the spike in popularity of the third-parties that was witnessed in the 1990s and to the lesser extent in the 2000 election was temporary just as des cribed in Burnham s second type of third-party activity and did not resemble anything close to the third party movement in the late 1940 s and 1960s Therefore from the standpoint of theory the activities of the third-parties did not in any way play a role in the hypothesized realignment. 70

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CHAPTER 8 A NEW DOMINANT VOTER CLEAVAGE IDEOLOGICAL POLARIZATION OF THE ELECTORATE AND NATIONAL ISSUE-BASED ELECTION IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES The history of realignments shows that each of them more or less was associated with some sort of ideological or issue-based polarization within a significant portion of American electorate. The political and socio-economic divide among the electorate which at times can be extreme is the heart of the theoretical notion of voter cleavage driving realignments a theory which was in part developed by Sundquist who argued that "a new issue or cluster of related issues can provoke a realignment. This cleavage was associated with slavery in the 1850s with 1890s questions over what should the government do about the hardships of the farmers and about inequality in the distribution of wealth and income among regions and classes in the 1890s and with questions over what should the government do about the Great Depression? in the 1930s (Mayhew 2002, pg. 23). Schattschneider per Mayhew, also believed that realignments were brought on by a durable new cleavage or electoral conflicts between different voting groups (Mayhew, 2002 pg 22) Although many political topics can divide the electorate into competing partisan groups before an election during realignments critical issues cause extreme polarization 71

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among the great number of voters The issue of slavery (and ultimately civil war), which was deferred many times by politicians in the early 1800s was finally front and center in the critical election of 1860. Burnham who initially introduced the concept of ideological polarization in relation to the realignment theory believed that during realignments like the election of 1860, "the rise in intensity is associated with a considerable increase in ideological polarization at first within one or more of the major parties and then between them Issue distances between the parties are markedly increased and elections tend to involve highly salient issue-clusters, often with strongly emotional and symbolic overtones far more than is customary in American electoral politics (Burnham 1970 pg. 7). Furthermore Burnham contended that during the political campaigns associated with a particular realignment or a critical election, "the insurgents' political style is exceptionally ideological by American standards ; this in turn produces a sense of grave threat among defenders of the established order who in turn develop opposing ideological positions (Mayhew, 2002 pg 24). Along with dominant voter cleavage and ideological polarization of the electorate comes the idea that during realignments, the House elections hinge more often than not on national issues, while local issues often dominate House elections in off-realignment years Volatile issues that cause realignment affect not only presidential elections, but congressional as well as most policy proposals that are offered on the campaign trails by the presidential contenders have to go through the Congress as well. David W. Brady, according to Mayhew, emphasized the importance of that point due to his theoretical notion that realigning elections set national priorities and enable Congress to overcome its alleged chronic problems of 'inertia and 'incrementalism in the policy realm" (Mayhew 202 pg. 1 00). 72

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Paulson, who researched and analyzed the compositions of the two major political parties during the period of the past three realignments from 1896-1964 to be exact revealed that the Democratic Party was composed of many different and sometimes competing factions He wrote that the Southern Democrats who were disproportionately conservative and pro-slavery before the Civil War and pro-white supremacy after Reconstruction, were often found in rural alliance with western populists at the turn of the twentieth century" (Paulson 2000 pg. 43). On the other hand the Northern Democrats were divided between the party regulars of the urban machines supported by a largely working-class electoral base, and reform factions with a more middle-class electoral base (Paulson 2000 pg. 43) Although consisting of many big factions, the Southern Democrats from the time of the end of Reconstruction to the middle of the 20'11 century represented the electoral base of the party and was the most dominant faction during that period as well. Unlike the Democrats the GOP in the early third of the 20111 century was fundamentally a two-faction party Although based in the Northeast the Republican Party was also strong in the Midwest and the West coast, up until the 1932 New Deal election. The Northeast area was mostly represented by the Wall Street faction where as the other areas mostly consisted of different Main Street factions. The Wall Street faction at that time, represented the interests of big business: monopoly and international capital (Paulson 2000, pg. 74) It also supported the gold standard and high tariffs, and generally opposed government regulation of the economy (Paulson 2000 pg 74). The Main Street faction was more progressive and populist at times. It represented small competitive capital, with its local roots and (sometimes) national markets (Paulson 2000 pg 74) However, unlike the Wall Street bloc it was more supportive of government regulation on the economy and 73

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on other financial issues. It was also more active in the areas of environmental protection and foreign affairs. The stock market crash in 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression shook up these existing voter alliances, although mostly within the GOP Franklin Roosevelt who in 1932 campaigned on the New Deal programs of increased role and support of the federal government, was able to add to the traditional Democratic block of the Southerners by reaching out to new electoral groups of minorities (African Americans, ethnic Americans, and Jews), voters from big urban centers and farmers -pilfering from elements of the Republican base at the time (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg 51) The Republican coalition, on the other hand consisted of nonunion members, financially well-off people who were not affected by the Great Depression, whites Protestants, residents of smaller cities and rural areas Maisel and Buckley wrote that "none of these groups was much more loyal to the Republican Party than the nation as a whole. That is, the Republicans attracted voters disaffected by the Democratic Party but those disaffected were so few as to constitute only a losing coalition during the period of the New Deal and its immediate aftermath (Maisel Buckley 2004 pg 51). Maisel and Buckley went on to argue that the newly defined party division reflected a voter cleavage in the American political system that endured for essentially the next three decades During that period the issues that divided the electorate were still the New Deal issues, and the political agenda was defined by the same question: does the federal government have a responsibility to serve as the employer of last resort, intervene actively in the economy and help those who were unable to help themselves? (Maisel, Buckley, 2004 pg. 51). Maisel and Buckley contended that when that question changed in the middle of 74

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1960s and other issues such as the war in Vietnam and race relations took precedence among the electorate, the New Deal coalition began to unravel and the Democrats experienced the same kind of fundamental shakeup that undermined the GOP in the 1930s The Civil Rights legislations that was pushed through Congress in the 1960s and eventually signed by President Lyndon Johnson into law was the proverbial last nail in the coffin for the New Deal coalition. President Johnson made a comment shortly after he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act that "I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come (Wickham 2004). Paulson added that among Southerners the Democrats from that region provided the most of the opposition (Paulson, 2000 pg. 173). With that a redefinition of voter cleavages within the two political parties began. Maisel and Buckley wrote that the Democratic Party was split by the war along the lines of social class, with more liberal members the academics and the upper class citizensopposing the military actions in the Vietnam whereas the working class was mainly supporting it as the soldiers fighting in the conflict were mainly descendents from the lower class households Black voters and other minorities, helped by newly enacted civil rights legislation registered and turned out to vote in numbers never before seen while white voters began to look for conservative Republican alternatives but they had difficulty finding them below the presidential level because the Republican Party as an organization was so moribund throughout the South that it ran few credible candidates for any office (Maisel Buckley 2004, pg. 54). Finally when the 1968 election took place at least on the Presidential level the split within the Democratic Party led to a situation when a majority of conservative suburban voters in the Western mountain and Southern states voted for the Republican Richard Nixon 75

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In the decades following the 1968 realignment, the Republicans on the Presidential level with some help from conservative Southern Democrats in Congress initiated the shift in the domestic policy agenda away from the heavy involvement of the federal government and its redistributing policies as was the case during the New Deal. It is important to note that those Southern Democrats still believed in Government s responsibility to regulate businesses but they also believed that many of those federal policies went too far especially when it came to the issues of race. Fueled in part by the so called Southern Strategy1 0 1 the GOP was able to pass legislation by playing on the fears of the growing Southern electorate and their dissatisfaction with welfare and other policies that benefited minorities and especially Blacks (Aistrup 1996 pg 36) In addition to capturing the so called economic voters who were fed up with Democratic excesses in terms of" tax and spend issues the GOP was also able to draw cultural or value voters who were not comfortable with the counterculture of the sixties, including feminism gay rights abortion rights, decriminalization of drugs and sexual freedoms (Judis Teixeira 2002 pg 24). In the presidential and congressional elections that took place in the 1980s the Republicans picked up those cultural voters from what used to be many Democratic strongholds throughout the country. Judis and Teixeira wrote that aside from gaining votes among the antiabortion Catholics, the most important defections to the Republicans over values came from white Protestant evangelicals in the South (Judis Teixeira 2002 pg. 24) They went on to say that these voters made up about two-fifths of 101 Southern Strategy is described as a policy approach used since the late 1960s by the Republican Party in attracting southern white voters who were hostile to the federal government s commitment to racial integration and equality Kalk Bruce H The Ori g in s o f th e S o uth e rn Strat egy. Lexington Books 2001. 76

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the white electorate in the South and about one-seventh of the white electorate elsewhere (Judis Teixeira 2002 pg 24). Additionally Ronald Reagan s electoral coalition added Midwestern blue-collar Democrats-a group that was later dubbed Reagan Democrats, to the existing mix of traditional farm-state and the Northeastern moderates Throughout 1980s and 90s with its continuing reliance on the Southern Strategy, the Republican Party utilized a three pronged approach in the attempt to expand its electoral reach and at the same time. The made it a point to constantly emphasize Welfare programs as pure waste, government regulations as those that hurt business expansion as well as global trade and lastly their belief in traditional family values. In fact the analysis ofthe results of the 1994 Congressional elections showed that the GOP finally gained a complete majority in the South, with Larry Sabato noting that the 1994 Republican wave "could be the culmination of 30 years worth of rolling realignment in the South (Aistrup 1996, pg. 60). Aistrup added that the Republicans were able to regained the upper hand on such issues as taxes and big government, to "recast the anticommunist pillar into an argument to rebuild the military ... and recast racial issues into a focus on crime and welfare (Aistrup 1996 pg. 60) Even during the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton the GOP was able to pass a number of legislation aimed at curtailing Big Government" spending, such as Welfare reform of 1996 and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The GOP s 1980 surge and 1994 triumph continued in the 2000 elections. With economy doing quite well, and the budget surpluses projected for the foreseeable future, after 8 years of a moderate Democratic presidency the GOP nevertheless won a dramatic presidential victory largely by leveraging voter cleavages over values issues In an exit polls conducted by Los Angeles Times during 2000 presidential elections it was revealed that 77

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George W. Bush was preferred by the values electorate over AI Gore. Voters chose the Republican when it came to the issues of" honesty and integrity " moral and ethical values ", taxes and abortion .102 With the terrorist attacks on September 11, 200 I followed by the start of the war in Afghanistan as well as discussions of potential military actions in Iraq the 2002 mid-term elections were dominated by the theme of national security. Gary C. Jacobson analyzing the results of the 2002 Congressional elections wrote that there was an obvious shift in the political focus of the electorate-away from domestic issues and towards national defense and foreign policy. He further e x plained that although polls showed Democratic advantages on such issues as health care education Social Security prescription drug benefits, taxes, abortion unemployment the environment and corporate corruption the survey also showed that the Republicans were mostly preferred with dealing with terrorism the possibility of war with Iraq the situation in the Middle East and foreign affairs. Jacobson added that voters put terrorism and the prospect of war at the top oftheir list of concerns providing a major assist to the Republican cause. Without September II, the election would have hinged on domestic issues and the talk of invading Iraq would have seemed like wagging the dog,' a transparent attempt to deflect attention from the economy (Jacobson 2003) Analysis of the 2004 presidential and congressional elections s ho w ed that the voter cleavage and ideological stance among the electorate did not change dramatically from the 2000 general and 2002 mid-terms elections Still even though the composition the Republican and Democratic coalitions stayed relatively the same the shift of the support 1 0 2 Polling Report Inc. (2009) El ec tion 2 000 exit poll. Retrieved from http: // www. pollingreport. c om / 2000.htm # EXIT 78

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toward the GOP was evident. In his re-election campaign against Democratic candidate John Kerry, George W. Bush kept the same advantage in his level of support among the Men ( +II%), while narrowing his disadvantage among the Women from -II% in 2000 to just -3%, according to the New York Times exit poll table103 Furthermore, the survey showed that President Bush increased his support among Whites from + 12% to+ 17%, as well as improved his vote percentage totals among the Midwestern and Southern electorate. Among the so called value voters, Republicans gained among the Protestants, Catholics and Jewish voters His advantage over John Kerry within the evangelical voters was at+ 31%. Among the issues that concerned the electorate the most the CNN exit poll showed that Bush led Kerry on the issue of Moral Values (22% ofthe polled selected it as the most important issue) 80% to just 18%, and on Terrorism (19% ofthe polled selected it as the most important issue) 86% to the 14%. Thomas Mann in his study of the 2004 election results for the Brookings Institute concluded that the motivation in this core Republican constituency-the values electorate-was underestimated He went on to say that we figured that most of the anger was on the Democratic side, and we really didn't appreciate the extent to which other Americans felt that the whole nature of their belief systems-their faith their lifestyles-were being threatened, and this was an opportunity to act on that."104 Overall, after decades of growing differences between the voters, especially in different geographical regions of the country, the political polarization among the electorate visibly intensified leading up to 2004 elections. Paul Krugman for instance noticed that 103 The New York Times Editorial. (5 November 2008). El ec tion Re su lts 2008. National Exit Polls Table. Retrieved from http: // elections.nytimes.com/ 2008 / re s ults / president / national-exit-polls.html 104 Brookings Institute (5 November 2004). E ve nt Summary : The 2004 Ele c tion R es ults. Retrieved from http: // www brooking s.e du / opinions / 2004 / J I 05elections aspx 79

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since the 1980s a rise in polarization was directly affected by a rapidly increasing income inequality (Krugman 2008 pg 4). He wrote that since the Reagan administration economists began noticing a sharp rise in income disparity and with that, many politicians began to gravitate toward the ends of the left-right political spectrum. Krugman also mentioned that during George Bush's second term, the income inequality reached the levels not seen since the 1920s, and with that, political polarization reached one of the highest levels. Krugman explained this phenomenon by saying that due to globalization and technological revolution in the 1980s and 1990s income inequality rose when an elite minority pulled away from the rest of the population. The GOP tended to gravitate itself to this elite group more so than the Democrats. With that, he elaborated that the GOP became the party of the few and the fortunate ones, while the Democrats represented those left behind (Krugman 2008, pg. 6). Dan Balz of the Washington Post for his part, also reported that both major political parties became increasingly homogenized and partisan during the same time frame.105 As did James E. Campbell who also noticed that the American electorate became more ideologically polarized He wrote that more voters indicated either conservative or liberal inclinations, and these corresponded to their party identifications" (Campbell James E., 2008 pg 72). What s more, Lewis-Beck, Norpoth and Jacoby suggested that growing voter polarization directly led to a greater concern of the electorate with the outcome of the elections They wrote that regardless of their level of political attitude, fewer people did not care how the election turned out in 2000 and 2004 than did not care in the 1950s. A typical comparison is that 57 1 0 5 Balz D (29 March 2005) Partisan Polarization Intensified in 2004 Election Only 59 of the Nation's 435 Congressional Districts Split Their Vote for President and House The Washington Post http: //www. washingtonpo s t com / wp-dyn / article s / A 7793-2005 Mar28 htm I 80

