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Lex Rex

Monday, November 15, 2004

Realignment, Now More than Ever

Some snips from Fred Barnes, conclusion - our children may very well grow up in a free country after all:

KARL ROVE SAID LAST YEAR that the question of realignment--whether Republicans have at last become the majority party--would be decided by the election of 2004. And it has. Even by the cautious reckoning of Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, Republicans now have both an operational majority in Washington (control of the White House, Senate, and the House of Representatives) and an ideological majority in the country (51 percent popular vote for a center-right president). They also control a majority of governorships, a plurality of state legislatures, and are at rough parity with Democrats in the number of state legislators. Rove says that under Bush a "rolling realignment" favoring Republicans continues, and he's right. So Republican hegemony in America is now expected to last for years, maybe decades.

Listen to Walter Dean Burnham, professor emeritus at University of Texas at Austin, who is the nation's leading theorist of realignment, the shift of political power from one party to another. The 2004 election, he says, "consolidates it all"--that is, it solidifies the trend that has favored Republicans over the past decade. To Burnham, it means there's "a stable pattern" of Republican rule. "If Republicans keep playing the religious card along with the terrorism card, this could last a long time," he says. Burnham, by the way, is neither a Republican nor a conservative.

His definition of realignment is "a sudden transformation that turns out to be permanent." The breakthrough occurred in 1994 when Republicans shattered the 40-year Democratic grip on Congress and the statehouses. ...

Sounds like we will not be wiping the smile off our face for a while.