Are We Realigning?

Are the two major political parties in the United States currently realigning themselves?  Realignment or a realigning/critical election, has been defined by Walter Dean Burnham, as an event that occurs every 30-36 years.  When realignment does occur, the political parties tend to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant.  They do this by adjusting their political party platforms while the country or the political electorate changes.  Sometimes, however, it is the critical election that adjusts the way the voting behaves.  For the most part, political scientists agree that the United States has had five party systems.  The first party system somewhere between the creation of American political parties to the time of Democratic-Republican Party dominance (1789-1828).  The second party system occurred during the height of the Democratic Party strength and the somewhat competitive Whig Party (1828-1860).  The third party system took place with the emergence of the Republican Party and the election of Abraham Lincoln and lasted until the late 1890s (1860-1896).  In fourth party system, the parties aligned themselves based on the economy, as Democrats became the party of unions and an agrarian mindset, while the Republicans captured big business and industry within their ranks (1896-1932).  With the fifth party system, the Democrats took on the role of supporting the New Deal, while the Republicans opposed the FDR platform.  From the time of the New Deal, Democrats have supported public policy solutions created by the federal government.  Republicans supported solutions initiated by state governments.  This party system has lasted since 1932 (1932-Present).    The two major parties have continued to promote their party platforms from a federal vs. state government angle.

Advertisements

32 responses to “Are We Realigning?

  1. I believe we are still in the 6th realignment because the two parties are still fighting over the same things that they have been writing to for last 80 years. The democrats nor the republicans have made any changes in their party that are work realightning because they are still fighting with each other. Maybe when the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is over than there might be a realignment similar to the one that took place after the civil war, but maybe not quite as long.

  2. I believe that we are still in the fifth realignment period. Government is still focusing on aspects of the New Deal. For instance the three R’s; relief, recovery, and reform. The government has established relief systems, such as welfare, and other programs which help the poor and unemployed. Obama has established Obamacare; an act which was pasted in March of 2010 and has helped numerous Americans. The platform for Obamacare is to provide affordable health care for all Americans and also to reduce health care spending. This bill also prevents insurance companies from dropping you when you are sick and need medical attention.

  3. I am not sure where we stand in the realignment periods beause our government is always changing right now and trying to find what is best for the citizens in terms of the economy and how to get it back to a place here it is good for everybody. I also think that since the beginning the stances have been the same with the elections, it is just the people that are changing.

  4. I do not think that we are realigning. We have been in this era for so long and it seems hard to believe that our political parties will change their platform or realign any time soon. If some major event were to happen then I would find it more plausable that the parties will realign.

  5. We are not realigning because there is too much to be done and I feel like we are stuck with issues without answers. Nothing major has happened like the Civil War to make the realignment a name. So as of now things are the same, until Obama starts taking care of the issues.

  6. It seems that issues are being argued from all sorts of viewpoints, including older issues and new ones, too. Things like the size of government and the way that taxes are spent are still hot topics, but there have been new ideas introduced. Abortion was likely not as serious of an issue in the 40’s as it is now, and the same goes for gun rights.

    To me it looks like the fifth era was a little bit extended, and we are currently transitioning from one set of topics to another, but federal spending is likely to always be an issue.

  7. I’ve actually observed these political party changes through casual reading over the past few years and it seems like we are going through a 6th realignment. But this new realignment isn’t very new. The 6th realignment is almost presented as a carbon copy of the 4th realignment. Given that the U.S. economy is still undergoing a recovery from the industrial and corporate class to the laborer class recession, both political parties are looking into recreating a prosperous economy. Although, this wouldn’t be coincidental. Both parties want to appease the entire population of the U.S. but with different approaches. One political party (Democrats) wants to target increased improvement of the economy through the working and unionized class and the other political party wants to focus on corporate industries to improve economic woes.

  8. I am not positive if we are moving into a new realingment or not because there are so many issues the government has that will always stay an issue. Economy, federal spending, health care are just a few of those examples. I feel i hear alot less about republicans now a days and maybe thats a sign that a realignment is coming? Whether we are about to have one or not i believe we may need one because our government has a lot of issues and some things should be changed.

  9. Shannon Siaperas

    I do not believe that we are in a new realignment. The republicans and democrats have been arguing over the same issues for so long, I don’t think things are going to change anytime soon. Besides, there are still unresolved issues.