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percent of the 1956 respondents with just one political attitude did not care how the election came out versus only 29 percent in 2004. (Lewis-Beck, Norpoth and Jacoby, 2008, pg. 77). The authors went on to suggest that based on their analysis of the election results of the 2000 and 2004 elections they concluded that there was a correlation between the increase in voter turnout in 2004 elections to the stronger feelings aroused by the candidates in that contest. They wrote that "out measure of preference intensity registers an uptick between 2000 and 2004. Respondents grew more sharply polarized in their affects towards the candidates and parties. The Bush-Kerry matchup generated more heat in the electorate than the Bush-Gore contest (Lewis-Beck Norpoth and Jacoby 2008, pg. 91 ). The further proof of increased polarization of the electorate came from Box Steffensmeier and Schier who realized that the campaign of George W. Bush actually tried to use electoral divisions for their political advantage. The authors wrote that Bush and his political advisor Karl Rove believed that the important fault lines in American politics were real and that "they reflected deep and authentic disagreements over basic questions : about the size of government about whether popular culture had become too secular and too coarse about the proper balance of force and diplomacy as the United States asserts its interests abroad (Box-Steffensmeier and Schier 2008 pg. 6). They went on to say that because of these powerful disagreements the electorate was very evenly divided between two distinct worldviews. Box-Steffensmeier and Schier concluded that the imperative of Bush's political operations was not to blur electoral division but to sharpen them on the most favorable terms. In the aftermath of the 2004 general elections the unpopular policies of the GOP which were initiated in the previous four years as well as new policy proposals that were introduced by the Bush Administration and its congressional allies in 2005 and 2006 led to an 81

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even sharper increase in the polarization of the country s electorate. Abramowitz who analyzed the events leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections and the results of the congressional contests discovered those divisive trends as well. Major policy issues such as the war in Iraq and Immigration reform continued to divide this country s voters Abramowitz citing data from the national exit polls, wrote that the ideological divide within the electorate increased between 2004 and 2006 Almost 90 percent of self-identified liberals voted for a Democratic House candidate while 80 percent of selfidentified conservatives voted for a Republican House candidate. The 69 point gap in party support between liberals and conservatives was an all-time record breaking the previous record of 67 points in 2004 (Abramowitz 2007). He noted that the largest increase between the 2004 and 2006 elections among the Democratic electorate came from the Hispanic voters. While in 2004 the Democratic congressional candidates received only 56 percent of the Hispanic vote two years later in large part due to the tough and at times quite hostile as well as uncompromising positions of the GOP towards illegal immigrants and the Immigration reform in general the Democratic share among that group of the electorate increased to 70 percent. Michael Gerson a former Bush staffer and supporter of the immigration reform warned that unwillingness of the majority ofthe Republicans those in the Law and Order faction of the GOP, to support the efforts of the pro-business faction of the party who supported the reform could mean a substantial shift of Hispanic voters toward the Democrats in southwestern states of Arizona New Mexico Nevada and Colorado as well as Florida In tum he cautioned that could make the national political map unwinnable for Republicans for years to come.106 Abramowitz also noted that Democrats increased their support among the 106 Gerson M. (19 September 2007). Division Problem. The GOP's Ruinous Immigration Stance. The 82

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white voters, while African Americans continued their support of the overwhelmingly As a result, he mentioned, the racial divide among the overall electorate was only slightly smaller in 2006 than in 2004. Abramowitz, in analyzing voting patterns among other voting groups, concluded that voter cleavages were just as large in 2006 as in 2004. He wrote that "the religious divide among white voters remained enormous White evangelicals, who made up almost the same proportion of the electorate in 2006 as in 2004 (24 percent vs 23 percent), gave 71 percent of their vote to Republican House candidates. Meanwhile, 74 percent of whites with no religious affiliation voted for Democratic House candidates." Furthermore, his analysis showed that within geographical regions the divide in the support for the parties remained large. He found that while Democratic candidates received 64 percent of the vote in the Northeast, in the South the support was only at 46 percent. Abramowitz also took notice of the fact that despite the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate "the South would remained a GOP stronghold in the I I Oth Congress with 17 of 22 Senate seats and 77 of 131 House seats from the 11 states of the old Confederacy held by Republicans" (Abramowitz, 2007). Abramowitz's analysis also revealed that no issue was as divisive among the 2006 electorate as was the war in Iraq. Although in general the overall support for the war had declined since 2004, the exit poll statistics for the 2006 mid-terms showed that "Democratic and Republican voters held very divergent views about the war : the overwhelming majority of Democratic voters disapproved of the war and favored withdrawing American troops from Iraq; the overwhelming majority of Republican voters approved of the war and opposed Washington Post. Retrieved from http :/ / www.washingtonpost.com / wp dyn / content / article / 2007 / 09 / 18/ AR2007091801626 html 83

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withdrawing American troops in Iraq (Abramowitz 2007). In summary of his analysis Abramowitz came to a conclusion that fundamentally the 2006 elections continued and in many ways reinforced a long-term trend of increased polarization in American politics. He added that the statistics from national and state exit polls demonstrated that the electorate in 2006 remained deeply divided on major policy issues and especially on the war in Iraq. In another analysis of the 2006 elections, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira found that, for the most part the demographic groups that voted for Democrats in the late 1990s but abandoned them in the early 2000s came roaring back into the fold. For instance, they examined college-educated women who backed Democrats by 57 percent to 42 percent, as well as single women, who backed Democrats by 66 percent to 33 percent for Republicans Judis and Teixeira noted that the key swing group among women voters-White workingclass women-shifted their allegiances dramatically. While in 2004, they voted Republican 57 percent to 42 percent in 2006 that 15 point margin shrunk to just five points as this group backed Republicans by only 52 percent to 47 percent. The authors of the study also discovered that this movement away from the GOP included a stunning 26-point shift by white working-class women with annual household incomes between $30 000 and $50,000, who went from pro-Republican (60 percent to 39 percent) in 2004 to pro-Democratic (52 percent to 47 percent) in 2006"107 (Judis Teixeira 2007). Additionally they found that professionals with postgraduate degrees also moved decisively towards the Democrats. In 2002 midterms, this particular demographic backed Republican candidates by 51 percent to 107 Judis J B., & Teixeira R. (19 June, 2007). Back to the Future. The re-emergence of the emerging Democratic majority The American Pro spec t Retrieved from http ://www.prospect.org/cs / articles?article = back to the future061807 84

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45 percent, but in 2006 they flipped towards the Democrats by supporting their candidate by 58 percent to 41 percent. Moreover, the report also showed that in 2006 the Democrats improved their support among the White working class from 39% in 2004 to 44% in 2006. Judis and Teixeira observed that this 5% improvement within this particular demographic allowed the Democrats to pick up House and Senate seats in traditionally Republican states such as Indiana (where the white working class makes up 66 percent of the voting electorate); two seats in Iowa (where it makes up 72 percent) ; a Senate seat in Montana (which is 68 percent white working-class) ; and a Senate seat, a House seat and the governorship in Ohio (which is 62 percent white working-class) "108 (Judis Teixeira 2007). Last but not least the Democrats received a substantial amount of support in 2006 from voters ages 18 to 29-the Millenials which helped achieve the overall election victory of Democrats. This fastest growing demographic group in the nation chose the Democratic congressional candidates over the Republicans by 60 percent to 38 percent. The aforementioned historical information statistics and reports described several important trends concerning voter polarization and cleavage in the aftermath of the 2006 elections. After being thoroughly dominated by the Republicans in several consecutive electoral contests prior to 2006 the Democrats were able to reverse their loosing trends. The contentious issues of the war in Iraq and Economy among others as well as the overall unpopularity of decades old Republican policies led to rather dramatic shifts in support among several very important group s of voters The Democrats regained their solid advantage among women, and increased their lead among the fastest growing electoral groups of 1 08 Ibid 85

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Hispanics and 18-29 voters. Furthermore, the Blue vs. Red (Democrat vs. Republican) division among the electorate was continuing to grow, with Democrats were expanding their lead in the Democratic leaning areas such as Northeast and coastal West while the GOP was still doing quite well in the Deep South. Leading up to the 2008 general elections the overall theme of Change was prevalent throughout the majority of the electoral contests in the country To be more specific empirical as well as qualitative data showed that 2008 elections, especially on the presidential level turned out to be a Generational Change election. Arguably 2008 was the year when the new-age America', which consisted of young diverse/ethnic population and more tolerant to the social issues, battled the Baby-boomer/old America', which represented less diverse (more white), conservative and in some ways nationalistic population Looking back at the 1968 elections 2008 elections represented in many ways a reversal of the 40 year old contest with young voters choosing to show their strength in the voting booths as oppose to participating in violent confrontations with police. This generational divide, in retrospect, greatly affected voter cleavage formation as well as contributed to the high polarization of the electorate The first signs of the generational conflict appeared actually during the Democratic presidential primaries when Age became a major factor in the formation of the voter cleavage for the general elections. Katharine Seelye of the New York Times noted in her article that "in a campaign where demographics seem to be destiny, one of the most striking factors is the segregation of voters by age. "109 She commented that throughout primaries 1 09 Seel y e K Q ( 2 2 April 2008). In Clinton vs. Obama Age Is One of the Greatest Predictors. The N ew Y o rk Times Retrieved from http : // w ww.n vt imes.com / 2008 / 04 / 22 / u s / politic s / 22a ge html ? r= I 86

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statistics showed that older voters gravitated towards Senator Clinton, who is 60, and in a way this demographic group became her core constituency On the other hand younger voters have shown primary after primary their strong support for Senator Obama, who is 46 and represents a different generation of voters. Age Seelye said was "one of the most consistent indicators of how someone might vote more than sex, more than income, more than education. Only race is a stronger predictor of voting than age, and then only if a voter is black not if he or she is white." Mentioned in her articles were sample exit polls which showed that 57 percent of voters 65 and older have supported Senator Clinton and 36 percent have supported Senator Obama. The numbers were almost in reverse when it came to voters age 30 and younger. Some 59 percent of them supported Obama while 38 percent supported Clinton. Mara Liasson's article for NPR, confirmed Seelye s findings She also indicated that although the candidacies ofBarack Obama and Hillary Clinton divided the Democratic Party on the issues of race, income and education, age was the primary demographic indicator among the Democratic primary voters. The older you are," Liasson said the more likely you were to vote for Clinton, and the younger you are, the more likely you were to vote for Obama."110 The success that Obama enjoyed during the primaries among the young vote continued in the general election. The Millenials while not turning out in disproportionate numbers according to ABC News111, gave the Democrat a stunning 34-point margin, 66 110 Liasson, M. (I May, 2008). Parsing the Generational Divide for Democrats. National Public Radio Retrieved from http: // www.npr.org/templates / story / story.php?storyld= 90076971 111 Langer, G., Morin, R., Hartman B., Craighill, P., Deane C., Brodie M., Moynihan P., Shapiro B. & Clement, S (5 November, 2008). EXIT POLLS: Storm of Voter Dissatisfaction Lifts Obama to an Historic Win. Battered Economy, Partisan Shift in Power and Promise of Change Lift Obama to Victory. ABC News. Retrieved from http: // abcnews.go com / PollingUnit/Vote2008 / story?id = 6189129&page = I 87

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percent to 32 percent. For comparison, John Kerry's margin in 2004 elections among 18-29 voters was only nine points. Teixeira remarked that Obama s support among the Millenials was remarkably broad, extending across racial barriers. "He carried not just Hispanics in this age bracket (76 percent to 19 percent) and blacks (95 percent to 4 percent) but also whites (54 percent to 44 percent) Obama's I 0-point advantage among white 18to 29-year-olds starkly contrasts with his IS-point deficit among older whites (Teixeira 2009, pg. 12) According to Amanda Ruggeri Indiana and North Carolina-the states that Obama won by a very slim margin went Democratic solely because of the Millenials. Barack Obama, she said, lost every other age category in those states. And in the battleground state of Florida although Obama had a very slight edge in other age groups overall, it was the 61 percent of youths who cast Democratic ballots that solidified his lead." 112 The 2008 generational conflict was also evident in the perceived uneasiness of the majority of older voters with Obama s race and ethnic background. Joe Garofoli, of the San Francisco Chronicle, claimed that racially rooted attacks on Obama were appearing more frequently and overtly in the last month of the campaign. Additionally he said these attacks used what he referred to a hidden or "coded" language. Citing analysts, he brought forth examples of such messages where GOP s vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin portrayed Obama "as a cultural outsider and friend to terrorists and the dismissive way his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain referred to Obama at their Tuesday night debate as "that one."" 112 Ruggeri A. (6 November 2008). Young Voters Powered Obama's Victory While Shrugging Off Slacker Image U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from http: // www usnews com / artic les / new s / campa i gn2008 / 2008 / I I / 06 / young voters-powered-obamas victory-wh i le-shrugging-off-slackerimage.htm I 88

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In numerous other articles, there were constant references of McCain and Palin rallies where their supporters in the crowd were often heard of yelling what would be considered hidden or coded messages of racism intertwined with incendiary comments referring to Barack Obama's African heritage, his connections with William Ayers-a college professor and a former member of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground who bombed U S facilities to protest the Vietnam war as well as other associations. Frank Rich, in his OP-ED for the New York Times on October II 111 of 2008, summarized what had been the most common inflammatory remarks towards Senator Obama. He wrote that escalation in rhetoric had been witnessed at recent GOP events and he insisted that the dangerous oratory should be a cause for alarm as it could lead to violence. He noted that quite often inciting remarks were heard at McCain-Pal in rallies: the raucous and insistent cries of 'Treason!' and Terrorist! and Kill him! and 'Off with his head! as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist."113 Rich suggested that the rhetoric often spouted at campaign events by I Sarah Palin, where she would insinuate that Obama launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist or that he is palling around with terrorists ," as well as that Obama is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America," and that Obama was "an enemy of American troops." Rich went on to say that the rhetorical contlation of Obama with terrorism was stoked further by the repeatedly mentioning ofObama's middle name Hussein by surrogates introducing the GOP ticket at these rallies 113 Rich, F. (II October, 2008) The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama. The New York Times Retrieved from http : //www. nytimes.com / 2 008 / I 0 /12/ opinion / 12rich html ? r = l&adxnnl = I &adxnnlx=I253081162A9YT 16yDdTH5Gypf6JgAOO 89

