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Republican and Democrat political history: The Switch

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Dari

Lifer
Oct 25, 2002
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When did it (start to) happen? Who started it and why? Was it Republicans trying to be more conservative or Democrats trying to be more liberal?
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,497
4,162
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I think it began with a rain of toads that was first reported in Uganda.
 
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kia75

Senior member
Oct 30, 2005
468
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Liberal? Conservative? The politics of the nation change and different times have different issues.

The Modern Democratic party was formed in the 1830's and was for Tariffs and opposed the American bank. Does that make it Liberal because they were for higher tariffs (taxes)? or Conservative because they were against the fed?

The Modern Republic Party was formed in the 1860's with Lincoln and was for a strong federal government (hence the whole civil war). But states rights is a conservative issue, does that mean the republicans aren't conservatives?

The Civil War is Extremely important because it shapes the parties for the next 100 years. Since Lincoln was a Republican the South becomes extremely Democratic and remains so until LBJ. Even though the South is Democratic it's a different democratic then the rest of the Democrats, sort of allowing them to be kingmakers of sorts. But let's follow the Replublicans first.

After the United States won the war Repupblicans kept the presidency for ~75 years. From Lincoln 2 FDR there were only 2 Democratic presidents, Wilson and Cleveland. As a result IMO, the Republican party became sort of the party of big business during this time period and the de facto leaders of the nation.

Since the south would never vote for a Republican (my how times change) Democrats became extremely popular in congress. This sort of leads to a sort of schism in the democratic party, with the conservative southern Democrats controlling the party, but populist democrats (i.e. democrats that want 40 hour work weeks, children not to work in factories, no drinking etc) were elected in other regions.

Next comes the great depression. This happens while republicans are in office and since they're the party of Big business they take the blame. Democrats become the party of the little person during this time and institute such things as government work programs, social security, etc. Democrats keep the presidency for 20 years until Eisenhower is elected, and compared to today Eisenhower is a liberal! He talks about the dangers of the military industry complex, about how Social Security will never be abolished, etc.

In the 1960's LBJ signs civil rights laws. This causes the south, which had been solidly democratic in the past to not be Democrat anymore. LBJ makes his famous prediction about losing the south for a generation. For a while the south doesn't know what to do, they try making their own party of Dixiecrats, but that doesn't work.

In the 1980's Reagan starts courting the lost Southerners, and this is when the south, Which for over a hundred years had been solidly Democratic became solidly Republican. This is also when Democrats became "liberal" and Republicans became "Conservative".

Remember, up until LBJ the south was Democrat, but it was conservative Democrat. This meant that the south would at times work with Conservative Republicans to get what it wanted, and other times it would throw its weight with the rest of the Democrats resulting in populist laws. It's also why the Liberal\conservative parties dichotomy didn't apply, the Democrats had both Liberal members and Conservative members in their party. After 1980 Republicans became the de-facto "Conservative" party and the Democrats the de-facto "liberal" party. This is also why reaching across party aisles is so much harder now. In the past liberal democrats could convince liberal republicans to help them out, or conservative Democrats could talk to conservative Republicans. Now that the parties have re-aligned there are no conservative democrats or liberal republicans.


That's a quick dirty description of the parties, do a wikipedia search if you want more in-depth information.
 

Anarchist420

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2010
8,645
0
76
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Liberal? Conservative? The politics of the nation change and different times have different issues.

The Modern Democratic party was formed in the 1830's and was for Tariffs and opposed the American bank. Does that make it Liberal because they were for higher tariffs (taxes)? or Conservative because they were against the fed?

The Modern Republic Party was formed in the 1860's with Lincoln and was for a strong federal government (hence the whole civil war). But states rights is a conservative issue, does that mean the republicans aren't conservatives?

The Civil War is Extremely important because it shapes the parties for the next 100 years. Since Lincoln was a Republican the South becomes extremely Democratic and remains so until LBJ. Even though the South is Democratic it's a different democratic then the rest of the Democrats, sort of allowing them to be kingmakers of sorts. But let's follow the Replublicans first.

After the United States won the war Repupblicans kept the presidency for ~75 years. From Lincoln 2 FDR there were only 2 Democratic presidents, Wilson and Cleveland. As a result IMO, the Republican party became sort of the party of big business during this time period and the de facto leaders of the nation.

