Era Five Elections
1932-2012
  Safety Net Created and Expanded
Flip Flops Continue as
Political Polarity Increases

1. 1798-1824  2. 1828-1852   3. 1856-1892  4. 1896-1928 6. 1976-2012
Return to U.S. Politics 5/15/19

New Era Highlights

Change came because 1) Bonus Army deaths caused outrage during the summer of 1932 and 2) Hoover's economic policies had done little to help the needy. Democrats promoted American Liberalism to a New Deal Coalition consisting of well-organized labor unions, Southerners, urban political machines, progressive intellectuals, populist farm groups and Roman Catholic, Jewish, and African Americans religious-ethno constituencies.

 

Some Experts feel a Sixth Party System emerged to end the New Deal coalition in the mid-1960s when the Republicans began to dominate in the South, rural areas, and the suburbs. Solidified in the1980s with the Moral Majority and the Reagan coalition this Republican Revolution continued in  2015 with their control of the 114th United States Congress .

 

 Election Summary

Republicans

Democrats

 
Election of 1932 The Great Depression provide the background. N.Y. Governor F. Roosevelt avoided divisive cultural issues and chose southern conservative John Nance of Texas as his running mate.
Election of 1936 was the most lopsided Electoral College presidential election.
Election of 1940 saw voters accept FDR's third term because of World War Two.
Election of 1944 NY Governor Dewey campaigned against big government New Deal programs but he couldn't get a change of course despite poor presidential health rumors that were somewhat dispelled by Roosevelt's vigorous campaigning.

Election of 1948 was a major upset as H.S.Truman fooled the pollsters when his whistle stop strategy proved personality had defeated New York Governor John Dewey's political machine.
Franklin D. Roosevelt continued the Presidential trend of doing anything "he" felt necessary" to protect the nation. Think John Adams, Abe Lincoln, FDR, R. Nixon, G.W. Bush. President Roosevelt was first to use massive debt to solve a non-military problem (Great Depression poverty). Like military debt, this new debt would be refinanced with little ever paid back (retired). The size of the deficits/debt over time has been lowered to reasonable levels by nominal GDP growth. Think Can this be done with projected SS, Medicare and pension contingent liabilities.
Harry S. Truman, a product of the Kansas City Old boy network, made these difficult decisions 1) used "the bomb" to quickly end WW2, 2) quickly recognized the new State of Israel 3) used the Marshall Plan & NATO to prevent a repeat of post WW I type international problems 4) officially ended Monroe Doctrine isolationism with the Truman Doctrine and 5) he relieved from duty popular war hero General Douglas MacArthur who had trouble following Korean War presidential instructions.
Election of 1952 Winning Republican candidate Eisenhower had been courted by Democrats. He campaigned against the Truman policies he labeled as "Korea, Communism and Corruption."
Election 1956
saw a popular unhealthy president easily win the last 48 state election. Ike was the last presidential candidate born in the 19th century .
Dwight D. Eisenhower quickly ended the Korean War but by helping England's Churchill overthrow the democratically elected Iranian government; he extended U.S. the Middle-East involvement. His accomplishments include enhanced national security with the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act and increased Patriotism accomplished by making faith a more important part of American politics. Upon leaving office he warned of dangers from the military industrial complex.
Election of 1960 saw Kennedy win by only 112,827 votes though the Electoral College vote was 303 to 219. Nixon was the first loser to win the state battle 26 to 23 while Alabama and Mississippi went for Harry F. Byrd. Oklahoma's "faithless electors" accounted for the missing state. The election of two incumbent U.S. senators (Kennedy and Johnson) was a first that would not be repeated until 2008. John F. Kennedy Our first Roman Catholic president began with poor execution of the Eisenhower designed and Nixon planned Bay of Pigs Invasion. Many conservatives feel he should have drawn a RED LINE in relation to the 1961 Soviet inspired Berlin Wall crisis. Among his major accomplishments during his assassination shortened presidency were the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Peace Corps, the Space Race to land an American on the moon and some Civil Rights progress.
Election of 1964 saw an unsuccessful bid from Republican conservative Senator Barry Goldwater but his ideas influenced the modern conservative movement and began a long Republican Party realignment. Lyndon B, Johnson was a master politician who put aside animosity from most Kennedys and ushered through congress the 1965 Social Security Amendments which created Medicare and Medicaid. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 began a long-delayed national healing process existing from long before the Civil War. Many feel Johnson's unpopular Vietnam War escalation made for an unhappy end to his presidency.
Election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years. It centered on restoring law and order to a country torn by riots and crime. A wrenching 1968 campaign was conducted during violence that included the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and subsequent race riots plus the assassination of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. Nixon just beat Hubert Humphrey in the popular vote but easily won the Electoral College while third party candidate George Wallace got almost ten million votes for the far-right American Independent Party.
Election of 1972 was an easy Nixon victory as Senator McGovern's anti-war campaign was hurt by his outsider status, limited party support, perception he was a left-wing extremist and a V.P. nominee T. Eagleton scandal.
Richard M. Nixon was possibly our most contentious president. He accomplished a nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, instituted successful diplomatic relations with China and the Nixon Doctrine began the long process of ending the Cold War. Domestically he enforced desegregation, established the Environmental Protection Agency and tried but failed to control inflation with wage and price controls. His desire to maintain U.S. international credibility by extending U.S. Vietnam War involvement eliminated any possibility that liberals would ignore the Watergate Scandal and he was impeached.
Gerald Ford probably doomed his political future with a quick Nixon pardon. Ford lived longer than any other U.S. president, 93 years and 165 days and his 895-day presidency remains the shortest term of all presidents who did not die in office.