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Perhaps the best illustration of this wild and inflammatory rhetoric came from the McCain-Palin town-hall type events in Minnesota when one of the attendees-Gayle Quinnell took the microphone and proclaimed the following : I don't trust Obama. I have read about him He's an Arab."114 Niel MacDonald, a reporter for CBC, noted that McCain to his credit, quickly corrected the obvious misstatements. MacDonald mentioned that after the event Gayle Quinnell remained resolute. Obama, she told reporters after her moment on stage last week with McCain, is "a Muslim and a terrorist ... all the people agree with what I said. "115 In the immediate aftermath of Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential elections after one of the most divisive and polarizing campaigns in American history, the raw emotions of the electorate were evident in many journalistic accounts. Although a vast majority of the stories described joy and happiness among the big portion of the electorate associated with this history and monumental victory, there were plenty of news accounts that described conservative backlash to the Obama s win. Tim Shipman, a reporter for Telegraph -a British publication wrote that although Barack Obama's election was mostly met with celebrations around the world "for some Americans his honeymoon is over before he has even taken office. "116 He mentioned a highly emotional denunciation of Obama by Republican Congressman Paul Brown who not only called then President-elect a Marxist, but also "compared his plans for a national service corps to help out in natural disasters-to 114 Macdonald, N (16 October, 2008). Obama Muslim' rumor : Ug l y, false and out in the open CBC News. Retrieved from http: // www.cbc ca/world / usvotes / s tor y /200811 0 / 15/ f-vp-macdonald htm I 115lbid. 1 1 6Shipman T ( 15 November 2008). Conservative backlash begins against Barack Obama. The Daily T e legraph. Retrieved from http: // www.telegraph.co.uk/news / worldnews / northameric a/ u salba rackobama/3464679 / Conservative backlash-begins-against-Barack-Obama html 90

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the formation of the Nazi brownshirts. "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany," said Georgia's Representative Brown. "We can't be lulled into complacency . Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany I'm not comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, what I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road." Shipman also discovered that a Roman Catholic priest in South Carolina "told his parishioners not to seek Holy Communion if they voted for Mr Obama, because supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil" as the President-elect backs abortion rights." In another story, Shipman mentioned an incident in Madison County, Idaho, where the school superintendent was forced to remind teachers and bus drivers that students must show proper respect for elected officials. This action was requested after parents complained that children on one school bus were chanting, "Assassinate Obama!" A story on National Public Radio as of November 251h, 2008 confirmed accounts of violence in the aftermath of the election of President Obama. "Communities around the country," the report mentioned, have seen a spike in racial violence since the presidential election of Barack Obama. In the few weeks since Election Day, cross burnings, racist graffiti and other alleged hate crimes have been reported."117 In summary, these documented facts show that race and age were one of the biggest factors that contributed to the polarization of the electorate. Younger voters, who are more tolerant ended up being a lot more comfortable with taking a chance on Barack Obama and his left of center policies, where as southern and older voters, due to their racial tendencies or 117 National Public Radio. (25 November, 2008). Obama Win Sparks Rise in Hate Crimes, Violence. Retrieved from http: // www.npr.org / templates/ story / story.php?storyld=97454237 91

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outright fears of change, voted for the Republican candidate who represented a status quo in terms oftheir version of'social stability'. However, Martin Sieff of UPI, concluded that for the many voters these kind offear tactics and conspiracy theories relating to the Obama's racial background might have worked during elections in the midst of the economic boom, but with the country being overtaken by the economic crisis, these particular fears have been largely displaced by the economic fears. Sieffwrote that "the Republican fear card has been trumped--not by Obama's "politics of hope" but by a far more visceral and direct Fear Factor: the fear of scores of millions of people losing their homes their jobs and their retirement savings. The fear of economic ruin appears to have eclipsed the fears of Obama that the Republicans had sought to play on in this election that the senator from Illinois is black, relatively young, extremely inexperienced, was raised in a Muslim country, and that he allegedly was Muslim by faith in his youth but later lied about it."118 In the closing weeks of the campaign, the public debate essentially evolved around the future economic direction of the country, and policy questions relating to the role of the federal government in stabilizing the economy resurfaced, just as they did in the 1930s. In poll after poll, a growing trend was revealed that showed that a clear majority of voters believed that federal government should do more in fixing the economy. In one of those surveys from September 23'd of 2008 conducted by CNN and Opinion Research Corp, some 62% of the voters believed that government should step in and provide economic help, while 118 Sieff M (20 October 2008). Obama, McCain play Fear Factor in presidential race. UP/. Retrieved from http: // www. up i com/news / issueoftheday / 2008 / I 0 / 20 /0bamaMcCain-playFear-Factor-in presidential-race / UPl-73981224520 141/ 92

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37% answered that it should stay out and let the economy recover on its own.119 An October 2, 2008 poll conducted by NBC News, Wall Street Journal and MySpace, found that 72% of first-time voters believed that government should be more active in solving problems.120 The decades-old question regarding government regulations was also addressed in many surveys. A Los Angeles Times and Blumberg poll of October 151h, 2008 revealed that over 70% of Americans thought that lack of regulation was partly responsible for the collapse of the financial system in this country. Additionally, over 45% of the respondents believed that there was too little regulation in business while 27% said there was too much.121 As a point of comparison David Pierson of the LA Times pointed out that in 1981, only 18% of Americans thought that there was too little regulation of business whereas in 1991 that number was at 27% The public debate on the economic issues, dominating in the presidential race, played a big role in Congressional races as well. Hulse's analysis showed that the Banking Bailout bill had a big impact in many swing/competitive districts throughout the country. The bottom line is that the collapse of economy ended up displacing many so called local issues in many congressional races. Lesley Clark and Luisa Yanez, for instance, reported that in many of the House races in Florida, local issues such as dealings with Cuba, were largely ignored.122 Carl Hulse and David M. Herszenhorn reported that in district after district, House Democrats ran 119Rhee F. (22 September, 2008) Voters worried by Wall Street crisis. The Boston Globe Retrieved from http: // www. boston .com / news / politics / political inte IIi gence /?008/ 09 / voters worried. htm I 120 Murray S. (2 October, 2008) New voters like Obama, but may not cast vote. LiveMint / The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http: // www.livemint.com / 2008 / l 0 / 0 12ll316/New-voters-like-Obama but-may htm l?atype=tp 121 Pierson, D ( 15 October 2008). Americans want more regulation of economy poll finds The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http: // articles.latimes.com /2 008 / oc t/ 15/businesslfi-econpolll5 122 Clark, L., & Yanez L. (28 October 2008) Economy not Cuba, at heart of 3 congressional races Retrieved from http : // www.miamiherald.com/obama/v-fullstOJy / storyl744170.htrnl 93

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advertisements "seeking to link Republicans with President George W. Bush and his economic record. "123 In the end in many of the congressional races the popularity of Barack Obama and his presence on the top of the ballot created the so called coattail effect for Democratic congressional candidates. The Democrats vying to either retain or win new seats in Congress mostly stuck to the similar campaign themes ofObama, such as the economy and the need for change On the Republican side, especially in the competitive districts, the national theme of the campaign was actually missing mainly due to the unpopularity of President Bush and Republican brand and the somewhat unenthusiastic reception that Republicans had for their non-traditional nominee, John McCain. The GOP candidates for the most part ended up concentrating their campaign on showcasing the federal dollars they were able to bring to the district or how they have had a history of bipartisan legislative accomplishments. Republican localizing efforts aside most serious analysis found that 2008 was a "nationalized" election, with the electorate making a watershed judgment on fundamental national policy directions such as what to do about the economy. The deep ideological polarization of the electorate in the 2008 elections shaped a voter alignment which in turn has a possibility of dominating many future elections-the very essence of what we mean when we say a realignment has occurred in any given election. The post-election analysis of the exit polls showed that the voter cleavage which was formed within the period of primaries, with the possible exception of the Hispanic voters closely mimicked the voting cleavage in general election. The groups of voters which Barack Obama 123 Hulse C., & Herszenhorn, D. M. (9 October 2008) Republicans face tough races for U.S. Congress. The New York Times. Retrieved rrom http: // www.nytimes.com / 2008 / l 0 / 09 / world / americas / 09iht-09cong l680390 l htm l ? pagewanted = 2 94

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had a hard time winning over and which tended to voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries -blue-collar workers Roman Catholics and older voters-voted heavily for John McCain Whereas the groups of the electorate that went heavily for Obama during the primaries the young college educated and minority voters continued their support for him in the general elections From the standpoint of realignment theory therefore, the results of the 2008 general elections showed two different things. The composition of the electorate had changed in the last forty years and though the coalitions of voters supporting each political party have not changed that much the dramatic growth of pro-democratic groups within that existing electoral cleavage catalyzed a pro-Democratic realignment in 2008 The 2008 presidential elections from the standpoint of the voter cleavage featured a tremendous growth within the electorate that heavily supports the Democratic Party and its agenda such as young and minority voters On the other hand the voter groups such as white-working class and socially conservative voters on which the Republican Party relied so heavily in its past successes have shrunk in their numbers. Ruy Teixeira in a report on rapidly changing demographics and how this phenomenon affected the outcome of the 2008 elections noted that in the past twenty years, between 1988 and 2008 the minority share of voters in presidential elections has risen by II percentage points while the share of increasingly progressive white college graduate voters has risen by four points. But the share of white-working class voters, who have remained conservative in their orientation has plummeted by IS points" (Teixeira 2009, pg 1). Teixeira s anal y sis ofthe national exit polls revealed that the overall share ofthe minority vote rose from 15% in 1988 to 23% in 2004 and rose all the way to 26 % in 2008. 95

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Within the overall Minority group of electorate, Teixeira found that from 2004 to 2008, the share of African American voters rose from 11% to percent from 13%. At the same time, he reported that Hispanic vote as a group also rose during the same period, from 8% to 9%. These two ethnic groups ended up voting for Obama overwhelmingly. African Americans voted 95% for Obama to just 4% for McCain in 2008a 7% improvement for the Democratic candidate and 7% decline for the Republican if compared to the 2004 numbers. The biggest change however, came from the Hispanics. In 2004 according to CNN exit polls, Latinos voted 53% for Kerry and 44% for Bush124, but in 2008, this group voted 67% to 31% for Obama. To put it in perspective, the Democratic margin of victory among this portion ofthe electorate quadrupled in just four years. Teixeira argued that the gains among these minority groups greatly contributed to the Obama's success in many key battleground states. In Ohioa state which George W. Bush carried in 2004, the number of minority voters rose from 14 to 17 percent. Among them, African Americans supported Obama by a stunning 95-point margin (97 percent to 2 percent) compared to Kerry's 68-point margin (84 percent to 16 percent) (Teixeira, 2009, pg 5) In Nevada, Teixeira discovered, the overall share of minority electorate rose from 23 to 31 percent of voters. Among Hispanics, who increased their voting ranks by a five percentage points, Obama received overwhelming support with 76 percent to just 22 percent for McCain Compared to 2004, this represented a 16% increase in support for the Democrats. Teixeira also noted that in other key battleground states such as Florida, Obama was able to completely turnaround the traditional Democratic disadvantage among Hispanic 124 CNN. (2004). Election R e sults : U.S. Pr e sident I National I Exit Poll Retrieved from http: / / www.cnn com / ELECTION / 2004 / pages / results / states / US / P / 00 / epolls O.html 96

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voters in that state. In 2004 these heavily Cuban (and thus conservative and anti-communist) voters broke solidly for the GOP giving Bush a 56-43 % advantage over Kerry. But four years later the same electorate supported Obama by 57% to 42% for McCain According to Tei x eira this is a significant change for Florida as for years Hispanic voters in that state were generally considered GOP leaning especially with the conservative voting bloc of Cuban Americans being a large part of it. Post election observation s b y Gary Segura indicated that this dramatic shift within the minority population represents a sign of a narrowing coalition for the GOP The Republican Party he noted normally gets the majority of its votes from Whites but that demographic is shrinking as a share of th e electorate Segura went on to conclude that if the GOP s primary appeal to minority voter s i s to Latinos-and that was rebuffed and reversed in this election-then the Republican coalition as currently constituted w ould be significantly less than 50 percent of the electorate ."125 Taking into the consideration geographical or electoral map Obama s victory represented a historic s hift in terms of o v erall alignment of states and their support of the two major political parties. The Democrats won on the presidential level in states such as Indiana North Carolina and Virginia-something they have not been able to do since the 1964 election Furthermore what was once considered a Solid South region for the Republicans has even been fractured Essentially the 2008 election on the presidential level has reduced Republican strength to the regions of Upper Mountain West the plains states (although Obama won one electoral vote out ofNebraska), and whatever was left out of the fractured 125 Stanford Magazine. (26 January 2009) Par sing th e V o te: H ow d e m og raphi c s hift s co uld e r o d e p a r ty a ll eg i a nces. Retrie v ed from http : // s t ory b a n k.s t a nford e d u/s t ories / par sing vo t e -how d e mogr aph ics h i ftsc ou lde r o d e -p a rt y alleg i a n ces 97

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South The Democrats who had solid support from the Northeast region and Western coastal states now also have firm supported in the Midwest and their electoral strength is growing in the Mountain West and Southwest as well. Furthermore, in an forthcoming article by Robinson and Noriega there is evidence that shows electoral changes in the Mountain West region which were caused in many ways by voter migration are actually more wide spread than presidential electoral map tends to indicate. They wrote that the Rocky Mountain West is increasingly electing Democrats to state and national office, helping to shatter GOP dominance of American politics. Colorado, a state once dominated by Republican officials has recently elected a Democratic state legislature a Democratic Governor two Democratic U S Senators and a 2009 U.S House delegation favoring Democrats five to two. Montana a state that hadn't elected a Democratic House and Governor for decades recently turned its state legislature and Governor s office over to the Democrats and sent a Democrat to the U.S Senate in 2006. Ten years ago the eight-state region boasted eight GOP governors By 2008 there were only three. The GOP s 1990 15-9 advantage in Congressional House seats rever s ed to a 17-11 Democratic advantage by 2008 (Robinson Norie g a 20 I 0) Accordingly if population totals are added into consideration Republican strength after 2008 resides in states which are more rural and lightly populated Tei x eira added that si x teen out of28 states carried by Obama had I 0 or more electoral votes while just 4 of21 carried by McCain had that man y electoral votes (Teixeira 2009 pg. 17) Furthermore, his research showed that Obama also carried seven of the eight most populous states with the only exception of Texas which went for McCain In the end the gradual change in this country s demographics combined with the tough economic environment not seen since the Great Depression, caused a monumental shift in voter alignment in the aftermath of the 2008 elections This new voter cleavage promises to be quite durable, considering the continuing influx of Democratic leaning voters in the 98

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immediate future (e .g., the rise in the Hispanic electorate and the growing influence of the Millennia! generation) and accompanied by the decline of the voters which tend to lean towards the Republicans. The assumption ofthe durability of the Democratic cleavage is based on the notion that the Millenials and ethnic minorities continue to participate in future electoral contests at the same rate as the y did in the last two election cycles This new voter alignment also promises to be more tolerant and in some ways apathetic in relation to the current cultural divides on the social issues of abortion and gay marriage but at the same time it will be more concerned with the issue s of jobs and economy as a whole Lastly the dominating issues of jobs and economy in the 2008 election cycle certainly dictated the direction of many races within the House of Representatives Similarly to the 1932 election the Democrats increased their overall majority in Congress in big part due to the electorate s distrust ofthe Republicans on the issues of economy However it would be incorrect not to point out that Obama s overall popularity among the Democratic voters also created a coattail effect for many Congressional candidates. With all this said the evidence suggests that the polarization of the electorate in 2008 correlated with changing voter cleavages and the nationalization of congressional election in large part conforms with Realignment theory 99

