Pendulum of Pollitics Swings Away from GOP

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), November 9, 2006 | Go to article overview

Pendulum of Pollitics Swings Away from GOP


Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Karl Eysenbach For The Register-Guard

We are in the closing chapters of an era in American history. The loss of GOP control of the U.S. House marks the end of the Reagan revolution, an era that was conceived in 1964 and born in 1980. No one knows what will happen in 2008 or 2010, but within four years we will be in a different age with a completely different agenda. Terrorism will be out; environmentalism will be the issue for a generation, and the future is likely to be Democratic.

I say this because periods of party dominance run in cycles in the United States. Social movements (often outside of regular party structures) supply new ideas. Politicians using these ideas take control of a minority party, eventually transforming the minority party into a majority.

Once in power, the majority party stays in power until almost all of its ideas are adopted into law. Through mismanagement and a lack of new ideas, the majority coalition then becomes weak and unravels, setting the stage for insurgents who can capture the minority party, thus repeating the cycle.

In the 20th century, the ideas of progressivism were the catalysts that allowed for GOP control until 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal ideas took the stage. The Democratic majority held the political stage until Lyndon Johnson's civil rights legislation produced a reaction that led to the GOP takeover of the South. This takeover initiated the Republican domination that has lasted from Reagan up until today.

Bush's Iraq adventure has eroded GOP support, and domestically the Republican Party has exhausted its supply of ideas. In the last 26 years, industries and governments have been deregulated. Unions have been crushed, and tax cuts have skewed the pattern of income distribution to historical extremes and produced huge deficits.

With nothing more to offer except more tax cuts and the privatization of Social Security, the Republican Party represents a spent force. A recession in the near future would further damage the GOP.

Congressional Republicans are showing the same kinds of infighting that bedeviled Jimmy Carter's Democratic majority, and conservatism is being questioned the same way liberalism was in the 1980s. Christian fundamentalists are becoming a thorn in the side of mainline Republicans, and people such as Illinois Sen. …

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Pendulum of Pollitics Swings Away from GOP
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