 

 

Republicans Democrats
Presidential Elections

"And Now the Rest of the Story

Election of 1976 Ford who was not able to secure the nomination over R. Reagan until the Party Convention lost to relatively unknown former Georgia Governor J. Carter. Carter's narrow victory made him the first president elected from the Deep South since Zachary Taylor in 1848.

Jimmy Carter's 1978 Camp David Accords were the high point of recent Middle East peace efforts. Carter inherited  stagflation. The inflation part was solved with the pain of two recessions orchestrated by his FED Chairperson Paul Volker. Economic growth had to wait until after Ronald Regan tax cuts/deficits.

Election of 1980 saw Carter attacked Reagan as a dangerous right-wing radical while Reagan won easily as he pledged to uplift the nation's pessimistic mood. Congressional elections also went Republicans for the first time in 28 years. This began the Reagan Revolution which signified a conservative national political realignment. Election 1984 went Republican as the economic stagflation of low growth with high inflation was over. Reagan joined Nixon (1972) as the only candidate to carry 49 of the 50 states.

Ronald Reagan cut taxes, increased defense spending, ignored federal deficits which today look insignificant because of nominal economic growth. His Supply Side Economics sought economic growth through more efficient production caused by less regulation and low taxes rather than government supported demand. His low taxes and large military spending was Keynesian demand supported growth that soon lowered the relative size of the annual federal deficit and accumulated debt. The later had stayed below 40% of GDP until 1) New Deal and 2) WW2 spending caused it to peak at 120% of GDP. The Penn Square 1982 Bank bailout began a new chapter in the long history of government helping business.

Election of 1988 saw a good economy, a stable international stage, and Reagan's popularity foster the third consecutive presidential victory for the Republican Party. It was the first time that a party had won more than two consecutive presidential elections since the Democrats won five straight elections from 1932-1938.

George H. W. Bush popularity peaked early because his 1990 Coalition of the First Gulf War repelled Iraq's Kuwait invasion. Not always conservative, he signed the Immigration Act of 1990 that led to a 40 percent increase in legal immigration and his temporary ban on certain important semiautomatic rifles cost him a NRA endorsement.

Election 1992 went to Clinton as 1) Bush broke his no new taxes pledge, 2) the economy was in recession 3) Bush's perceived foreign policy strength was less important with the fall of the Soviet Union and Middle East stability after the Gulf War victory. Economic conservative Ross Perrot got 19% of the vote helping Democrat Clinton.
Election of 1996 A
strong economy caused a small 49.0% turnout which was lowest since 1924. Clinton beat Republican Bob Dole with help from Reform Party candidate businessman Ross Perot.

Bill Clinton was another contentious president who survived the Lewinsky scandal as twenty-five years of increased education had cultivated a mare tolerant nation. This allowed him to appoint more women and minority federal court judges than white male judges and also to have a very diverse cabinet. The longest economic expansion in American history allowed for increase educational opportunities, lower crime and increased homeownership. The little noticed 1999 Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act initiated by Republicans and signed Democrat  Clinton continued Republican liberalized of financial regulation which added to the many causes of The Great Recession.

Election of 2000 was one of the most contentious in history as it marked the fourth time the winner failed to win a plurality. See 1824, 1876, and 1888). A Florida recount required Supreme Court intervention which followed party lines. The Green Party adversely affected Democratic Al Gore.
Election of 2004 was a G.W. victory over John Kerry
Bush's popular vote victory was the smallest ever for a reelected incumbent president. Only three states changing side.

George W. Bush reacted to September 9/11 attacks with a War on Terror, a War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. His major tool was the USA PATRIOT Act which established Department of Homeland Security. He also implemented 1) tax cuts 2) No Child Left Behind 3) Medicare Part D but vetoed State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation 4) government activities to and 5) he promoted the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban and Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Election of 2008 saw leading Democrat Hillary Clinton lose when the campaign switched focus from The War On Terror to economic concerns. This was the first election in which 1) neither major candidate was born in the contiguous U.S, (Obama/ Hawaii and McCain/Panama military base) 2) a woman presidential candidate ran in every primary/caucus and 3) Sarah Palin was the first female Republican VP candidate. Geraldine Ferraro was first major party's presidential candidate. Election of 2012 saw Mormon Mitt Romney lose by four points.

Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act finally fulfilled Democratic efforts for a national health insurance program that had begun with Harry Truman. Major federal health care involvement had began during WW 2 when employer provided health insurance was exempted from federal income tax. His to-date successfully completion of governmental attempts to negate effects of The Great Recession will be balanced against possible successes of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.