Monday, January 21, 2008

American Politics After the Bush Presidency

This week's cover story at Newsweek looks at the collapse of the Republican Party's governing consensus, and what it means for American politics.

Both parties are affected: The GOP has struggled to unify on a compelling theme or partisan frontrunner in its campaign for the Republican nomination. The Democrats will have to confront the powerful legacy of George W. Bush, who shifted the nation's priorities in domestic and foreign policy, and who's made it difficult for a new grand political vision to gain acceptance among Democratic voting constituencies.

Here's Newsweek:

Political eras, in modern times, have not been wiped away in landslides. In 2000, ending eight years of Democratic rule, Bush did not even win the popular vote against Al Gore. In 1960, after eight years of Republican rule, John F. Kennedy eked out a narrow win against Richard M. Nixon, and some historians still suspect the Democrats had to steal votes to do it. This time around, however, the Republicans appear poised on a precipice. Their candidates have raised only about two thirds as much money as the Democrats (about $168 million to about $245 million), and GOP turnout badly lagged the Democrats' in both Iowa and New Hampshire. There's no clear front runner: McCain's victory in South Carolina last Saturday gave him two wins in early nominating contests; Romney's win on the same day in Nevada gave him three; Huckabee has one. It is possible that one of the GOP candidates will patch together the old coalition and at least make it close in November, and it's true that the Democrats have shown a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But it is just as likely that the long run of Republican dominance in national politics is coming to an abrupt end.

Read the whole thing.

I've been skeptical that 2008 offers a political environment conducive to a partisan realignment or electoral earthquake.

It's certainly shaping up as a Democratic year, after 7 years of the Bush administration, and the concomitant left wing derangement this has caused. Still, while the war in Iraq has been difficult, we're achieving our goals now. And current public opinion trends are indicating a close race this November, based on potential matchups of the top candidates from both parties.

The GOP's not out of the ballgame by any means, despite Cassandra-style cover stories to the contrary.

Photo Credit: Newsweek