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CHAPTER 9 MAJOR CHANGES IN GOVERNMENTAL POLICY AND REDISTRIBUTIVE EFFECTS OF NEW POLICIES From the standpoint of American political history, almost all realignments, in conjunction with critical elections, have been followed by some major changes in the policies of the federal government. This notion of major policy changes following realignment was originally developed by Burnham and Schattschneider. For Burnham, realignment represented a turning point or significant alteration in national public policies (Mayhew, 2002, pg. 26). Schattschneider, for his part, found consistent historical evidence that realignments, for the most part, were followed by important policy changes (Mayhew, 2002, pg. 25) Harvey Schantz summarized the concept by saying that there is a strong cause and effect link between reali gnments and new public policy initiatives. Unlike incremental changes which tend to dominate politics during non-realigning years, major policy changes are "believe d to depend upon realigning elections or elections that confer a mandate upon government leaders (Schantz, 1996, pg. 5). Policy changes, he said, are "facilitated by the processes of leadership turnover and the conversion of incumbent leaders who interpret the election returns." David Brady added that in order for major policy changes to occur, major electoral conditions must change (Brady 1998, pg. 5). For the most part these types of changes occur during realignments, although that is not always the case. The political system of the U.S., which consists of checks and balances between all three branches of government, was actually designed by the framers of the constitution to 100

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prevent major policy changes to be implemented consistently Therefore in order for a new policy to become a law it needs to go through a fairly rigorous and at times very long process During each congressional session there are hundreds of bills that fail to get approved in one or both chambers of Congress or they get vetoed by the president. If one party in Congress which has the ability to override the President s veto does not have a big enough majority a piece of legislation never becomes a law James Madison one ofthe framers of the U S Constitution and who authored Federalist 10 in support of a Republican style of federal government126, in fact argued that such a design of our government was necessary to prevent a majority faction or a party from potentially trampling rights of the minority factions Madison ( 1787) wrote that: The smaller the society the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it ; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party ; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority and the smaller the compass within which they are placed the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens ; or if such a common motive exists it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments it may be remarked that where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary (Madison 1787) For these rea s ons legislative deadlock or incrementalism is the norm in between realignments when the control of the federal government is divided between the two major parties. In fact scholars such as Dahl and Lindblom argue that in many wa y s incrementalism is a preferred way of legislating public policy because it is considered less radical and 126 Versu s direct democracy way of g overnment. Should not to be confused with a modern day political party. 101

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controlled the legislative process becomes easier and completely reversible just in case policy changes show overall negative impact (Dahl Lindblom 1991, pg 83) However during realignments the resurgent party more often than not, wins the control of the House and the Senate at times with big majorities in addition to the presidency. For the newly elected ruling party a unified control of the Executive and Legislative branches something which I will discuss in detail in the next chapter in theory eliminates at least one obstacle in passing major legislation. With that said control of both legislative chambers that does not necessarily guarantee automatic passage of the major piece of legislation. Often the party in the minority can use various parliamentary procedures to either slow down or outright defeat the legislation (e.g., health care reform in 2009) But if the ruling party has big majorities in Congress that in tum allows it to enact bills without the minority party having an ability to block progress. And thus the realignment theory supposes that critical elections produce unified party control of the federal government and that in tum allows the party to push through major pieces of legislation which generally have a broad support of the voting public such as the New Deal and Health Care reform of2009. By knowing that voting public gave the majority party a so called legislative and governing mandate which in tum allows important changes in governmental policy to actually take place Burnham also theorized that major policy changes that are enacted by the federal government following realignments have a class-bias consequence to them and are more or less redistributive in nature. He said that such redistributive policies are the heart of the realignment periods and are among the most important of their 'symptoms"' (Mayhew 2002 pg 28) Redistributive policies from the stand point of realignment, go hand in hand with the notion of enacting new major policies after realignment takes place-policies that 102

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reflect the emergence of new voter cleavages and that therefore end up redistributing benefits from one portion of the electorate to another. Tax cuts or increases are the most commonly used ways of redistributing the wealth in this country More often than not, when new tax policies are used in redistributive fashion, they become very polarizing to the electorate. Thomas Birkland wrote that redistributive policies are highly contentious because they are often perceived as zero-sum situations, in which any gain for one interest is accompanied by an equal and opposite loss by the other (Birkland, 2005 pg 148) Therefore strong legislative majorities are needed to pass any sort of new tax laws that affect a large portion of the population When realignments take place the popularity of a newly elected president and Congress usually allows the majority party to push through major pieces of legislation, which in one form or another contain provisions of tax redistribution or creation of new governmental programs which are paid for by new taxes that help one particular portion of the population over another. Good examples of enactment of major policies and their subsequent redistributive effects after realignments can be seen in new laws that followed the 1860 critical election, when the Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected as President and the GOP had big majorities in both chambers of Congress as well as following the critical election of 1932, when the Democrats won the presidency and achieved big majorities in the House and the Senate. In the 1860s, according to Mayhew major policy innovations were enacted in the areas of" education transportation banking and currency homesteading taxation and tariff protection during the Civil War as well as that era s well-known bursts of Reconstruction legislation after the war (Mayhew, 2002 pg I 05). Of course Amendments 13, 14 and 15 to the Constitution, which were passed by the Congress following the end of the Civil War to 103

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abolish slavery expand citizenship rights to African Americans and outlaw racial discrimination on voting rights are examples of redistributionist policies.127 Undeniably these examples of new policies represented major policy changes from the federal government and obviously had redistributive implications from the standpoint of Southern Whites losing their property rights to slaves, while former slaves were granted full citizenship rights and privileges Similarly an unprecedented number of reforms were enacted as a result of the passage ofNew Deal policies following the disastrous effects of the Great Depression and the subsequent realignment in the early 1930s During the first months of Roosevelt's presidency a never-ending stream of bills was passed to relieve poverty reduce unemployment, and speed [up] economic recovery. "128 By utilizing progressive taxation the New Deal policies were aimed, according to Ronald Edsforth, at redistributing wealth, income and economic powers Thus in 1935, Roosevelt asked Congress to approve raisin g income taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations as well as impose new taxes on employers and employees to fund social security pensions and unemployment insurance (Edsforth 2000 pg. 162). The redistributive policies that have been discussed thus far featured so called downward redistribution"from wealthiest to poorest. However by many accounts, the realignment period that started in the lat e 1960s led to a dramatic reversal of the downward redistribution policies instituted by the New Deal, and ushered in a period of" downward 127 Mount S. (6 February 2009). The United States Contitution. U.S. Contitution Online. Retrieved from http : // www. usconstitution.ne t/c on st. htm I 128 PBS (22 January 2009). Survivin g the Dust Bowl Retrieved from http: //www .pbs.org/wgbh / a me x / dustbowl / p eopleeve nt s / pandeA M EX 09 htm I 104

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redistribution Highlighted during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush the new conservative tax cutting policies of the post 1968 realignment era benefitted the wealthiest often at the expense of the middle-class and the poorest. The Trickle-Down economic model, frequently referred to as Reaganomics ," became especially popular following the watershed 1980 election of Ronald Reagan. Its main premise was that via tax cuts for the most affluent people the increase in wealth flows down to those with lower incomes That s because the rich are allegedly more likely to spend the additional income, creating more economic activity which 'in turn generates jobs and eventually better paychecks for the less well-off. "129 During the 2001-2008 administration of George W. Bush several tax reduction proposals were signed in to laws in accordance with this theory, and they showcased the magnitude of the upward redistribution of wealth in terms of tax cuts for the well off. According to the 2002 report released by the non-profit organizations Citizens for Tax Justice and the Children's Defense Fund, it was found that the enacted $1.35 trillion dollar Bush's tax cuts which went into effect from 2001 and suppo s e to sunset in 2010 some $477 billion in tax breaks were targeted for the top one percent of the population and that this group will average $342,000 each over the decade. By 20 I 0 about 52 percent of the total tax cuts will go to the richest one percent-whose average 20 I 0 income will be $1. 5 million ."130 As hypothesized in this the sis, the realignment took place between 2004 and 2008 elections which in theory means the end to the upwards redistributionist policies of the last 129 Derby M S. (30 June 2009) Trickle-Down Economics Fails to Deliver as Promised The Wall Str ee t J o urnal. Retrieved from http : //blogs. ws j.com / e conom i cs / 2 009 / 06 / 3 0 / trickl e -d ow ne conomic s fail sto-d e liveras -promi s ed / 1 3 Citizens for Tax Justice. (12 June 200 2 ). Y e ar-byY e ar Anal ysis ofthe Bush T ax Cut s Shows Growing Tilt t o th e V ery Ri ch. Retrieved from http :// www ctj org / html!gwb060 2. htm 105

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forty years. While the Democrats retook the control of the Congress in 2006, their new legislation was mostly blocked by the Republicans in the Senate or presidential vetoes For instance in 2007 President George W Bush vetoed an extension of a children s health insurance program-SCHIP, which was supported not only by the Democrats but by many members ofthe GOP.131 In many other instances George W. Bush threatened Democratic held Congress with possible vetoes and therefore many proposed bills never even made it to the floor for the final debate and vote.132 Thus hardly any meaningful or fundamentally new policies were enacted by the 11 ot" Congress with the possible exception of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which in the essence provided authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers .. provided individual income tax relief, and for other purposes."133 According to the realignment theory the election of the Democrat Barack Obama and substantial Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress potentially means that fundamentally new governmental policies will be enacted in the next two years starting from 2009 According to Obama s general election website, during his presidency he intends to propose tax cuts for 95 percent of working individuals and families while raising taxes on the 131 Abramowitz M. & Weisman J. (4 October 2007) Bush Vetoes Health Measur e. The Washingt o n Post Retrieved from http : //www. w a shingtonpo s t com / wpdyn / content / article / 200711 0 / 03 / AR20071 00300 I 16.htm I 1 32 Weisman J., & Murray S (9 March 2007) Bush Threatens to Veto Democrats' Iraq Plan. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http : //www. wa s hingtonpo s t.com / wp dyn / conten t/ article / 2007 / 03 / 08 / AR2007030800 2 06.html 1 33 U.S Government Printing Office (3 October 2008). Publi c Law 110-343 : 110' h C o n g r ess. http ://www. gpo gov / fds ys / pkg / PLA W-11 Opubl34 3 / cont e nt-d e tail.html 106

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other 5 percent-to the levels of the 1990s.134 He also intends to propose new groundbreaking legislation for the Energy sector, which involves heavy investment in renewable energy research and development.135 His put forward new environmental policy-Cap and Trade, which is mainly intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the effects of Global Warming.136 Last but not least, his proposes new legislation that would fundamentally change the current healthcare system in the U.S., something that has not been done since the passage ofthe Medicare bill by the Lyndon Johnson's administration in 1965.137 At the moment of this writing, August of2009, some of these proposals have already been enacted as laws, but some are either still being debated in Congress or have not been debated yet. For instance, one of the first bills signed by President Obama into law was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of2009, which was designed to preserve and create new jobs, invest $150 billion into infrastructure repair and new developments, provide $288 billion in tax relief, invest $43 billion for energy development and efficiency, extend unemployment insurance, invest $59 billion into healthcare, provide $144 billion to the States and local municipalities.1 3 8 Also, Congress passed a Children's Health lnsurance Program Reauthorization Act of2009, subsequently signed into law by the president, which expanded health insurance coverage for the children from low income families. As a side note, this particular legislation actually was paid for by imposing additional taxes on cigarettes and 134 Organizing for America. (2007-2008). Responsible Tax Cuts for Ordinary Americans. Retrieved from http: // www.barackobama.com / taxes / index campaign.php 135 Organizing for America. (2007-2008). New Energy for America. Retrieved from http :// my.barackobama.com / page / content/newenergy campaign 136 Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). Cap and Trade Retrieved from http: // www.epa.gov / captrade / 137 Glass, A. (30 July, 2007). President Johnson signs Medicare bill on July 30, 1965. Politico. Retrieved from http: // www.politico com / news / stories / 0707 / 5129 .htm I 138 U.S. Government. (30 August, 2009). Recovery Act Spending : Track the Money Retrieved from http: // www.recovery gov /? g = content/investments 107

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other tobacco products .1 39 Furthermore the currently debated healthcare reform bill, if enacted promises to expand healthcare coverage to the millions of uninsured Americans and improve healthcare delivery system as a whole.140 Some ofthe proposals relating to this bill would levy tax on high income earners or their expensive healthcare plans which in effect would create a redistributive effect.1 4 1 As of August, 2009, several legislations already have been signed in to law by President Obama and by many estimates they will have long term and perhaps generational effects on domestic and foreign affairs. For example new investments of the federal government in renewable energy as part of the 2009 Recovery Act will go a long way towards the goal of decreasing the reliance of this country on fossil fuels and thus reducing dependency on foreign importation of oil. This measure, in part will also help decrease carbon emissions as well as reduce negative foreign trade balance Furthermore if a healthcare reform is enacted although it is not know what the final bill might look like, it will fundamentally change the healthcare delivery and related industries as they are currently known. Paul Krugman s analysis on healthcare reform shows that there are short and long term effects of enacting it as soon as possible. He wrote that on the immediate front, by "helping families purchase health insurance as part of a universal coverage plan would be at least as effective a way of boosting the economy as the tax breaks that made up roughly a third of the 2009 Recovery act. In turn it would have the added benefit of directly helping 1 39 National Cancer Institute. (I 0 February 2009) H e alth Gr o up s Hail Inc r e as e in F e d e r a l Toba cco T axe s Retrieved from http : // ww w.c a n ce r.go v / n cica ncerbull e tin / 0 2 1 009 / pa g e 2 140 U.S. Government. (2009). About: Health Care Reform This Year. D e partm e nt of H e alth and Human S e rvic es. Retrieved from http : // w w w healthreform.gov / about / index.html 1 4 1 U.S. Government Printing Office (14 July 2009). Congr e ssi o nal Bill: H. R 3200 : filth Congr e ss Retrieved from http: //www. gpo gov /fds ys / pk g/BILLS-III hr3 2 00IH / content-d e tail.htrnl 108

