Monday, July 7, 2008

Realignment as an act of redemption

Party realignments are usually described as things that just happen to parties. Ezra sees it differently:
In the 60s, the Democrats went through a wrenching, and electorally lethal, expurgation process. In doing, the party lost not only the South, but a number of its own politicians. Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms both began their careers as Democrats and ended their lives as Republicans. As any conservative will tell you, these were not stupid men, and they left the Democratic Party for a reason: It had transformed itself into an institution that was hostile to racists. More than that, it transformed itself into a party whose electoral coalition relied on African-American voters.... The Party sought absolution through actual change, which is the only way to achieve it.

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