Will The Republican Party be Exiled in The Presidential Wilderness?

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Will The Republican Party be Exiled in The Presidential Wilderness?

The Iowa Cau­cus is only moments away and our nation will begin the for­mal process of choos­ing a suc­ces­sor to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

The exis­ten­tial ques­tion for polit­i­cal con­ser­v­a­tives is this: What do they make of the Don­ald Trump wild card fac­tor that has changed the dynam­ics of the Repub­li­can Party pri­mary season?

Per­haps the insights of a his­to­rian and a jour­nal­ist of the past may shine some light on the dilemma that Repub­li­cans face.

The late his­to­rian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was both a bril­liant and eru­dite his­to­rian who wrote on a great many sub­jects dur­ing his lifetime.

Mr. Schlesinger worked in the Kennedy Admin­is­tra­tion as a “Spe­cial Assis­tant to The Pres­i­dent”; he was a clas­si­cal New Deal lib­eral who believed that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should pro­mote a “lib­eral” or in today’s par­lance a “very pro­gres­sive agenda.”

Arthur M. Schlesinger’s spe­cialty was writ­ing on the Amer­i­can Presidency.

He wrote four vol­umes on the life and polit­i­cal times of Franklin Roo­sevelt and he wrote the clas­sic “The Impe­r­ial Pres­i­dency” which was pub­lished in 1973.

One of Mr. Schlesinger’s beliefs was that every 30 to 40 years that Amer­ica expe­ri­ences a seis­mic shift in the polit­i­cal land­scape. Schlesinger sug­gested that the Amer­i­can elec­torate vac­il­lated between “con­ser­v­a­tive” and “lib­eral orbits” every 3 to 4 decades.

On the other side of the polit­i­cal spec­trum, the Evan­gel­i­cal and Con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ist Dr. Mar­vin Olasky’s con­ducted research that con­curs with Mr. Schlesinger’s premise that our nation’s two polit­i­cal par­ties (since 1888) vied with each other for dom­i­nance in Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions every 40 years.

For exam­ple, the time period from the late 1880s to the late 1920s was a time of Repub­li­can Party (con­ser­v­a­tive) ascen­dency in which the Repub­li­can Party dom­i­nated Pres­i­den­tial elections.

The dom­i­nant Polit­i­cal fig­ure dur­ing this time was Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.

Teddy Roo­sevelt was known for his “trust-​busting” and for his “big stick diplomacy.”

Fast for­ward to the 1930s and the polit­i­cal for­tunes of the two par­ties rad­i­cally reversed.

From 1932 to 1968, Pres­i­dents Franklin Roo­sevelt and Harry Tru­man both rede­fined and remade the Demo­c­ra­tic Party and changed what was a region­ally based party of dis­parate ele­ments into a cohe­sive national unit. By 1964, the Demo­c­ra­tic Party was at the height of its influ­ence and it appeared that its dom­i­nance would never end.

The 36 year reign of the Democ­rats that was ini­ti­ated by Pres­i­dent Franklin Roo­sevelt ended at the hands of Richard Nixon’s nar­row vic­tory in 1968.

Pres­i­dent Nixon – and later Pres­i­dent Rea­gan (19811989) – won votes from many dis­af­fected Democ­rats who felt that the Demo­c­ra­tic Party moved too far to the left of the polit­i­cal spec­trum and was no longer the Party of Roo­sevelt and Truman.

Pres­i­dents Nixon and Rea­gan – along with the Repub­li­can Party Con­gres­sional majori­ties of the 1995 through 2000 time period ini­ti­ated a major realign­ment of both the nature and scope of Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment activ­ity. The Nixon-​Reagan rev­o­lu­tion was so effec­tive that for­mer Demo­c­ra­tic Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton averred in the 1994 to 1995 time period that “the era of Big Gov­ern­ment is over.”

In 2008, Demo­c­ra­tic Sen­a­tor Bar­rack Obama ascended to the Oval Office with a con­vinc­ing elec­toral win in which he cap­tured 53% of the pop­u­lar vote and 365 votes in the Elec­toral College.

President-​Elect Obama’s win was impres­sive in all polit­i­cal facets.

He thor­oughly beat his chal­lenger Sen­a­tor John McCain by cap­tur­ing a deci­sive plu­ral­ity with nearly every eth­nic, polit­i­cal and reli­gious group in his victory.

If his­tory repeats itself (and his­tory never repeats itself in an exactly dupli­cate sense, but there may be dis­cernible pat­terns), then it would seem that the next 40 years on the Pres­i­den­tial level will be dom­i­nated by the Demo­c­ra­tic Party.

From 1888 to 1924, the Repub­li­can Party won the office of the Pres­i­dency 7 times out of 10 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions (McKinley-​Theodore Roosevelt-​Howard Taft).

Start­ing with the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of 1928, the Demo­c­ra­tic Party won the Pres­i­dency 7 out of the next 10 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions (Roosevelt-​Truman axis).

And from 1968 to 2004, the Repub­li­can Party dom­i­nated the Oval Office by cap­tur­ing the Pres­i­dency in 7 out of 10 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions (Nixon-​Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II years).