Since the south would never vote for a Republican (my how times change) Democrats became extremely popular in congress. This sort of leads to a sort of schism in the democratic party, with the conservative southern Democrats controlling the party, but populist democrats (i.e. democrats that want 40 hour work weeks, children not to work in factories, no drinking etc) were elected in other regions.

Next comes the great depression. This happens while republicans are in office and since they're the party of Big business they take the blame. Democrats become the party of the little person during this time and institute such things as government work programs, social security, etc. Democrats keep the presidency for 20 years until Eisenhower is elected, and compared to today Eisenhower is a liberal! He talks about the dangers of the military industry complex, about how Social Security will never be abolished, etc.

In the 1960's LBJ signs civil rights laws. This causes the south, which had been solidly democratic in the past to not be Democrat anymore. LBJ makes his famous prediction about losing the south for a generation. For a while the south doesn't know what to do, they try making their own party of Dixiecrats, but that doesn't work.

In the 1980's Reagan starts courting the lost Southerners, and this is when the south, Which for over a hundred years had been solidly Democratic became solidly Republican. This is also when Democrats became "liberal" and Republicans became "Conservative".

Remember, up until LBJ the south was Democrat, but it was conservative Democrat. This meant that the south would at times work with Conservative Republicans to get what it wanted, and other times it would throw its weight with the rest of the Democrats resulting in populist laws. It's also why the Liberal\conservative parties dichotomy didn't apply, the Democrats had both Liberal members and Conservative members in their party. After 1980 Republicans became the de-facto "Conservative" party and the Democrats the de-facto "liberal" party. This is also why reaching across party aisles is so much harder now. In the past liberal democrats could convince liberal republicans to help them out, or conservative Democrats could talk to conservative Republicans. Now that the parties have re-aligned there are no conservative democrats or liberal republicans.


That's a quick dirty description of the parties, do a wikipedia search if you want more in-depth information.
The Democrats were originally against high tariffs, the Whigs were for high tariffs.

To answer the O.P.'s question, only one party changed and that's the democratic party. The party of lincoln has always been the same other than that the demographics of their members are different.
 

diesbudt

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2012
3,393
0
0
Liberal? Conservative? The politics of the nation change and different times have different issues.

The Modern Democratic party was formed in the 1830's and was for Tariffs and opposed the American bank. Does that make it Liberal because they were for higher tariffs (taxes)? or Conservative because they were against the fed?

The Modern Republic Party was formed in the 1860's with Lincoln and was for a strong federal government (hence the whole civil war). But states rights is a conservative issue, does that mean the republicans aren't conservatives?

The Civil War is Extremely important because it shapes the parties for the next 100 years. Since Lincoln was a Republican the South becomes extremely Democratic and remains so until LBJ. Even though the South is Democratic it's a different democratic then the rest of the Democrats, sort of allowing them to be kingmakers of sorts. But let's follow the Replublicans first.

After the United States won the war Repupblicans kept the presidency for ~75 years. From Lincoln 2 FDR there were only 2 Democratic presidents, Wilson and Cleveland. As a result IMO, the Republican party became sort of the party of big business during this time period and the de facto leaders of the nation.

Since the south would never vote for a Republican (my how times change) Democrats became extremely popular in congress. This sort of leads to a sort of schism in the democratic party, with the conservative southern Democrats controlling the party, but populist democrats (i.e. democrats that want 40 hour work weeks, children not to work in factories, no drinking etc) were elected in other regions.

Next comes the great depression. This happens while republicans are in office and since they're the party of Big business they take the blame. Democrats become the party of the little person during this time and institute such things as government work programs, social security, etc. Democrats keep the presidency for 20 years until Eisenhower is elected, and compared to today Eisenhower is a liberal! He talks about the dangers of the military industry complex, about how Social Security will never be abolished, etc.

In the 1960's LBJ signs civil rights laws. This causes the south, which had been solidly democratic in the past to not be Democrat anymore. LBJ makes his famous prediction about losing the south for a generation. For a while the south doesn't know what to do, they try making their own party of Dixiecrats, but that doesn't work.

