Republican Party Realignment

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The series of events above that started the polarization between the two parties also led voters to switch party allegiance to the Republicans (David Brady). Further, the analyses in this realignment showed that those who switched were mainly urban, northern, and blue-collar, living in the industrial East and Midwest (David Brady). Following this realignment, the Democratic party was predominantly made up of the southern agrarian and Border state groups (David Brady). Additionally, policy results of this realignment included the gold standard, expansionism in the Caribbean, annexation of Hawaii and protective tariffs (David Brady). All of these policies reaffirmed the pro-industrial notion by beating “the radical challenge by the West” …show more content…

As a matter of fact, the factors, such as, emergence of third parties, ideological polarization, large percentages of the population shifting its partisan loyalties and unusual stress on the nation’s socioeconomic system, which constitute a critical election (as theorized by Burnham) were present in the 1896 election. First, a third party, the Populists emerged, as both the Democrats and Republicans vowed to uphold industrial interests. Then, the issues of currency between the gold and silver standard polarized both the Republicans and Democrats in ideologies. Also, the Republicans garnered a new conservative coalition, as urban, blue-collar Northerners, along with voters from the industrial East and Midwest shifted partisan loyalty. Lastly, prior to the election, the nation was crippled with high unemployment, low profits and violent strikes from the Panic of 1893. The unusual stress on the economy factor during this time ushered the critical election. Surely, all of these factors together created the perfect storm for a critical election, which ultimately became the vehicle for realignment, as the Republicans gained dominance with their newly forged conservative coalition. Eventually, this realignment gave rise to the Fourth Party System …show more content…

However, Burnham’s definition appears to be the one that fit the case studies above. Although the two examples in 1896 and 1932 were quite similar in the components that have led to critical elections and realignment, not every single factor (high voter intensity, emergence of third parties, ideological polarization, the population shifting its partisan loyalties, and the strain on the nation’s socioeconomic system) existed within each case. Yet, both exhibited a shift within partisan loyalties and both were also experiencing a stress on the socioeconomic system that transpired realignment in which both gained a new voting coalition. Interestingly, I believe that these factors work in tandem when it comes to prompting critical elections that will eventually lead to realignment. Once the difficulties and the strain of the socioeconomic system reach the voters, they become cynical of the current situation. They turn to a radical approach to incite change. What’s more radical than completely switching to a party that you previously saw as an antithesis to your ideology? It is human nature to look to change something that has not been working. Therefore, once the voters discern that the current status quo is unproductive, they seek another path to follow to tackle these inefficiencies. Since our nation prides itself on the two-party system, voters really do not have the choice but to turn to

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