The exis­ten­tial ques­tion is this: Will this pat­tern of Pres­i­den­tial Party dom­i­nance that has existed since 1888 con­tinue or will there be a change in the elec­toral continuum?

The Repub­li­can Party may be in the wilder­ness for the fore­see­able future.

In time, as his­to­ri­ans and jour­nal­ists such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Dr. Mar­vin Olasky have pointed out, the polit­i­cal for­tunes of the party in the wilder­ness change and they return to power.

How­ever, in the short-​term, it is imper­a­tive that Judeo-​Christian adher­ents, Tra­di­tional (Paleo) Con­ser­v­a­tives, and Free-​market advo­cates learn lessons from our nation’s elec­toral his­tory so that they may best mar­shal their polit­i­cal, mon­e­tary, and social resources on the Local, State, and Regional lev­els while they are exiled in the “Pres­i­den­tial Wilder­ness.”

[Journalist’s note: This arti­cle was redacted and updated from a sim­i­lar essay pub­lished two years ear­lier in Feb­ru­ary of 2014.]

Pastor-Kelly

The Iowa Caucus is only moments away and our nation will begin the formal process of choosing a successor to President Barack Obama.

The existential question for political conservatives is this:  What do they make of the Donald Trump wild card factor that has changed the dynamics of the Republican Party primary season?

Perhaps the insights of a historian and a journalist of the past may shine some light on the dilemma that Republicans face.

The late historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was both a brilliant and erudite historian who wrote on a great many subjects during his lifetime.

Mr. Schlesinger worked in the Kennedy Administration as a “Special Assistant to The President”; he was a classical New Deal liberal who believed that the federal government should promote a “liberal” or in today’s parlance a “very progressive agenda.”

Arthur M. Schlesinger’s specialty was writing on the American Presidency.

He wrote four volumes on the life and political times of Franklin Roosevelt and he wrote the classic “The Imperial Presidency” which was published in 1973.

One of Mr. Schlesinger’s beliefs was that every 30 to 40 years that America experiences a seismic shift in the political landscape. Schlesinger suggested that the American electorate vacillated between “conservative” and “liberal orbits” every 3 to 4 decades.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Evangelical and Conservative journalist Dr. Marvin Olasky’s conducted research that concurs with Mr. Schlesinger’s premise that our nation’s two political parties (since 1888) vied with each other for dominance in Presidential elections every 40 years.

For example, the time period from the late 1880s to the late 1920s was a time of Republican Party (conservative) ascendency in which the Republican Party dominated Presidential elections.

The dominant Political figure during this time was Republican President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.

Teddy Roosevelt was known for his “trust-busting” and for his “big stick diplomacy.”

Fast forward to the 1930s and the political fortunes of the two parties radically reversed.

From 1932 to 1968, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman both redefined and remade the Democratic Party and changed what was a regionally based party of disparate elements into a cohesive national unit. By 1964, the Democratic Party was at the height of its influence and it appeared that its dominance would never end.

The 36 year reign of the Democrats that was initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt ended at the hands of Richard Nixon’s narrow victory in 1968.

President Nixon – and later President Reagan (1981-1989) – won votes from many disaffected Democrats who felt that the Democratic Party moved too far to the left of the political spectrum and was no longer the Party of Roosevelt and Truman.

Presidents Nixon and Reagan – along with the Republican Party Congressional majorities of the 1995 through 2000 time period initiated a major realignment of both the nature and scope of Federal Government activity. The Nixon-Reagan revolution was so effective that former Democratic President Bill Clinton averred in the 1994 to 1995 time period that “the era of Big Government is over.”

In 2008, Democratic Senator Barrack Obama ascended to the Oval Office with a convincing electoral win in which he captured 53% of the popular vote and 365 votes in the Electoral College.

President-Elect Obama’s win was impressive in all political facets.

He thoroughly beat his challenger Senator John McCain by capturing a decisive plurality with nearly every ethnic, political and religious group in his victory.

If history repeats itself (and history never repeats itself in an exactly duplicate sense, but there may be discernible patterns), then it would seem that the next 40 years on the Presidential level will be dominated by the Democratic Party.

From 1888 to 1924, the Republican Party won the office of the Presidency 7 times out of 10 Presidential elections (McKinley-Theodore Roosevelt-Howard Taft).

Starting with the Presidential election of 1928, the Democratic Party won the Presidency 7 out of the next 10 Presidential elections (Roosevelt-Truman axis).

And from 1968 to 2004, the Republican Party dominated the Oval Office by capturing the Presidency in 7 out of 10 Presidential elections (Nixon-Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II years).

The existential question is this: Will this pattern of Presidential Party dominance that has existed since 1888 continue or will there be a change in the electoral continuum?

The Republican Party may be in the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

In time, as historians and journalists such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Dr. Marvin Olasky have pointed out, the political fortunes of the party in the wilderness change and they return to power.

However, in the short-term, it is imperative that Judeo-Christian adherents, Traditional (Paleo) Conservatives, and Free-market advocates learn lessons from our nation’s electoral history so that they may best marshal their political, monetary, and social resources on the Local, State, and Regional levels while they are exiled in the “Presidential Wilderness.”

[Journalist’s note:  This article was redacted and updated from a similar essay published two years earlier in February of 2014.]

Pastor-Kelly