  10. I would say we are still in the fifth realignment. If you look into specific details of certain situations, a lot of it lies in the bridge of federal or state support. For example, the legalization of marijuana is still in the hands of state authorities, it hasn’t become a federal issue although some people think it should be. There are some things the state should handle and others that the federal authorities should handle. Another example of this is the ban on guns (such as here in Chicago) or gay marriage. These issues and many more still hang in the air and on a fine line between federal and state officials.

  11. We are still in the 5th realignment, because the United States citizens are still debating whether there should be more government or less government involvement. Although this realignment exceeds the 30-40 year period that has been seen in previous realignments, it is still relevant in the way people think today. The 5th realignment goes back to the same issues seen in the very first realignment, and this will always be a debatable topic in the United States. With the indistinct two party system it is hard to decide through voting for president whether there will be more government involvement or less government involvement.

  12. I believe we are in a transition phase, between the 5th and the 6th realignment. We still have Democrats pushing policy from the government and Republicans pushing policy from the States. We are in a transition period because neither party is getting it right and I think that the American people can see that now. We need something to change, because neither party is making much progress in our current situation. The GOP is working hard to change the direction of the party and have a fresh persective. It seems as though they are focusing on becoming a little more modern and progressive. I believe we will see a lot of changes with the parties and the “faces” of the parties by the next Presidential election.

  13. Vanessa Menchaca

    I believe that we are still in fifth realignment because we have two parties which are Democratic and Republican. Even thought our times are different the two parties are still fighting against each other. Also, these two parties that we look at for the majority of the time.

  14. Like many above have commented I am not quite sure what to think about this topic. It seems that we are stuck in the fifth alignment trying to fix things now that were caused in the past. As Lena stated above the government is focusing on the three r’s; relief, recovery, and reform. The government has always tried to help the people in need with welfare, other forms of aid to help the unemployed. Now Obama is repeating that and adding to it with his new healthcare reform called obama care, and also making sure that children are taken care of while in school if their parents cannot afford lunches, and etc. So my view on this topic is that we are stuck in the fifth alignment and until a big event happens we will continue to be stuck in this alignment.

  15. I don’t believe that we are currently realigning as of right now. If anything we are still in the fifth realignment period because it occurs from
    (1932-present) and were obviously still in the present. I don’t think we had that significant event that would cause a realignment in the first place. Yes we’ve had natural disasters,wars,and a recession but it seems like we just keep bouncing back. From my understanding of how it’s written in the history books and such during the Great Depression the bottom fell out from under everyone not just the working class. Of course if you’re already barely making it you were hit harder then the rich. With the recession it seems like the bottom just fell out of the middle class. The poor weren’t really affected because they were already poor and the rich weren’t affected because obviously their rich.

  16. Personally, I don’t see realignment happening at all. What are the Republicans doing to stay relevant? They have become the anti-Obama party, it’s ridiculous. That’s all they stand for and this generation will remember them as the party who wouldn’t let Obama do his job. What a horrible legacy. As far as the Democrats are concerned, what do they stand for? They have no idea what money is. They are too busy doing Staples commercials. Press print and problem solved. That was easy! I think we have reached a point where either third parties (Tea Party, Libertarian Party) become relevant or something drastic happens in this country, just take a look at Europe. How can the Republicans reinvent themselves? They have self-destructed. The Democrats have nothing to offer either. How can anyone sincerely believe they have done a good job? Both parties are in wretched states. Our Founding Fathers are pounding their fists where they lay.

  17. Heba Alshweek

    I still think we are in the 5th realignment. both parties can not agree on any of the major issues at hand so how can we move forward, the repblican party is blocking everything President Obama wants to do. Its difficult to say we are moving to the 6th realignment when repblicans wont move on major issues and have become more and more of trying to destroy the president then help then help this country move forward.

  18. I stand unsure because the point that I look from is that our government is changing a lot, and they them self don’t know what they are doing. I mean some people say that we are in the 6th because its been 30 plus years since the 5th. We might be in the 6th because its been already more than 30 plus years, but the way that our government is right now and the way that our economy is its hard to say where America really is right now.

  19. Matt Kaczorowski

    I don’t feel we are realigning at the moment because there really hasn’t been major to switch focus on. Everyone is still arguing and complaining on government’s role in our lives and different programs offered by them. While there have been some big events in our country lately, I don’t think they have been enough to cause a new alignment period or switch focus from things.

  20. Rawan Altaher

    In my opinion I think we are still in the fifth realignment period. We are still in the process of working out the new deal. Although there has been many changes and solutions like relief, recovery and reform. I feel as though the U.S. is still undergoing the process and trying to fix what has happened in the past. Even with all the attempts and changes that have been made there is still much to resolve.

