There are several truths about American politics that make for interesting fiction fodder. The construction of the two parties of the day are one of them. Currently, both parties are in ebbs of extremism. Historically, this doesn’t continue for too long before the party that is more palatable in their extremity, usually thanks to the charisma of a leader or perceived leader of the party is surrounded by enough positive buzz that no possible successor within the party can keep the momentum. This is where the ebb begins, both in party influence, and both parties creeping (or sometimesleaping) back to the middle.

Parties that don’t get back close to center simply die. Lincoln was a loyal Whig until the party imploded,  Also historically, one issue parties do horribly. The Green Party for example has existed for decades and gone just about nowhere, the Libertarian Party has done very slightly better, but is viewed in a similar one trick pony light. Given how slowly the American center shifts, and the lifespan of successful politicians, it isn’t all that surprising that some fail to adapt.

The mythical mandate that has crept into the lexicon of presidential elections in the last 20 years is utterly laughable. Truman who had a 4.48% win, after being projected to lose, is as large as the 2012 win for Obama and the 2004 win for George W. Bush combined. The utterly forgettable Herbert Hoover had a popular vote margin of over 17%, and Warren G. Harding had a 26% popular vote margin in 1920, a margin we are unlikely to see again for a very long time.

If both of the parties we know today are to survive(unlikely), some historian 100+ years will probably look at the next decade as the time when one or both chopped off its offending wing. For the Republicans, the Westboro Right are so divorced from the increasingly secular nation that it is almost impossible for keep candidates like Huckabee integrated and remain viable on the national stage.  For the Democrats the Leningrad Left who see communist structures as the true desire of Americans everywhere, those folks need to go. Both unions, once a huge part of American political equation, and religious organizations have lost members and might in the last half century.

Some of this is changing demographics and economy. Family sizes are shrinking. When a candidate pushed the “family” button 100 times a month in 1910 or 1860, family sizes were much larger and having six or seven children to make the term resonate in a large number of voters was pretty common. Likewise, with the decline of manufacturing in America Unions are no longer the juggernauts they were, and even when they were there was a lot of disapproval from non-union workers that polarized issues common to members and non members.

From watching the trends of the US over the last 200+ years, the next decade and a half is the most likely time I’ve seen since the early Cold War for a new major, powerful national party to emerge. It could be a split in one of the two parties. It could be a few men and women from the two parties leaving to begin a new one, but if there are five members of congress in 2024 from a party that doesn’t exist today, I for one will not be surprised.


it should go without saying that if you can’t be civilized on my blog you might as well not post.

  • Xander Opal

    Well written, well stated. An example of the Democrat vs. Unions is Michigan, from whence I write: the state went to Obama, yet the proposed constitutional amendment to make the state a ‘right to work’ state, granting additional power to unions, did not pass.

    I also think that the center, the moderate/independent voters, do indeed consider third parties to be either hopeless or, well, crazy. Perhaps it is due to their, as you put it, ‘attacking’ the center rather than trying to attract the center.

    Another thing I tend to notice is many voices of their respective party tend to inform anyone who questions things a party holds sacred, that the questioner is a bad, horrible person for questioning The Truth.

    • Thanks Xander, that’s exactly the type of stuff I watch when predicting elections.

  • Marshall Ryan Maresca

    I’m not sure what you mean by the “Leningrad Left”. The closest thing I can think of is the “Occupy” movement, which was in now way embraced by the mainstream Democrats like the Hard Right of the Tea Party was by the Republicans in 2010. The most prominent Way Left person I can think of on the national stage is Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont, who is, most notably, not a Democrat.

    • The Democrats tend to keep their loonies under wraps better, but take for example Hillary Clinton’s “it takes a village” positioning, which was code phrase to many people for “you can’t raise a child without heavyhanded government _direction_”, then there’s also the chair of the party who’s “I have a scream” speech was a quite spectacular look behind the curtain.