Evolution of the Democratic and Republican Parties

8 August 2016

The thesis of my essay is that over the last six decades, the Democratic and Republican Parties have evolved from coalitions of opposites in which neither were based on an ideology, to, for the Republican Party, a faction of libertarians, populists, Southern Democrats, and more recently the Tea Party, and for the Democratic Party a faction of liberals. The Republican Party moved to a more conservative political view as a reaction to the 1960s. In the 1980s, after the Republicans had already moved to the same political view as the Southern Democrats, the Southern Democrats left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.

After the movements, the Democratic and Republican Parties had an ideology, because they then had an “organized and coherent set of ideas” about politics (Jillson 111). Before the 1960s there were three major voting bodies in Congress, although there were only two major political parties. The Democratic Party was a combination of conservatives and liberals, while the Republican Party was a combination of libertarians and populists while the core of the party were independent. The most conservative and liberal Americans were democratic.

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While the Republican Party was more neutral, they were still more conservative than liberal because of their relationship with bankers and big business. The 1960s were a perfect storm of the religious left, students, and unions, with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the center. MLK was a populist republican that was at the forefront of the civil right movement and part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. They had recognized that the civil right movement was failing because of a lack of outside support and in effort to change this MLK helped found SNiCC, a student group, and became a union organizer.

SNiCC not only activated the students but started a movement that was not just about the civil rights. The sixties became a radical revolution decade in which the whole United States were shaken up and everything was questioned. After the sixties, the Republican Party came together because they did not like what had happened in the past decade. The libertarians asked the populists if they would rather feed the poor or save their souls, they choose to save their souls.

The libertarians said they would back the populists on their social issues, if they would abandon their interpretation of Jesus on the economy and abandon the poor. They agree and both move to a more conservative ideology, this is where the religious right comes from. They, with this movement, go politically to the space that the Southern Democrats were already. In the 1980s, Reagan said that the Democratic Party is the liberal party and the Republican Party is the conservative party, because of this the southern Democrats leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.

The Republican Party had morphed into a faction of libertarians, populists, and Southern Democrats. The Democratic Party just lost the Southern Democrats and rest remained part of the liberal ideology. In order to prevent the perfect storm of the sixties to happen again, Reagan and the Republicans effectively destroyed unions and students. The students get taken out because of tuition, because they need a job to pay tuition they did not have the time to protest.

The unions are destroyed when Reagan fired all the PHATCO, an air traffic control union, strikers and hired new ones. After this they went after unions more generally, Donald Reagan held a conference in which he tried to get companies to move their factories out of the United States, the thought was that no factories meant no unions. Over the course of the last six decades both parties evolved from a party without an ideology, to a Democratic Party with a liberalism ideology and a Republican Party with a conservatism ideology.

As a reaction to the radical, revolutionary decade of the 1960s, the Republican Party, at the time a coalition of libertarians and populists, moved to a more conservative ideology by the libertarians supporting the populists on the social issues and the populist abandoning the poor. With the Southern Democrats leaving the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party became a party with a single, liberal ideology and was no longer a coalition of liberals and conservatives.

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