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families get through the crisis, ending one of the major sources of Americans current anxiety."142 Krugman later added that the after effects of passing health care reform could be as fundamental and crucial on the policy level as Social Security was to FOR's New Deal (Krugman, 2008, pg. 243). On another proposed policy matter currently debated climate change legislation in Congress if ratified, could have just as many positive consequences as the health care bill. In a report released by the Center for American Progress, it is estimated that another modest governmental investment, in addition to the already earmarked money, in the areas of renewable energy and overall goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions could lead to a multiplying effects in many areas of public policy Not only it would have the same effect on global warming as taking an estimated haifa billion cars offthe road by the year 2020, but it would also have an effect of another stimulus package as it is expected to create an estimated 2.5 million jobs that cannot be easily outsourced to other countries.143 From the standpoint of realignment theory, the above mentioned new legislations, whether already passed by Congress and signed into laws by the president or are still being debated arguably will have wide ranging long term effects Whereas policies enacted during the period from 1968-2008 had more or less downward redistributive effects, from the standpoint that taxes were cut for top rate earners and trickle-down economic model was used to stimulate private sector job growth, post 2008 period promises to reverse that trend andre-1 42Krugman, P. (29 January, 2009). Health Care Now. The N e w York Times Retrieved from http ://www. nytimes com / 2009 / 0 l/30 / opinion / 30krugman html ? r= I 1 43 Poll in, R., Heintz J & Garrett-Peltier H (June 2009) The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy. The C e nt e r f o r Am e ri c an Pro g r es s Retrieved from http: // www.americanprogr ess .or g/ i ss u es / 2009 / 06 / c l e an en e rg y .htm I ; Krugman Paul. ( 17 May, 2009). The Perfect the Good, the Planet. The New Y o rk Times. Retrieved from http: // www .nytime s. com / 2 009 / 05 / 18/ opinion / 18krugman.htm I 109

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initiate New Deal economic model where upward redistribution of wealth is once again enacted via tax increases on the top one percent of the earners in this country If successful the realignment theory suggests that this will translate into long term unifYing party control for the Democrats which I will discuss in the next chapter. 110

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CHAPTER10 LONG SPANS IN UNIFIED PARTY CONTROL As I have been briefly mentioned in the previous chapter unified party control of the legislative and executive branches of government is extremely important and downright necessary from the logistical standpoint for any new major policy to be passed. Mayhew contended that realignment theory more or less necessitates long periods of one party control of the government as a precondition for being able to pass any meaningful major policy change Jerome Clubb William Flanigan and Nancy Zingale wrote that with the possible exception of external military threats which unify even divided governments consistent one party control of the federal government represents a significant condition for achieving major policy innovations (Mayhew 2002 pg 27). In theory the long spans in one party control is crucial for policy making because it allows time for the new policies to be shaped and develop for them to be essentially absorbed by the electorate and in the end become embedded in the governmental and legal structures" (Mayhew 2002 pg. 27). What's more the long periods of unified federal government ensures that there is little chance for the new programs and policies to be fundamentally changed or outright overturned by the opposition party. History has shown that the unified control of the government by one of the two major political parties has been a fairly frequent occurrence after realignments. In the 1830s, the Democratic Republican Party enjoyed ten years of unified control ofthe government. In the 111

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aftennath ofthe critical elections in 1860 and 1896, the Republican Party s control ofthe federal legislature and the presidency lasted for fourteen years As a result of the realignment in the early 1930s, the Democrats had unified control of the government from 1933 until the end of 1946, as well as from 1949 to the end of 1952 and then from 1961 until the end of 1968 The last four decades can be described as exceptions this part of the theory, as divided government was more of a norm during that period The Republicans, which dominated in the presidential elections from 1968 until 2004, only gained unified control of the government in the aftennath of the 2000 elections. The four and a half years of Republican control of the federal legislature and the presidency was actually the longest in those four decades The exact number of seats that the Democrats will gain or lose and at the same time whether they will retain their majorities in Congress and keep the presidency for any prolonged period of time following the 2008 elections is hard to predict but the realignment theory and historical precedents offer us some insights on that particular topic. Generally speaking statistics from the past elections have shown that the party that occupies the White House, almost always loses some seats in the midterm elections. Nate Silver a statistician and political analyst wrote in his August 15111 2009 article that since World War II, an average of I 7 seats in the House change parties in the election following a presidential victory. In 2010 he went on to say the Democrats have substantially more seats to defend than Republicans particularly in the House. They appear to face a significant enthusiasm gap after having dominated virtually all close elections in 2006 and 2008 And the economy and health care are contingencies that could work either way but which probably present more 112

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downside risk to Democrats than upside over the next 12-18 months, particularly if some version of health care reform fails to pass. 1 44 With that said although it is theoretically possible for the Democrats to lose the control of the House of Representatives s uch an event is unlikely due to the fact that Republican strengths are mainly concentrated in the South and Midwest the areas where there are not a lot of seats for them to be picked up Furthermore, with an average reelection rate of the House member is roughly about 94% the Democrats can lose about 17 seats and still retain the majority.145 Charlie Cook in his September article for Cook Political Report added to Silver s analysis that among the things to watch in the months leading up to the 2010 elections is the numerous retirements of the Democratic legislators He wrote that "perhaps the only thing that could turn what otherwise might be a bad election night for Democrats next year into a horrible night and cost them their majority [in the House] is a bunch of retirements in difficult districts ."146 In difficult years he continued the open seats in competitive districts are the hardest for a party to hold on to. Absent an incumbent with any personal reservoir of goodwill parties are left with candidates who are less defined and more vulnerable to political tides waves and undertows ." When it comes to the Senate Silver reported that the prospects for the Democrats to keep their majority in that chamber are quite good However he cautioned that they are probably more likely now to lose seats in the chamber than to add to their majority in spite of 144 Silver N (15 August 2 009) Likel y Voters and Unlikel y Scenarios Fi ve Thir ty Ei g ht Retrieved from http : // w w w fi ve th irt y e ight.com / 2 00 9 / 08 / 1 ike l y v ot e r s a nd-un I ike lys cenarios. htm I 1 45 Center for Responsive Politics (2009). Bi g Pi c ture : R ee l ec ti o n Rat es Ov e r th e Y e ar s Retrieved from http: // www.opensecr e ts.org/bigpicture / reelect.php 146 Cook C. ( 18 September 2009). How High Will GOP Tide Rise? The C o ok Politi c al R e p o rt Retrieved from http ://www. cookpolitical.com/ node / 4886 113

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the spate of Republican retirements in Ohio, Missouri and other states. In a wave-type election a net loss of as many as 4-6 seats is conceivable. "147 That means that ifthe Democrats lose seats in both the Hou se and the Senate it will be that much harder for them to pass any meaningful legislation with smaller majorities, which is especially important on the Senate side where procedural legislative barriers are broken with a 60 votes Having said that chances are that the Democrats will continue to have unified control ofthe government until2012 elections, what is going to happen beyond that is hard to prognosticate. The advantage that the Democrats have in terms of their appeal to the growing demographics, which was discussed in chapter eight might allow them to prolong their majorities for years to come, especially if the newly enacted policies improve economic conditions in the country. Furthermore congressional redistricting, which takes place after 20 I 0 census might benefit the Democrats as well, especially in states where there is an upward trend relating to the population increase among the Hispanics. However, this notion will depend on how redistricting is actually done, as each state has its own rules concerning the redrawing of congressional districts Sam Stein, ofHuffington Post, noted that by some estimates, as many as 25-30 congressional seats can swing from one party to another, depending on how redistricting is completed.148 Prolonged Democratic control of the government also depends on the policy proposals of the current and future governing coalitions, as was discussed in previous chapters on this thesis. Thus, if there are no visible and in some ways substantially 147 Silver N. (15 August 2009). Likely Voters and Unlikely Scenarios FiveThirtyEight Retrieved from http: // www. fi vethirtye ight.com / 2009 / 08 / 1 ike I y-voters-and-un I ike ly-scenario s. htm I 148 Stein S. ( 15 July 2008). GOP Looks To Redistrict Itself Back Into Pow er. The Huffington Post Retrieved from http: // www.huffingtonpost.com / 2008 / 07 / 07 / gop-looks-to-redistrict-i n II 0632 html 114

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improvements in the current economic conditions, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continues to escalate or some sort of political scandals surrounding the Democrats arise-that could potentially change the political landscape in favor of Republicans The Democratic leaning electorate might not necessarily switch their allegiances to the GOP, but they might skip their participation in future electoral contests as was observed in the 1970s and 1980s dealignment, when a lot of Democratic base simply abandoned the party and became politically inactive a reason for the 1960s realignment and the conservative policy swing during the period from 1969-2008. Therefore, the full extent of the compliance of this theoretical notion with the realignment theory will not be known for several decades from now. 115

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CHAPTER 11 EFFECTIVE EXPRESSION OF THE VOTING PUBLIC According the Mayhew, the effective and consequential expression ofthe voting public during realignment (to a far greater degree than non-realigning elections) is the core of the realignment theory. V.O. Key who initially came up with the concept, wrote that "Elections that partake of this critical nature .. are the most striking instances of electoral interposition in the governing process" (Mayhew, 2002 pg. 29). Burnham added to the notion that approximately once in a generation the voting public made vitally important contribution to American political development" (Mayhew 2002, pg 29) This particular claim poses several questions: How has a critical election in question been different from preceding elections in terms of voter viewpoints and interest levels? Has anything significant, historically or pol itically speaking, taken place on the election night, which perhaps has not happened for many years or has not happened before at all? Lastly, was there some sort of a clear and overarching message delivered by voters on a particular election day? Unlike previously discussed parts of realignment theory this particular concept less empirical than others but still can be measured nevertheless. Public expression has always been subjected to different interpretations by various social scientists. And yet, some overarching themes of an election can be extracted and used to measure this particular concept. Certainly nobody would mistake the central theme and the overall importance of the 116

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realignment of the late 1850s and the critical election of 1860 During that election, the electorate although clearly divided between four different political parties gave its majority endorsement to the Republican Party and its platform of preventing the secession of the Southern states and preserving the union. The subsequent reelection of Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and elections of fellow Republican Grant in addition to enjoying big legislative majorities in both houses of Congress, allowed the GOP to continue its policies of anti slavery and reconstruction in the United States. Arguably though no other election in that period from 1864 to 1896 rivaled the one in 1860 in terms of their importance. The sweeping victories ofFDR and the Congressional Democrats in the 1932 elections who ran on a New Deal party platform had similar effects The electorate which gave the Democrats control of the executive and legislative branches during that election, in effect rejected the Republican policies which caused the Great Depression and supported progressive new economic programs of recovery and reform. The three consecutive reelections of FOR confirmed the desire of the electorate to continue with the New Deal policies which began in 1933. Once again it can be argued no other election during the period from 1934 to 1968 rivaled the importance of the one in 1932. Arguably the American electorate did not express itself effectively if the results of the critical election in 1968 are taken into consideration The mostly divided federal government that emerged during the six th party system following 1968 essentially muddled the clarity on this particular topic. However the overriding themes of Law and Order, Cold War as well as scaling back the social programs and important regulatory rules the federal government were still for the most part predominant from 1969 to 2008. Regnery for instance, wrote that the law and order theme resonated with conservatives and won Nixon 117

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many votes. It also established the right as pro-law enforcement and the left as anticop" (Regnery 2008 pg 134). He also added that this Law and Order theme was very effective political issue for many future elections as it linked student demonstrators, black radicals and antiwar protesters who used violence on people and property to other criminals. Thus, starting from the Nixon Administration, the GOP was able to convince, for decades to come, working and middle-class Americans that there was little to no distinction between the some of the policies on the left and common criminals (Regnery, 2008, pg. 134). George H. W. Bush's "Willie Horton" ads featured during the 1988 Presidential campaign played on the theme of liberal left as anticop as it portrayed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis-Democratic candidate for President as soft on crime.149 Berman described that following Nixon s election, the opinion of the electorate on many government programs has shifted. He wrote that "as Reagan shifted gears to prepare for another run at the White House, it was becoming evident that many more people in the county now shared his opinion that government was the problem, not the solution" (Berman, 1998, pg. 149). Even Democrat Bill Clinton in his 1992 Presidential campaign promoted ending the "welfare as we know it in addition to famously stating that "The era of big Government is over." These examples arguably underscore the trends that the electorate leaned more or less towards conservative policies as not only the Republicans but many Democrats also used the "government is too big notion in their campaigns and legislative proposals. Thus, the fact that seven out often Presidents during that time frame were Republicans can be interpreted as demonstrating that 149 Museum of the Moving Image (2008). The Living Room Candidate. Presidential Campaign Comm e rcials 1952-2008 1988 Bush vs. Dukakis Retrieved from http: // www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials / 1988 / will ie-horton 118

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for the most part the majority of electorate effectively wanted to continue conservative policies of the GOP. Although many similarities can be found between the recently concluded elections and critical elections of the past the historic and perhaps once in-a-lifetime nature of the 2008 elections can hardly be disputed The voters when presented with a clear choice between the Democratic or the Republican presidential candidate went for the former by giving Barack Obama one of the largest victories in presidential elections in the last forty years. Obama's 365 Electoral Votes only trailed Bill Clinton s victories in 1992 and 1996 on the Democratic side.150 But there was more to Obama s victory and this election as a whole than just pure election results. Richard Dunham wrote that in 2008 it became inevitable that American voters would make history during that election either the United States "would choose its first president of African ancestry or its first female vice president .' '1 5 1 Stan Greenberg a pollster for the National Public Radio proclaimed that after the election no matter which party actually wins, "nothing s going to look the same. Carolyn Lochhead of San Francisco Chronicle added that the 2008 election represented an end of a 219-year tradition of two white males heading the major parties in the presidential elections. Obama s victory as the first minority U .S. president also meant that for the first time a white-majority country has ever elected a nonwhite head of state ," said Boston University historian Bruce Schulman in 150 U .S. National Archives and Records Administration (2008) 2 00 8 Pr eside ntial El ec tion Results Retrieved from http: // www .a rchives gov / f e deral-register / electoral-college / vote s / index html; U.S National Archives and Records Administration. Histori c al El e ction Results: Electoral College Bo x Scor e s 1789-1996. Retrieved from http :// ww w archives.gov / fed e ral-register / elector alcollege / s cores.html 1 5 1 Dunham R. S. (2 November 2008) What else makes this campaign unique Election holds some rarities that go beyond race and gender. H o uston Chronicl e Retrieved from http : // www.chron.com / di s p / story .mpllchron icle / 6090417 .htm I 119