  21. I would have to say that we are still in the fifth realignment period because the government is still attempting to work on the same issues that the country has. I haven’t really noticed any change yet. I think that the biggest issue right now is our economy and making it better. Even though it is pretty much impossible to get out of the rut we are in right now, I think that the economy should start to get better soon if the government starts making the right decisions. Once that gets better then maybe we will enter the 6th realignment period.

  22. Magdelena Kurnat

    We have not moved much from the views of the 5th realignment. The Democrats seem to still be focusing on a strong central government, while Republicans oppose this. They don’t seem to push much for state government, but they largely oppose strong government intervention in many aspects. We can see this especially now when looking on issues with the economy. The Democrats and Republicans seem to not be able to agree on how much government should actually do.

  23. I believe we are not realigning because the nation with the economy and other issues are not changing. Even though it was said that change will happen, it hasn’t. As many people stated the fifth realignment is what we remain it, i agree. If something dramatic happens than that will change but untill then i think that is where we will stay.

  24. I don’t think we are realigning. Things seem to have been steady for quite a few years now. Realignment would be noticeable if it were happening, and there hasn’t been anything significant to suggest a realignment.

  25. Aneta Bukowska

    I am not too sure where our governments stands right now. Things are constantly changing, but it doesn’t seem as if government is implementing anything to help out the economy. Time are always going to change and so will people, that is which i believe that there should be a realignment happening. I just don’t think it is happening yet.

  26. As of right now i do not believe that we are in a realignment period. We have so many strong issues with the economy right now that any person that comes along and promises that they will help fix that, and get us out of debt we would vote for them. In order for us to be in the 6th realignment period we need to have a president actually fix or attempt to fix all of our countrys finicial problems. Until then we are still in the 5th period, and I have a feeling we will be here for along time.

  27. In my opinion we are currently in the fifth realignment period because although the issues have changed, the two parties still share opposing beliefs on how involved the government should be in our lives. Each realignment period had a new issue that was of the greatest significance and there has not been one to radically change the views of the two parties since 1932. The main premise of the democratic and republican parties has not been altered and until that happens realignment will not occur.

  28. Miguel Benitez

    I think that we are in the sixth because there’s a lot of things that the presidents have to do now and fight for. Even though we have already experienced a recession and an immigration reform, those are some of the top priorities that they’re fighting for. The way I see it, is that if the republicans don’t try to do anything for immigrants, they probably won’t win anymore elections. So the republicans got a lot to lose.

  29. The United States is in its fifth realignment period. Since 1932, a main concept of government is that Democrats favor a big government whereas Republicans favor a small government. Political parties, both democratic and republican, have been going through dealignment since the 1970’s because more people are becoming independent. The United States runs on an indistinct two party system, it is durable and it works. Able voters want to vote for someone that will win, so they still vote Republican or Democrat even if they have declared themselves as being “independent,” because they want to vote for a winner. I can’t foresee the United State’s next realignment era, most likely because of the economic crisis its undergoing. Things are bad and times are rough for the majority of the people in the country, and not one person could be in favor of an evident 17 trillion dollar debt ceiling. This being said, until a political leader begins to make his/her people happy and somehow manage to do the impossible and maneuver the country out of debt, more and more citizens will begin to follow suite and call themselves “independent.” As long as this happens, the opportunity for political leaders to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in a community that does not appreciate or respect them is slim.

  30. The United States is in its fifth realignment period. Since 1932, a main concept of government is that Democrats favor a big government whereas Republicans favor a small government. Political parties, both democratic and republican, have been going through dealignment since the 1970′s because more people are becoming independent. The United States runs on an indistinct two party system, it is durable and it works. Able voters want to vote for someone that will win, so they still vote Republican or Democrat even if they have declared themselves as being “independent,” because they want to vote for a winner. I can’t foresee the United State’s next realignment era, most likely because of the economic crisis it’s undergoing. Things are bad and times are rough for the majority of the people in the country, and not one person could be in favor of an evident 17 trillion dollar debt ceiling. This being said, until a political leader begins to make his/her people happy and somehow manages to do the impossible and maneuver the country out of debt, more and more citizens will begin to follow suite and call themselves “independent.” As long as this happens, the opportunity for political leaders to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in a community that does not appreciate or respect them is slim.

  31. Over the years, both parties have been shaped around pretty much the same thing. There are a few social issues that have been discussed and debated over the years and some drastic changes have been made, fast, but for the most part nothing has changed the way our government has run.

  32. I believe we are not realigning. We are still very focused on the size of government issues. There seems to be a small change but nothing drastic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s