The 2010 election results confirm that America is a center right nation and that fact, proven by the record as set out below, shows Democratic Party presidential victories are accidents of history which
will once again be confirmed by a Republican victory with Sarah Palin in 2012
The Democratic Party's election victories to 1856 were as a result of an alliance with the slave power. Neither Pierce "A northerner with Southern sympathies" nor Buchanan who "Never uttered a word which could pain the most sensitive Southerners heart" would have won the Democratic nomination except for the acquiescence of slave holders.
Douglas's ambitions for the presidency were destroyed by the slaveholding state delegates to the Democratic convention walking out and initially denying him the nomination. Their splitting the party by running a separate Southern ticket ensured the victory of Lincoln and the ensuing civil war.
From 1860 to 1932 the Democrats were a discredited factional group who held the presidency for only 16 years out of the 72 and those 16 years were won in extraordinary circumstances.
Grover Cleveland won in 1884 by winning his own state of New York, of which he had been Governor by only 1149 votes and with the electoral votes of the Jim Crow Southern states where Blacks were effectively disenfranchised. The Republican candidate J.G. Blaine was tarred with charges of financial malfeasance and was the victim of anti-Irish community slurs yet with all that he still lost only narrowly.
Cleveland only lasted one term and lost in 1888 to an honest but non-descript Republican Benjamin Harrison, whose only claim to fame was being the grandson of William Henry Harrison. Cleveland was elected again in 1892, again with the help of the "solid South" due to a period of labor unrest, particularly a steel workers strike which cost Harrison re-election.
The Democrat's in Cleveland's second term presided over a massive recession which led to a swing in Congress to the G.O.P.only equalled by the 2010 House result. Cleveland's economic management led to the Democrat's being repudiated by its radical populist wing and four straight presidential campaign losses.
Woodrow Wilson, a classic case of a democratic party accidental president was elected in 1912 on 41.9% of the vote due to a giant split in the Republican ranks. This was an inter-party calamity only someone with the massive ego, and massive following someone such as Theodore Roosevelt could have engendered.
Wilson was re-elected in 1916, again due to extraordinary circumstances. There was fear of a foreign war and Wilson’s slogan “He kept us out of war” assisted him in squeaking out the narrowest of victories over Hughes. Wilson’s victory was not certain until the day after the election when the result from California came in. If Hughes had handled the local Californian political sensitivities better, the 13 electoral votes which he lost by 3,800 votes out of one million, would have seen him elected despite all Wilson’s sloganeering and the power of incumbency.
The years 1920 to 1932 saw the nation return to “normalcy” as the country returned to its traditional political roots by giving the Republicans three straight landslide wins. For the 19 presidential elections between 1860 and 1928, the Republicans won 15-the Democrats 4 wins were narrowly in three of the cases, and because of a massive split in the G.O.P ranks, in the fourth.
There is no question of course that Roosevelt’s landslide win in 1932 was a result of the Great Depression, as was his victory in 1936. However these two wins were the result of a reaction to unprecedented circumstances and were not a fundamental change in in the basic political and social character of the American people.
In point of fact, if the relatively new Federal Reserve had properly handled the initial monetary crisis, then the Roosevelt election may never have happened. Further, the war which followed on from the depression and which led to Roosevelt’s two subsequent re-elections, and Truman’s, who was very much an accidental president, might also have been prevented.
These two events of historic proportions, war and depression, show just how difficult it was for the Democratic party wins to be anything but a reaction to extraordinary events as it was clearly not trusted with the presidency under anything near normal circumstances.
From 1952-2008, out of the 15 presidential elections the G.O.P has won nine, seven of which were landslides. The Democrat’s victories were, once again, the result of extraordinary circumstances. Kennedy won with the narrowest of margins, and with a huge Catholic turnout in support of his faith. His margin of victory was 49.7 to Nixon’s 49.5 a vote margin of 119,450 out of 63.3 million votes cast. He was possibly further assisted by Mayor Daley’s graveyard vote in Chicago, and Johnson’s ghost voters in Texas.
Lyndon Johnson was of course the recipient of the tremendous sympathy support from a still traumatized nation after Kennedy’s assassination, and he had, an admittedly weak opposition candidate in Goldwater.
Carter’s win in 1976,after a further eight years of Republican rule, was by a margin so small that if a few thousand votes in key states had gone the other way Ford would have won. It took Ford’s pardon of Nixon, an unsettled economy, the still present public resentment and embarrassment over the Watergate scandal and a poor campaign by Ford, for Carter to squeak in.
Clinton won, after another twelve Republican years (and three landslide victories) in the same manner as Wilson-against a deeply split conservative structure. If Perot had not run, then there would have been more time to focus solely on Clinton’s personal shortcomings, and the result would have been, most certainly, different and no subsequent re-election campaign, again against a fractured G.O.P., for Clinton, who had moved well to the right in his second term.
That Vice-President Gore could not win in 2000, against a relatively unknown Republican candidate, in a time of massive prosperity, shows the real state of the basically conservative nature of the American body politic which then gave the Republicans a further eight years in office.
This basic, conservative American nature was not transformed in 2008 with Obama’s victory which, again, an extraordinary chain of circumstances brought about. Obama received an unprecedented amount of Black support, which is of course understandable given this great source of pride that one of their own was running. He was further aided by the unusually large turnout of young people who were inspired by his soaring oratory (but who have subsequently returned to low voting form as the effects of the oratory met with reality)
However even with all that going for him, the election hung in the balance (with the Republicans edging ahead at one point) until the extraordinary circumstance of a huge economic collapse made his election inevitable.
The 2010 midterms elections, with the resulting massive swing back to the G.O.P. has put paid to the misinterpretation by the Democrat’s and their media allies, that Obama’s 2008 victory signalled some sort of radical change in the voting patterns-which it clearly did not.
Unless the Obama administration makes an effort at accommodation with the Republicans, and political reality, and understands that America is still a center right nation, Obama will find that he, like Carter will be a one term president at the hands of Palin. Palin represents and is fact an archetypical representative of the middle America which has traditionally supported conservatives in presidential elections by an overwhelming majority.
If the Obama administration does not move to the center, as Clinton did, it will eventually split the Democratic party into its “progressive”/green” wing and its moderate wing, where it would have been placed some time ago except for slavery, depressions and short lived G.O.P. fissures.