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the same article.152 In comparison, the equivalent would be "of a Jamaican-descended prime minister of Britain, an Algerian-descended president of France or a Turkish German chancellor. That's pretty astonishing in world historical terms ," added Schulman. Furthermore, Dunham identified 2008 presidential election as a rare display of generational contest where candidates from the competing parties were 25 years apart in age. Also, he supposed that this election could potentially mark the end of three decades of bitter postVietnam politics and with it the discussions of swift boats, draft evasion, National Guard records and anti-war bomb plots." More importantly though with respect to the realignment theory 2008 elections were in many ways the mandate elections. Of course the meaning of the word Mandate in the scope of political wins can be interpreted in many different ways. However with thousands of news and magazine articles found on Google with search words of2008 Elections, Obama and Mandate can serve as proof that at least in many journalistic circles 2008 elections are considered as such. In one ofthose articles, David Paul Kuhn of Politico described Barack Obama's 34-point advantage among the voters under 30 as the most impressive youth mandate in modem American history ."153 Mike Littwin ofthe Rocky Mountain News wrote that the results of the elections might even be called "a mandate as he (Obama] brings with him large Democratic majorities into Congress"154 Vaughn Ververs, of CBS News wrote that the sheer magnitude of the victory, the size of which has been unseen in presidential election 152 Lochhead, C. (2 November 2008). Why Obama-McCain race deserves 'historic' label. The San Francisco Gate. Retrieved from http: // www.sfgate.com / cgibin/article .cg i ?f= / c / a/200 8 / l I / 0 I / MN4N 1 3 RUA5 DTL&type = printabl e 153 Kuhn D. P. (8 November 2008). Obama has historic youth mandate Politico. Retrieved from http ://news.yahoo.com / s / politico / 2008 1 I 08 /pl politico / 1 5441 154 Littwin M. (5 November 2008). LITTWIN : Obama's victory redefines America The Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved from http : // www.rockymountainnews.com / news/ 2008 / nov / 05 / littwin obamas-victory-redefines-02 / 120

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in decades is enough to be considered a mandate.155 Lastly Dan Balz of Washington Post proclaimed that on the presidential side 2008 election was a mandate to go in a different direction than President Bush has led the country for the last eight years. That's how President-elect Obama ran the campaign from the very beginning And that's how he won the campaign. "156 With those words Dan Balz perhaps makes the best case from the stand point of realignment theory that the voting public clearly expressed its desire for a Change to the country's direction and the people voted in big numbers for a candidate who promised to bring them that Change In the end the historic firsts in the American political system were combined with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in addition to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan McCarthy wrote that the historic nature of the contest combined with grave problems facing the nation have raised interest in this election as much as any in recent years. Whether any elections in the next four decades can top this once in-a-life-time combination of events in one single election is hard to predict. The realignment theory, however forecasts that the odds of that kind of occurrence taking place in the near future are very slim. 155 Ververs V (5 November 2008) A Mandate For Change CBS Ne ws Retrieved from http :// www cbsnew s. com / s torie s / 2 008 / I I / 05 / po I itics / ma in45 72553 s htm I 156 MSNBC. (II November 2008). Trans c ript : 'I600 P e nns y lvania Ave nu e'for Tue sday, Novemb e r I I 200 8 Retrieved from http : // www.m s nbc.m s n com /id/ 2 769968 2 / 121

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CHAPTER12 CONCLUSION Throughout this thesis a great deal of data has been presented and for the most part it supports the overall notion that there are early signs that point to electoral realignment taking place between 2005 through 2008. The initial indicators also point towards the possibility that the 2008 elections especially on the presidential level were critical from the standpoint of realignment theory as they represented not only a turnaround from the policies of the last forty years but also symbolized a change in terms of the overall direction of this county on the domestic and foreign policy fronts. In order to prove this preliminary notion I have utilized a fifteen claim testing method which was developed by David Mayhew. In the second chapter I brought forth historical and empirical evidence that showed the cyclical nature of American elections The data discovered by realignment theorists illustrated that during each 30 to 40 year cycles, one political party more or less dominated the electoral landscape of this country. In between c y cles a tr a nsition period took place which represented a period of realignment. In the end the realignment phase culminated with a critical election which represented a start of another cycle in American politics The compiled data in that chapter ultimately showcased the c y clical nature and consistent periodicity of realignments thus further proving the first claim of the Mayhew's testing method. 122

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In the third chapter I have showcased the tension building aspect of the realignment theory in the context of the 2006 and 2008 elections. By utilizing primary and secondary data analysis of public opinion polls, I illustrated growing frustration of the majority ofthe electorate during the period from 2005 -2008 The dissatisfaction with the overall direction of the country as well as the war in Iraq and economic instability were the primary reasons for the formation of the so called First Motor. I also made a historical comparison to prior realigning periods to further demonstrate the conformity of the 2006 and 2008 elections to the 2"d claim of Mayhew' s theoretical model. In chapter 4 I explored the trends of the Party Identification numbers for the last four years and how these recent tendencies connected with the realignment theory. By employing a number of charts and graphs as well as additional public opinion surveys, I showed that there was fundamental swing in Party 10 statistics during the period from 2005 to 2008 towards the Democrats The apparent weakening of the identification numbers for GOP and strengthening numbers for the Democrats in 2008 confirmed the viability of the Second Motor claim in relation to the 2008 elections. In chapter 5 the investigation of the voter turnout numbers in the 2008 and historical comparison of them to the prior critical elections revealed that while the overall increase in voter participation was relatively modest it was mainly due to the low levels of excitement among the GOP voters which directly translated into decreased participation among the Republicans. On the other hand the significant increase in numbers among the Democratic voters who were arguably very excited about the election and Independents directly lead to the highest percentage in total voter participation in the last forty years. Thus the theoretical 123 I

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notion that during realignment and critical elections the v oter turnout is unusually high was mainly proven to be correct for the 2008. In chapter 6 I have explored the effects of the nomination battles for the two major political parties within the realignment theory The evidence has shown that on the Democratic side some factional division s, which originated during the primaries spilled over into the party convention On the Republican side the potential for the turmoil during the convention was quite high as well. Overall if compared to the prior presidential nominating years in the last four decades in 2008 the process was by far the most eventful and unpredictable In the end the factional divisions which were observed during the primaries and at the party conventions represented a philosophical and generational divide of the electorate. This divide played itself out during the general elections and thus confirming at least in part the relationship between realignments and turmoil during the conventions. In chapter 7 I have tested the theoretical notion that shortly before or during realignments independent or third parties tend to perform quite well at the election polls. My research showed that although third party candidates did quite well during the presidential elections in 1992 1996 and even in 2000 the performance of these parties in 2004 and 2008 was quite dismal. Both the Republicans and the Democrats were able to consolidate their support within the electorate and those voters who were unhappy with the presidential nominees ended up skipping voting for the president all together as oppose to voting for a minor party candidate. Therefore the third party claim of Mayhew did not play itself out in the 2008 elections or during the realignment period from 2004-2008. In chapter 8 I have investigated three distinct and interdependent claims of polarization of electorate new voter cleavage and national implications on congressional 124

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races. The research showed that in 2008, the voters were as polarized as their elective representatives and that voter cleavage although did not dramatically change in its core composition, it was still altered by the historical standards in terms of rapidly swelling rolls of the Democratic leaning electorate. Lastly, I discovered that in many House of Representative races local issues were put on the backburner and national issues of economy, two wars and healthcare came to the forefront. In chapters 9 and I 0, I have discussed future implications of the Democratic victories in on the presidential and congressional levels in terms of the changes and long term effects on the governmental policies and how that might affect a long term potential of unified party control. The data presented in these chapters pointed towards significant upward redistributive changes which in theory suppose to rival the 1930s New Deal. If those policy changes do indeed take place history shows that the Democrats have a good chance of holding on to their majorities and therefore have a long period of unifying control of the government. Still some of the data and conclusions that were brought forth in those chapters are approximate and therefore any changes within these two Mayhew claims can in down the road can affect the overall interpretation of the realignment case. In chapter 11, l found enough evidence that showed these 2008 elections to be historic on many levels and that at this point of time can be considered as monumental as 1860 Republican takeover and the election of Lincoln and 1932 Democratic takeover and election of FOR History of course will judge whether indeed the historic label can be appropriately applied to the last year s political events. Therefore, based on the results of the Mayhew's 15 point testing metric I believe that there are enough initial indicators to 125

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pronounce that the 2008 elections were critical in nature and they represented culmination of realignment period from appro x imately 2005-2008 On a pure historic level last year s elections in this country represented what some might call political, cultural and sociological paradigm shifts. Adam Nagorney of the New York Times wrote that the conventional wisdom of the political campaigns has been completely reshaped during the 2008 primary and general elections.157 He suggested that the rules on how to reach voters fundraise as well as organize supporters have radically changed Furthermore internet blogs became a major communication tool not just for the campaigns but also for the traditional mainstream media something, Nagorne y noted did not exist four years ago Mark McKinnon a senior adviser to President George W. Bush s campaigns in 2000 and 2004, told Nagorney that in 2008 both the Democratic and the Republican presidential campaigns leveraged the Internet in ways never imagined. The year we went to warp speed. The year the paradigm got turned upside down and truly became bottom up instead oftop down. Lincoln Mitchell ofthe Huffington Post also noted paradigm shifts in his postelection column He wrote that Obama s victory will force political strategists pundits and other sociological observers to completely rethink many assumptions regarding the presidential elections. For instance we can no longer proclaim that this country is not ready for an African-American president as Obama s election put an end to that line of thinking Additionally Hillary Clinton s primary campaign though not necessarily successful 157 Na g ourney A (3 November 2008) The 08 Campaign: Sea Chan g e for Politics as We Know It The N ew York Times. Retrieved from http : // www.n y time s com / 2 008 /ll/ 04 /us/ politic s / 04m e mo html 126

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"probab ly moved us closer to electing a woman president. Obama's victory also opens the doors for other non-white candidates from both parties. "158 A great number of scholars put forth similar opinions on the subject of2008 elections and the apparent paradigm shifts. For instance, Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University, noted comparable patterns when he called 2008 elections as "Monumental . a major shift in the zeitgeist of our times 159 Additionally, James McPherson professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, for his part called Obama s victory a "historic turning point ... an exclamation point of major proportions to the civil rights movement that goes back to the 1950s ."160 Doris Goodwin the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and political commentator wrote that "the racial milestone will be much larger than we've even imagined in the course of these last couple of years," and that compared to other historical events associated with race relations in this country the concept of an African-American holding the nation's highest office "is just enormous ," she said .1 6 1 Therefore, alongside the empirical evidence and data that was presented in this thesis, the apparent confirmation of paradigm shifts from the historical and socio logical point of view serves as further prove of the apparent realignment. In conclusion, I believe it would be appropriate to consider some changes to the process of examination of realignments and the theory itself. Throughout my entire research I have read countless number of books journal entrees as well as newspaper and magazine 158 Mitchell L. (10 December 2008). The 2008 Elections and What We Thought We Knew. The Huffing/on Post. Retrieved from http : // www .hu ffingtonpost.com / lincoln-mitchell/the-2008-elections and-wh b 150007.html 159 Lewan T (9 November 2008). Historians too call Obama victory 'monumental. The USA Today. Retrieved from http: // www.usatoday com/news / politics / election2008 /2008-II-0 9-obamahistory N.htm 160 Ibid. 161 Ibid. 127

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articles and during that process I have found that many scholars and journalists tend to create or use different definitions of what constitutes a realignment and how do we measure or scientifically prove that it actually took place which in turn creates plenty of confusion. I took the testing approach of David Mayhew because I believed it to be more or less straight forward and easy to replicate. However that does not mean that Mayhew s testing method was entirely correct and therefore future development of a better assessment model might be necessary. Additionally it might wise also to narrow down the exact definition of realignment and all the scientific terms relating to it. 128

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CHAPTER13 EPILOGUE Several months have gone by since the completion of the major portions of this thesis and the political environment in this country has changed to the point where some realignment related questions need to be readdressed. Since the congressional recess in late August the public and political discourse in this country has become even more divisive than it has ever been especially in relation to President Obama and his political agenda The healthcare reform which has become the primary objective of the Obama administration has been moving rather slowly. The debate on the healthcare legislation has not only polarized the electorate but subsequently the Congress as well and as of November 2009 its once certain passage is no longer assured. To illustrate the divisiveness we only need to look at the footage of the speeches and remarks made by the citizens during the townhall meetings with their respective representatives, and subsequently by those representatives themselves on the floor of Congress. The rather baseless rumors of the so called Death Panels that medical car e will be rationed or that private insurance will be outlawed have completely poisoned the legitimate healthcare debate.162 Although the House of Representatives passed their own version 129

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ofthe Healthcare bill with the final vote tally of220-215, they were only able to achieve that by including a stem anti-abortion amendment that would severely restrict women's ability to purchase abortion coverage insurance on the newly proposed healthcare exchange.163 On the Senate side, the Finance and HELP (Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions) committees have passed their own versions of the healthcare bills and a combined bill is set to be debated in December, 2009. However, with four of the most conservative members in the Democratic caucus in the Senate all but set to filibuster the bill, the chances of passage of the final legislation in the Senate are not necessarily high.164 Coupled with the seeming inability thus far to pass healthcare reform and stop continuing losses in hundreds of thousands every month on the job market, the public opinion polls showed dissatisfaction of the electorate with the Democratic led Congress and President Obama. For instance, Obama's approval rating, which once was as high as 67%, is now down to about 53% as ofNovember 3, 2009 Gallup poll. That puts him second from the last in terms of job approval rank of all the presidents 162 False rumor: Health care proposals would create government-sponsored "death panels" to decide which patients were worthy of living Rutenberg, J. & Calmes, J. (13 August 2009). False 'Death Panel Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots. The New York Times. Retrieved from http :// www.nytimes.com/2009 / 08114 / health / policy / 14panel.html ; Jackson, B. Henig J., Novak, V. & Robertson, L. (14 August, 2009). Seven Falsehoods About Health Care. FactCheck. Retrieved from http://www. factcheck org/2009 /08/ seven-fa I sehoods-a bouthe a I th-care / 163 Grim R ., Stein S. Shapiro L., & Pitney N. (8 November, 2009). House Health Care Vote: Breaking Updates The Huffing/on Post Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com /2009/ I I / 07 /house-health-care-vote-br n 349468.html 164 Whitesides, J. (20 November, 2009). Moderate Democrat boosts Senate health bill. Reuters Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com / article / topNews / idUSN 1812587720091 120 130

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elected since the World War 11.165 Furthermore, the electorate apparently soured on the Congressional Democrats as well, with Gallup showing 48%-44% advantage for the Republicans over the Democrats in the 201 0 Generic Congressional Ballot poll. To put it in perspective, that 4 percent advantage for the GOP represents a 10 point turnaround in a span of roughly four months.166 The dissatisfaction of the electorate with the current state of affairs, especially on the economic front, was displayed during the 2009 elections in the states of Virginia and New Jersey. In an ABC News post election story, it was reported that exit polls showed that over 80% of the voters in those states were worried about the economic direction of the country.167 Furthermore the report also showed that those voters who were particularly discontent about the economic conditions of the country heavily favored the Republican candidates which directly led to the GOP capturing both governor races. Thus, it would be fair to conclude that President Obama and the Democratic Party potentially faces a number of challenges for the next year's midterm elections, if economic conditions in this country do not improve. In tum, this puts a big question mark on the earlier realignment notion of long term party control, 165 Newport, F. (3 November, 2009). One Year After Election, Americans Less Sure About Obama Gallup. Retrieved from http: // www. gallup.com / poii/124085 /0ne-Year-Eiection-Americans-Less-Sure Obama.aspx 166 Jones, J M. (II November 2009) Republicans Edge Ahead of Democrats in 2010 Vote Gallup. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com / poll / 124226 / Republicans-Edge-Ahead-Democrats-20 I 0Vote.aspx 167 Langer, G. (3 November 2009). '09 Exit Polls: Voters Wary of Economy, Obama Not a Factor Discontent Voters Heavily Favored Republicans in VA, NJ Races. ABC News. Retrieved from http: // abcnews. go com / Po II ing Unit/PoI itics / e lection2009-virgin iajersey-exit -polls-obama economy / story?id = 8984551 131

