It Takes a Crackup: How Political Parties Recover
JAN 5, 2017 12:06 PM EST
ByAlbert R. Hunt
Democrats are down and out. How can they recover? History provides models for political-party comebacks with one thing in common: serious schisms on the other side.
Over the past half century, major U.S. parties have been in comparable positions three times. Republicans were dispirited following Barry Goldwater’s debacle in 1964 andagain after the 1974 Watergate scandal and loss of the presidency two years later. Democrats were floundering after two Ronald Reagan sweeps and then George H.W. Bush’s win in the 1988 presidential contest.
Each time, the party in exile recovered and won the White House aided by divisions leading to primary challenges to incumbent presidents.
This doesn’t mean Democrats can sit back and count on a breakup between President Donald Trump and other Republicans. That’s never a good strategy. They need to develop more ideas and policies that appeal to working-class voters, rebuild a political infrastructure that has frayed over the past four years and especially to bolster their standing at the state level, where Republicans dominate even more than in Washington.
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