In the 1980's Reagan starts courting the lost Southerners, and this is when the south, Which for over a hundred years had been solidly Democratic became solidly Republican. This is also when Democrats became "liberal" and Republicans became "Conservative".

Remember, up until LBJ the south was Democrat, but it was conservative Democrat. This meant that the south would at times work with Conservative Republicans to get what it wanted, and other times it would throw its weight with the rest of the Democrats resulting in populist laws. It's also why the Liberal\conservative parties dichotomy didn't apply, the Democrats had both Liberal members and Conservative members in their party. After 1980 Republicans became the de-facto "Conservative" party and the Democrats the de-facto "liberal" party. This is also why reaching across party aisles is so much harder now. In the past liberal democrats could convince liberal republicans to help them out, or conservative Democrats could talk to conservative Republicans. Now that the parties have re-aligned there are no conservative democrats or liberal republicans.


That's a quick dirty description of the parties, do a wikipedia search if you want more in-depth information.
Pretty much this.

Have to add though that people went along with it. When neither side is 100% right, and people should feel for themselves on each issue and not call themselves "democrat or republican", and not just blanketly believe in 90%+ of what the party you say you are for says.
 

finglobes

Senior member
Dec 13, 2010
739
0
0
The Democrats have a long and troubled history. They were the party of slaveholders and created Jim Crow. Southern Dems blocked all the many civil rights passed by GOP iin Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1870, 1871,1875. The fourth act guaranteed blacks the right to enter and use public establishments. The GOP was way ahead of the Civil RIghts Act of 1964 - which more Reps (who got Act out of committee - where Dems usually killed such bills) than Dems voted for. For decades Dems also rejected and blocked anti-lynching laws (including FDR in 1935) proposed by GOP and NAACP.

Blacks begane to move to Dems when Martin Luther king (a Republican) and JFK merged on some Civil Rights issues. Lyndon Johnson went with the flow on that even though it was more for politcal reasons. Johnson said at the time - “I’ll have those ni**ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” —

“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/40889
 
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Phokus

Lifer
Nov 20, 1999
22,995
774
126
The switch happened around the Nixon campaign when he adopted to southern strategy and went after racist white southerners for votes and changed their affiliation from democrat to republican:

Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist, reported a 1981 interview with Lee Atwater, published in Southern Politics in the 1990s by Alexander P. Lamis, in which Lee Atwater discussed politics in the South:
Lee Atwater
You start out in 1954 by saying, "N*****, N*****, N*****." By 1968 you can't say "N*****"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.[36]
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "N*****, N*****".[7]
Herbert wrote in the same column, "The truth is that there was very little that was subconscious about the G.O.P.'s relentless appeal to racist whites. Tired of losing elections, it saw an opportunity to renew itself by opening its arms wide to white voters who could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for blacks."[37]
With the aid of Harry Dent and South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had switched parties in 1964, Richard Nixon ran his 1968 campaign on states' rights and "law and order." Many liberals accused Nixon of pandering to Southern whites, especially with regard to his "states' rights" and "law and order" stands.[30]
The independent candidacy of George Wallace, former Democratic governor of Alabama, partially negated the Southern strategy.[31] With a much more explicit attack on integration and black civil rights, Wallace won all of Goldwater's states (except South Carolina), as well as Arkansas and one of North Carolina's electoral votes. Nixon picked up Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, while Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey's only southern state was Texas. Writer Jeffrey Hart who worked on the Nixon campaign as a speechwriter says that Nixon did not have a "Southern Strategy" but "Border State Strategy" as the campaign ceded the Deep South to George Wallace and that the press merely call it a "Southern Strategy" as they are "very lazy".[32]
In the 1972 election, by contrast, Nixon won every state in the Union except Massachusetts, winning more than 70 percent of the popular vote in most of the Deep South (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina) and 61% of the national vote. He won over 65 percent of the votes in the other states of the former Confederacy. Nixon won 36% of the black vote nationwide. Despite his appeal to Southern whites, Nixon parlayed a wide perception as a moderate into wins in other states. He took a solid majority in the electoral college. He was able to appear moderate to most Americans because the Southern strategy referred to integration obliquely through references to states' rights and busing. This tactic was later described by liberals in the media as "dog-whistle politics."[33]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy
 
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