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as it is not out of the realms of possibility that Republicans take over at least one legislative chamber in Congress. Although the political environment for the Democrats has certainly worsened in just over a year, the GOP's problems have not necessarily gone away. The internal strife between the so called Tea-Party wing168 and the mainstream wing of the Republican Party has grown rather exponentially In fact, the Democratic win in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional district in last month's elections is mostly contributed to the internal battle between a Republican and a Conservative Party candidate. Moreover, David Frum wrote that "the Republican fratricide in the Nov. 3 special election in upstate New York may prove just an opening round of an even more spectacular bloodbath in Florida in 201 0," where current Governor Charlie Crist is being challenged by the former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio, mainly because of Crist's endorsement and campaigning for the Obama stimulus, whereas Rubio opposed it.169 In another example, Lynsi Burton, of Houston Chronicle, reported that there are at least five state races in Texas where Republicans are being challenged by the conservative Tea Party candidates .170 To add to that, a recently published so-called GOP purity platform, introduced by one ofthe 168 Tea Party wing of the Republican Party is mostly composed of a group of the electorate who are fiscally conservative, free marketers and are for small government. Teo, D. (22 November, 2009). Tea Parties Organizing Training For 20 I 0 Under The Radar. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http :// www huffingtonpost.com / dawn-teo / tea-party-20 I 0-gop-revolt b 367096.html 169 Frum D. (I 5 November, 2009). Republicans heading for a bloodbath in Florida. CNN. Retrieved from http :// www.cnn.com / 2009 /0PIN ION / I I I I 5 / frum gop florida.crist.rubio battle / 170 Burton L. (I 6 November 2009). GOP's latest foes hail from Tea Party Republicans in 5 state races may find new fights on their right flanks The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.chron com / disp / story.mpllchronicle / 6722358.html 132

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Republican National Committee members, which if implemented would restrict party funding for those who don't adhere to the 7 of 10 rules of the party, promises to divide the GOP even more. Mark McKinnon, former GOP strategist, thinks that this policy will ultimately doom Republican comeback and will shrink the party's ranks even more. 171 In the end it appears that both political parties face big challenges in the upcoming 2010 elections. Democrats who are in power will need to show the voters enough progress on the economic front in order for to minimize losses in the next year's elections GOP on the other hand, will need to stop internal infighting in order to try to get back to power. From the realignment standpoint, 2010 elections will give us a better insight into whether or not the realignment tendencies, especially those relating to the long term unified party control and the effects of the new governmental policies, will indeed hold as it was earlier proposed in this thesis. 1 7 1 McKinnon M (24 November, 2009). The GOP's Blacklist. The Dail y Beast Retrieved from http ://www. thedai lybeast.com/b log s -and-storie s / 2009-1 124 / the-gops-b lack I ist/?c id= hp: blogunit I 133

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APPENDIX 1A Figure 4.1. Party Identification Gap from 1976 to 2008 Generally speaking, do yo u usually con s id er yourself a Republican. a Democrat, a n I ndepende nt or w h a t ? ALL 50 .. DEMOCRAT + 10 PCT PT W"">J' I REPUBLICAN 10 ...... ... .... 76 08 WHITES 50 ...... .............. 10 '76 86 96 '08 MEN 50 ..... 30 2 ....... 1 0 .... ........... '76 86 '96 '08 1 B-29 YEAR OLDS 50. +1 30 10 ............. ........ '76 86 9 WOMEN 50 +76 1 0 76 '8 6 9 08 SOUTH 1 0 ........................... : .. '76 oo '96 oo B ased on 486.917 adults int e r vie ed by telephone in 40 nati ona l s urveys conduc t ed 1976 thr ough 2008 by T he Nevi York Times a n d CBS News. Mu ltiple surveys for eac h 'e r h ave bee n combined Those vho said th ey vere independent o r had n o response are no t s hown. liiE. KE.I\'\ K Source: Connelly, M. (28 February, 2009). Ailing G.O.P Risks Losing a Generation The New York Times. Retrieved from http ://ww w.nytimes.com/2009 /03/ 0 I /we ekinreview / 0 I connelly htm I 134

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APPENDIX 2A Table 4.1. State b y State changes in Party Identification from 1993 to 2002 Changes In Part i san Ident i ficat i on From 1993 to 2002 % A. Dill rt!nce Stat e Republican/ Demo c r a U bet w een Change L an Lean ond Republlun Oemocr"t Oem 2002 1993 2002 1993 2002 1993 Uta h 63 6 4 9 0 28 6 39 2 35 0 9 8 25 2 I i"ISi& IJ>PI 5-4. 2 42 7 3 7 6 50 0 1 8 6 7 3 23 9 Lourua n a 42 4 32 4 48 5 62 4 30 0 23.9 \i'lyo m w1g 666 5 2 0 24. 5 33 5 1 18 5 23 6 M10ncso 4 4 7 32 1 46 4 55 1 . 7 23 0 2U 46 6 34 0 44. 8 5 7 8 1 7 7 19. 5 Ohi O 4 9 1 39 6 40 6 4 9 6 8 5 1 0 0 1 8 5 Old ahoma 48 1 37 9 H 4 5 5 5 0 7 1 7 6 1 8.2 Texas 52 4 4 2 8 39 6 4 8.2 1 2 8 5 4 1 8 1 Alab a m a 48 7 38 2 44 0 50 9 4 7 1 2 7 1 7. 4 Georgia 48 8 38. 8 44 6 53 8 2 0 15. 0 1 7 0 Idaho 1>0. 1 48. 8 3 1 3 38 3 28 8 1 2 5 1 8 4 Tennessee 4 9.5 4 1 1 4 5 4 8 6 8 0 -7 5 15 5 South Oa. o t a 5 3 .2 48 4 38 0 8 6 1 5.2 1 8 1 3 4 K<'ll lucky 46 2 39 8 47 3 5-4. 2 -1.1 H .4 1 3 3 k>Wd 44. 0 36 2 U 8 H 6 0 2 1 4 1t 6 Ncb1a.ska 55 7 5 1 2 34 4 H 1 2 1.3 1 0 1 1 1. 2 C olorado 4 9 9 3 9 5 45 8 1 0 -0 3 1 0 7 VVisconsin U 6 36 1 46 6 4 9 7 -3 0 -13. 6 1 0 6 w t Vi!gontB 38.3 3 8 508 5 6 9 1 2 5 -23 1 1 0 6 AnLonu 5-4. 0 49 4 38 8 4 2 5 1 7 2 8 9 1 0 4 Oclwat., 42 8 3 7 0 48.< 52 5 5 6 1 5 5 9 8 II 42 4 37 8 47 7 52.2 5 .3 -14. 4 9 1 I'IChtgan 4-4 4 38 6 43 7 4 7 0 0 7 9 1 Norlrl Caro a 48 1 4 3 7 H 6 49 2 3 5 -.5. 5 9 0 S outlt Cnrohna 50 0 45 9 40A 45 .3 9 8 0 6 9 0 Virginia 48 7 4 3.5 41.2 7 5 3 8 8 North D a kota 49 3 45 7 36 6 4 5 1 2 7 4 .2 8 5 New .1e>xico 48 7 42 4 4 2 5 6 2 . 9 8 1 ln d .ann 3 9 3 4 3 J 1 0 0 2 8 7 2 Ca fornla 39 8 49 4 51.9 1 2 1 5 3 N ew arnp
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APPENDIX 3A Figure 4.3 2002 Postelection State by State map representing Republican advantage in Party Identification LEG Ei\ 0 Source: Jones, J M (7 January, 2003). Special Report : State-by-State Analysis Reveals Republican Shift. Gallup Retrieved from http: //www. gallup com/poii/7543/Special-Report StatebyState-Analysis-Reveals-Republican-Shift aspx 136

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APPENDIX4A Table 4.2. State by State shift of the electoral support towards the Democrats. Dem. Independent Rep. !Advantage Number +Lean (non-+Lean (% Dem. of leaning) minus Inter-State %Rep.) views % % % % District of Columbia 80.3 1.5 18.2 62.1 8o Rhode Island 61.1 11.7 27.2 33 156 Delaware 63 6 6 30.1 __13.2 112 Massachusetts 56.7 9.2 34-1 22.6 976 Connecticut 55-5 10.1 34-4 21.1 533 New York 55-2 8.1 36.7 18.5 2361 New Jersey 53-7 8.7 37-5 16.2 1060 Oregon 53-5 7-6 38.9 14.6 747 New Hampshire 52-7 8-4 38.9 13.8 268 West Virginia 53.2 6.7 40.2 13 370 Maryland 52-9 6.8 40-4 12.5 714 Nevada 52 8.2 39-7 12.3 339 Michigan 52 7-9 40.1 11._2_ 13__54 Maine 49.6 12.6 37 8 11.8 314 Washington 49.8 12 38.2 11.6 1112 !Arkansas 51.8 7-7 40-5 11.3 462 Minnesota 51 8.5 405 10.5 866 Illinois 51.8 6-4 41.8 10 1_3_87 California 50-9 7-4 41.7 _2_. 2 4172 Kentucky 51.6 5 5 42-9 8.7 744 Missouri 50 8.3 41.7 8.3 938 New Mexico 49-7 8-4 41.9 7.8 317 Ohio 49-4 8.2 42-4 7 1791 Iowa 493 7.6 43-1 6.2 522 Louisiana 49.8 6 6 43.6 6.2 548 !Vermont 46.6 11.6 41.9 4-7 140 Wisconsin 47 1 10 42 9 4-2 878 Pennsylvania 48 7-5 445 _a.5 2374 Colorado 47-2 8.9 43-9 3-3 88o North Carolina 47 7-2 45-7 1.3 1430 Florida 46.9 7-5 45.6 1.3 23_5_0 !Virginia 46.2 8 45.8 0-4 1155 Montana 41.8 16. 6 41.6 0 2 211 137

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Tennessee 46.7 6.5 46.8 0 893 Oklahoma 45 6.5 47 6 -1.7 624 [Alabama 44 7 47 -3.2 665 Georgia 7 48.2 -3.9 1125 !Arizona 43 8.8 47.8 -4 842 South Dakota 41.1 11.8 47.1 -6 112 Indiana 41.1 9.8 49.2 -8 1 955 Mississippi 40 9-4 50.7 -10.7 374 Kansas 39 7 7 52.6 -12.9 430 South Carolina 38.3 8.8 52.9 -14.6 592 Texas 37.6 9 -15.9 2574 Idaho 36 10.1 53.2 -16.5 308 N oith Dakota 33.8 10.1 56.1 -22 3 95 Nebraska 33.1 10 56.9 264 Wyoming 30.6 9.2 60.2 -29.6 109 Utah 30.9 8.3 6o.8 -29.9 364 Source: Jones, Jeffrey M. (23 January, 2006) Special Report: Many States Shift Democratic During 2005. Gallup. http: // www gallup com/poll/21 004 / SpecialReport -Many-States-ShiftDemocratic During-2005.aspx 138

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APPENDIX 5A Table 4.3. State by state Democratic Party advantage in Party Identification in 2007. Dem./ Ind. Rep./ Dem.-Lean (no Lean Dem. lean) Rep. Rep.Adv State % % % % Rhode Island 66 8 26 40 Vermont 64 9 27 37 Massachusetts 63 8 29 34 Connecticut 61 11 29 32 Arkansas 6o 6 34 26 Maine 58 10 32 26 New York 58 8 34 24 West Virginia s8 8 34 24 Maryland 58 7 35 23 New Hampshire ss 12 3:1 22 Missouri 55 8 37 18 Washington 54 10 36 18 Michigan 52 11 37 15 Ohio 53 8 39 15 New Jersey 52 10 38 14 Illinois S2 9 39 13 Kentucky 54 6 41 13 New Mexico 54 5 41 13 Minnesota S:1 6 41 12 California S1 8 40 11 Florida 51 9 40 11 Iowa 51 10 40 11 North Carolina 52 7 41 11 Oregon 49 12 39 10 Virginia 51 8 41 10 Nevada 48 12 40 8 139

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Pennsylvania so 9 42 8 Indiana 49 10 42 7 Oklahoma 50 7 43 7 Arizona so 6 44 6 Wisconsin 49 9 42 6 Montana 47 11 42 5 Georgia 48 8 44 4 Kansas 48 8 44 4 Alabama 49 5 46 3 Louisiana 47 10 44 3 Tennessee 47 9 44 3 Colorado 47 7 46 1 Mississippi 44 7 49 -s South Dakota 41 11 48 -7 South Carolina 44 6 so -7 Texas 42 8 so -8 Nebraska 37 9 55 -18 Idaho 35 11 54 -19 Utah 33 6 62 -29 Source: Jones, J. M. (30 January, 2007). Democratic Edge in Partisanship in 2006 Evident at National, State Levels. Gallup. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poii/26308/Democratic-Edge-Partisanship-2006-Evident-Nationai State-Levels.aspx 140

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APPENDIX 6A Figure 4.4 Trend of changes in Party Identification including leaners from 19912009 Leaned J>mty n. A hy ( uurte 19 1-200 Gulhq Pc ll. .. R puhli an / L u n R publi un D -111 1 at / l : un 111 1ati 6 1: ? ;): ; t O 1 99 1 1 99.) 1 9 7 1999 2) I 2 ;'-3 -.) ) / 09 \LLI "I' Source : Jones, J. M. (30 April 2009). Democrats Maintain Seven-Point Advantage in Party ID. Gallup. Retrieved from http: //www.ga llup.com / poll / 118084 / Democrats-Maintain-Seven Point-Advant ageParty .as p x 141

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APPENDIX 7A Figure 4.5. Partisan Gap by Generational Group Parti. an Gap hy G nerational Group '\,( u1 K l u l minu,; '\,l'tpuhli.-an I l 2 0 C n 1 :1L ion Y 29 C ner ution. ..,c 1 1 B h U o om r: ( ) 6 .., Callup (>(llllluih .. Ian .:.!-\lay .i _uoq fr.\LU l eni >r... 1-Source : Newport F (8 May 2009). Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers. Gallup Retrieved from http: / / www.gallup.com/poli/118285/Democrats-Best Among-Generation-Baby-Boomers.aspx?CSTS=alert 142

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APPENDIX 18 Figure 5 .1. Voter turnout in U.S elections from 1824-1968. 90 80 70 Ill (!) ::0 cr. 60 Qi 0 Q) 50 til ell c Q) (,) ... 40 Q) c. ell Ill ell 30 1932 1940 Source: Mayhew D. R. Ele c toral R e alignm e nt s : A Critiqu e of an A m e rican G e nr e New Haven: Yale University Press 2002 143

