Transformations of the Party System
When the Great Depression broke, there were a variety of lags in the sociopolitical system which, apart from what contributions they may have made to the severity of the collapse, fueled a much more rapid and sweeping set of political transformations than would otherwise have occurred. In a space of a few short years, the American political agenda was rewritten. An unusually distinct policy cleavage appeared. And the parties dug into wholly new positions in a political battlefield so greatly altered. Neither before or since the 1929-1936 period can one find partisan transformations of comparable magnitude occurring with such speed.
The New Deal party developments were also uniquely conclusive. In 1929 the Republicans were the national majority party. By 1936, they had been shoved firmly, decisively, into minority status. In 1929 they spoke for an ascendant public philosophy. By 1936 a new public philosophy was ascendant, with a new partisan home. Nothing so neat and definitive has prevailed in the contemporary transformations, nor did it occur earlier in the formation of the party system of the industrializing era.
Despite such ample evidence to the contrary, the notion