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APPENDIX 28 Table 5.1. 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics in the U.S. State VEP 2008 Voting Change 2008 Voter Total Voter Eligible '04 to '08 Registration Registration Population Rate United States 87.90% 186 983 927 212 720 027 5.40% Alabama 88.60% 3 010 638 3 398 289 5.90% Alaska 103.80% 495 731 477 763 4.40% Arizona 84.00% 3 441 141 4 096 006 18.80% Arkansas 82.80% 1_1684 240 2 033 146 -0.10% California 78.70% 17,304 091 21 993 429 4.50% Colorado 93.30% 3 210 258 3 441 907 3.10% Connecticut 85.30% 2 091 980 2 451 296 3.90% Delaware 96.60% 601 348 622 664 9.10% District of Columbia 97.40% 426 761 438 201 11.20% Florida 90.50% 11 247 634 12 426 633 9.20% Georgia 90.10% 5 755 750 6 390 590 16.20% Hawaii 76.90% 691 356 898 922 6.80% Idaho 83.30% 861,869 1 034 402 8.00% Illinois 87.90% 7 732,908 8 794 625 3.10% Indiana 97.40% 4 513 615 4 634 261 5 .10% Iowa 99.60% 2 190 158 2 199 849 11.10% Kansas 88.40% 1 749 759 1 978 713 3.30% Kentucky 92.10% 2 906,809 3 156 794 4.00% Louisiana 93.30% 2 945 618 3 158 676 0.80% Maine 104.30% 1 068 461 1 024 699 4.30% Maryland 88.30% 3 432 645 3 888 726 11.80% Massachusetts 90.70% 4 220 488 4 652 749 3.00% Michigan 102.90% 7 470 764 7 263 250 4.30% Minnesota 100.50% 3 742 121 3 721 943 5.10% 144

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Mississippi 89.70% 1 895 583 2 114 108 -1.40% Missouri 97.90% 4 205 774 4 296 592 0.30% Montana 90.10% 668 085 741 538 4.60% Nebraska 90.50% 1 157 034 1 278.980 -0.30% Nevada 87.50% 1 446 425 1 652 846 35.00% New Hampshire 96.10% 958 528 997 247 12.00% New Jersey 92.40% 5 401 528 5 844 477 7.90% New Mexico 89.30% 1 229 163 1 376 025 11.20% New York 91.30% 12 031 312 13 183 464 1.60% North Carolina 95.10% 6 233 330 6 551 412 12.80% North Dakota 100.00% 486 871 486 871 0 .90% Ohio 97.10% 8 291 239 8 541 239 4 .00% Oklahoma 84.70% 2 184 092 2 578 351 1.90% Oreqon 79.90% 2 153 914 2 695 058 0 .60% Pennsylvania 93.50% 8 758 031 9 363 381 4 .70% Rhode Island 93.00% 701 307 754 438 2.00% South Carolina 77.90% 2 553 923 3 279 329 10.30% South Dakota 96.20% 575 632 598 635 4.20% Tennessee 87.10% 3 946 481 4,533 233 6.50% Texas 91.80% 13,575 062 14.780 857 3.60% Utah 80.10% 1 432 525 1 787 350 12.10% Vermont 93.20% 454 466 487 430 2.20% Virqinia 91.50% 5 034 660 5 500 265 11.40% Washinqton 80.00% 3 630 118 4 535 438 3.30% West Virqinia 86.00% 1 212 117 1 409 823 3.70% Wisconsin 89.70% 3 688 195 4 113 565 -11.60% Wyoming 72.50% 282 389 389 304 21.50% Source: McDonald M 20 08 General E lection Voter Registration Statistics. United States Elections Project. Retri eved from http ://e lection s.gm u .e du / Registration 2008G. html 145

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APPENDIX 38 Table 5 .2. General Election Voter Registration Statistics by party affiliation on State by State bases. State Dem Rep Other lndep Total Alaska 76 729 126 583 29 605 262 814 495 731 Arizona 1 161 982 1 262 871 28 103 988 185 3 441 141 California 7 683 495 5 428 052 747 621 3 444 923 17 304 091 Colorado 1 056 080 1 065 154 19 525 1 069 499 3 210 258 Connecticut 778 291 425 376 7 562 880 751 2 091 980 Delaware 279 167 181 850 140 331 0 601 348 District of Columbia 321 027 30 465 5 929 69 340 426 761 Florida 4 722 076 4 064 301 358 138 2 103 119 11 247 634 Iowa 749 530 634 680 1 263 804 685 2 190 158 Kansas 484 710 771 019 11 147 482 883 1 749 759 Kentucky 1 662 093 1 053 871 190 845 0 2 906 809 Louisiana 1 546 582 744 104 654,932 0 2 945 618 Maine 347 023 283 872 34,375 403,191 1 068 461 Maryland 1 946 823 927 798 72 370 485 654 3 432,645 Massachusetts 1 559 464 490 259 28 887 2 141 878 4 220 488 Nebraska 392 943 558 465 10 119 195 507 1 157,034 Nevada 625 109 513 574 78 632 229 110 1 446 425 New Hampshire 282 421 280 507 0 395 600 958 528 New Jersey 1 794 906 1 057 365 2 415 2 546 842 5 401 528 New Mexico 602 983 401 791 32 374 192 015 1 229 163 New York 5 831 445 3 054 520 621 653 2 523 694 12 031 312 North Carolina 2 849 979 1 994 494 3 370 1 385 487 6 233 330 146

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Oklahoma 1 079 373 859 872 0 244 847 2 184 092 Oreqon 929 741 695,677 96 574 431 922 2 153 914 Pennsylvania 4 480 691 3 243 391 568 981 464 968 8 758 031 Rhode Island 298 388 76 651 0 326 268 701 307 South Dakota 204 413 241 528 2 048 82 473 575 632 West Virqinia 675 305 353,437 16 264 167 111 1 212 117 Wyominq 72577 168 431 1 474 39 907 282 389 Source: McDonald M. 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics. United States Elections Project. R etrieved from http :// elections gmu edu/Registration 2008G.html 147

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APPENDIX 48 Table 5.3. Voter Registration Statistics by party affiliation on State by State bases change from 2004-2008 Change'04to'08 State Dem Rep Other lndep Total Alaska 6.60% 7.00% -11.50% 4.70% 4.40% Arizona 15.70% 10.90% 30.10% 35.10% 18.80% California 7.90% -5.50% -2.30% 17.70% 4.50% Colorado 11.40% -5.40% 57.00% 3.90% 3.10% Connecticut 16.40% -3.90% 97.40% -1.90% 3.90% Delaware 15.80% 0.20% 9.20% 9.10% District of Columbia 12.20% 0.90% -12.40% 13.90% 11.20% Florida 10.80% 4.40% 36.90% 11.50% 9.20% Iowa 24.60% 4.20% 5.70% 11.10% Kansas 6.70% -1.50% -4.80% 8.50% 3.30% Kentucky 2 .90% 5.70% 4.70% 4.00% Louisiana -4.40% 6.20% 8.40% 0 .80% Maine 8.70% -1.20% 42.30% 2.60% 4.30% Maryland 14.50% 2.90% 127.60% 11.10% 11.80% Massachusetts 2.10% -7.90% -26.90% 7.10% 3.00% Nebraska -1.00% -3.00% 4.40% 9.90% -0.30% Nevada 45.40% 18.30% 73.10% 41.80% 35.00% New Hampshire 23.70% 5.00% 9.80% 12.00% -New Jersey 54.30% 19.50% -87.50% 13.30% 7.90% New Mexico 9.50% 11.70% 6.80% 16.40% 11.20% New York 5.40% -4.80% -8.50% 4.50% 1.60% North Carolina 10.40% 4.40% -74.20% 35.30% 12.80% 148

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Oklahoma -2.00% 5.30% 8.70% 1.90% Oregon 12.10% -8.70% 32.90% -9.60% 0.60% Pennsylvania 12.40% -4.80% -41.70% 4.70% Rhode Island 2.00% South Dakota 6.70% 1.20% 71.80% 16.20% 4.20% West Virginia -0.80% 1.20% 61.90% 29.50% 3.70% Wyoming 16.30% 15.10% -93.80% 21.50% Source: McDonald, M. 2008 General Election Voter Registration Statistics. United States Elections Project. Retrieved from http ://e lections.gmu.edu/Registration 2008G.html 149

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APPENDIX 58 Table 5.4. 2008 estimated voter turnout and turnout rate in the U.S. compared to the 2004 statistics. 2008 2008 Unofficial Minus Election Voting2008 2004 Eligible Voting2004 VEP Population Turnout Eligible Turnout State Mainpage Results Turnout Rate Estimate Population Rate Turnout United States 61.70% 131,302,732 212,720,027 60.10% 1.60% Alabama Certified 61 80% 2,099,819 3,398,289 57 20% 4.60% Alaska Certified 68.30% 326,197 477,763 69.10% -0.80% Arizona Certified 56.00% 2,293,475 4,096,006 54.10% 1.90% Arkansas Certified 53.40% 1,086,617 2,033,146 53.60% -0.20% California Certified 61 70% 13,561,900 21,993,429 58 80% 2 90% Colorado Certified 69.80% 2,401,361 3,441,907 66.70% 3.10% Connecticut Final 67 20% 1,646,792 2,451,296 65 00% 2 20% Delaware Final 66.20% 412,398 622,664 64.20% 2.00o/c District of Columbia Certified 60.70% 265,853 438,201 54.30% 6.40% Florida Final 67.50% 8,390,744 12,426,633 64 40% 3.10% Georgia Final 61.40% 3,924,440 6,390,590 56.20% 5.20% Hawaii Final 50 50% 453,568 898,922 48.20% 2.30% Idaho Final 63.30% 655,032 1,034,402 63.20% 0.10% Illinois Final 62.80% 5,523,051 8,794,625 61.50% 1.30% Indiana Final 59.40% 2,751,054 4,634,261 54 80% 4.60% Iowa Certified 69.90% 1,537,123 2,199,849 69.90% 0.00% Kansas Final 62.50% 1,235,872 1,978,713 61.60% 0.90% Kentucky Final 57.90% 1,826,508 3,156,794 58.70% -0.80% Louisiana Final 62 10% 1,960,761 3,158,676 61.10% 1.00% Maine Final 7.1.40% 731,163 1,024,699 73.80% -2.40% Maryland Certified 67.70% 2,631,596 3,888,726 62.90% 4.80% Massachusetts Certified 66 20% 3,080,985 4,652,749 64.20% 2.00o/c Michigan Final 68 90% 5,001,766 7,263,250 66 60% 2.30% 150

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Minnesota Final 78.20% 2,910,369 3,721,943 78.40% Mississippi Certified 61.00% 1,289,856 2,114,108 55.70% Missouri Certified 68.10% 2,925,205 4,296,592 65.30% Montana* Final 66.30% 491,960 741,538 64.40% Nebraska Certified 62.70% 801,281 1,278,980 62.90% Nevada Certified 58.60% 967,848 1,652,846 55.30% New Hampshire Final 71.30% 710,970 997,247 70.90% New Jersev Certified 66.20% 3,868,237 5,844,477 63.80% New Mexico Final 60.30% 830,158 1,376,025 59.00% New York Certified 58.00% 7,640,640 13,183,464 58.00% North Carolina Certified 65.80% 4,310,789 6,551,412 57.80% North Dakota Final 65 00% 316,621 486,871 64 80% Ohio Final 66.70% 5,698,260 8,541,239 66.80% Oklahoma Final 56.70% 1,462,661 2,578,351 58.30% Oregon Certified 67.80% 1,827,864 2,695,058 72.00% Pennsylvania* Certified 64.20% 6,012,692 9,363,381 62.60% Rhode Island Final 62.30% 469,767 754,438 58.50% South Carolina Final 58.60% 1,920,969 3,279,329 53.00% South Dakota Final 63 80% 381,975 598,635 68.20% Tennessee Final 57.30% 2,599,749 4,533,233 56.30% Texas Final 54.70% 8,077,795 14,780,857 53.70% Utah Final 53.30% 952,370 1,787,350 58 90% Vermont Certified 66 70% 325,046 487,430 66.30% Virginia Final 67.70% 3,723,260 5,500,265 60 .60% Washington Final 67.00% 3,036,878 4,535,438 66.90% West Virginia Final 50 .60% 713,362 1,409,823 54.10% Wisconsin Certified 72.50% 2,983,417 4,113,565 74.80% Wvoming Final 65.40% 254,658 389,304 65 70% Source: McDonald M (12 March, 2009). 2008 Unofficial Voter Turnout. United States Elections Proj ect. Retrieved from http://elections.gmu .e du / preliminary vote 2008.htrnl 151 -0.20% 5 30% 2.80o/c 1.90% -0.20o/c 3.30% 0.40% 2.40% 1.30% 0.00% 8.00% 0 .20% -0.10% -1.60% -4.20% 1.60% 3.80% 5.60% -4.40% 1.00% 1.00% -5.60% 0.40% 7.10% 0.10% -3.50% -2.30% -0.30%

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APPENDIX 68 Table 5 5. National Voter turnout statistics for federal elections from 1960-2008 in the U.S. Voting-age Voter Turnout of voting-age Year population registration Voter turnout population (percent) 2008* 231,229,580 NA 132,618,580* 56.8% 2006 220 600 000 135,889,600 80,588,000 37.1% 2004 221,256,931 174,800,000 122,294,978 55.3 2002 215 473,000 150 990 598 79,830,119 37.0 2000 205,815,000 156,421,311 105,586,274 51.3 1998 200,929,000 141,850 558 73,117,022 36.4 1996 196,511,000 146,211,960 96,456,345 49.1 1994 193,650,000 130,292 822 75,105 860 38 8 1992 189,529,000 133,821 '178 1 04,405,155 55.1 1990 185,812 000 121 '1 05 630 67,859,189 36 5 1988 182,778,000 126,379,628 91,594,693 50.1 1986 178 566 000 118,399 984 64 ,991 '128 36.4 1984 17 4,466,000 124,150,614 92,652,680 53.1 1982 169,938 000 110,671 ,22 5 67,615,576 39 8 1980 164,597,000 113,043,734 86,515,221 52.6 1978 158,373 000 103,291 ,265 58,917 938 37. 2 1976 152,309,190 105,037,986 81,555,789 53.6 1974 146,336,000 96 ,199, 020 55,943 834 38 2 152

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1972 140,776,000 97,328,541 77,718,554 55.2 1970 124,498,000 82 496 ,7 47 58 014,338 46.6 1968 120,328,186 81,658,180 73,211,875 60.8 1966 116 ,13 2 000 76 288,283 56,188 046 48.4 1964 114,090,000 73,715,818 70,644,592 61.9 1962 112 423 000 65,393 ,751 53,141,227 47 .3 1960 109,159,000 64,833,096 68,838,204 63.1 Source: lnfoplease. (14 June, 2009). National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960-2008. Retrieved from http: // www infoplease.com/ipa/ A0781453 .htm I 153

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