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« on: March 11, 2005, 02:56:49 am »
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jhsu asked 'Why aren't presidential races as national anymore?' In trying to answer, I came up with a theory of "big" re-alignment.

The basic idea is that a big trend you see is Republican support has become geographically much more broadly based. Just look at the Atlas map: a sea of blue.

Up until the middle third of the 20th century it was very simple that the Democrats were the party of the South and the Republicans were the party of the North. At that time, the Democrats had no chance in many Northern states and the GOP had no chance in the South. The West was competitive, but it simply was not relevant in most of this period because it was an extremely immature region with no clout. The real regions of the nation were the Midwest, Northeast, and South, and most of those regions were pretty solid for one party. Hence, presidential campaigns in that 1865-1928 era were no more "national" than they are today; change usually focused on a few critical states, although for the most part the Democrats were locked out based on regional structure.

Since then, what's happened is the North-South split has been replaced by an urban-rural split. The Democrats are now the party of the cities while Republicans are the party of the countryside, put crudely. The Republican majority is built on its advantage in the suburbs, which is now the big swing "region".

This is what I call the "big" re-alignment. The "big" re-alignment theory reflects a view of the FDR coalition not as a traditional political base but recognizes its exceptionalism as an inherently contradictory coalition reflecting an ongoing party transformation. That coalition was merely part 1 of this transformation of the North-South divide becoming the urban-rural divide. The "GOP Southern" re-alignment is part 2 of that transformation. What is traditionally seen as 2 separate re-alignments, I see as a single re-alignment spanning from 1928 through the present day.

So while elections may seem less national towards the end of this "big" re-alignment than they did during its process (1930s-1990s), they are no less national than they were prior to the beginning of the "big" re-alignment, that is, the 1920s and before.
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2005, 04:45:58 am »
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jhsu asked 'Why aren't presidential races as national anymore?' In trying to answer, I came up with a theory of "big" re-alignment.

The basic idea is that a big trend you see is Republican support has become geographically much more broadly based. Just look at the Atlas map: a sea of blue.

Up until the middle third of the 20th century it was very simple that the Democrats were the party of the South and the Republicans were the party of the North. At that time, the Democrats had no chance in many Northern states and the GOP had no chance in the South. The West was competitive, but it simply was not relevant in most of this period because it was an extremely immature region with no clout. The real regions of the nation were the Midwest, Northeast, and South, and most of those regions were pretty solid for one party. Hence, presidential campaigns in that 1865-1928 era were no more "national" than they are today; change usually focused on a few critical states, although for the most part the Democrats were locked out based on regional structure.

Since then, what's happened is the North-South split has been replaced by an urban-rural split. The Democrats are now the party of the cities while Republicans are the party of the countryside, put crudely. The Republican majority is built on its advantage in the suburbs, which is now the big swing "region".

This is what I call the "big" re-alignment. The "big" re-alignment theory reflects a view of the FDR coalition not as a traditional political base but recognizes its exceptionalism as an inherently contradictory coalition reflecting an ongoing party transformation. That coalition was merely part 1 of this transformation of the North-South divide becoming the urban-rural divide. The "GOP Southern" re-alignment is part 2 of that transformation. What is traditionally seen as 2 separate re-alignments, I see as a single re-alignment spanning from 1928 through the present day.

So while elections may seem less national towards the end of this "big" re-alignment than they did during its process (1930s-1990s), they are no less national than they were prior to the beginning of the "big" re-alignment, that is, the 1920s and before.

Good analysis.  The suburbs can be tricky depending on the part of the country & what not.  You have suburbs which have traditionally been Dem (Boston burbs, Seattle burbs) suburbs that were once GOP stronholds now Dem areas & trending DEM (NYC burbs, Philly burbs, D.C burbs, Denver burbs, Vegas burbs) and you have suburbs which are still GOP & some trending more GOP (Atlanta burbs, Houston burbs, Phoenix burbs, Cincinatti burbs)
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2005, 09:12:15 pm »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?  I donít know much about the development of the neocon movement.
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2005, 11:50:43 am »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?  I donít know much about the development of the neocon movement.

I think they follow their leader. And the opposite goes for the left. A majority of both sides would not be on the side they are on if Gore was the one attacking Iraq.
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2005, 11:17:11 pm »
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The basic idea is that a big trend you see is Republican support has become geographically much more broadly based. Just look at the Atlas map: a sea of blue.

This is what I call the "big" re-alignment. The "big" re-alignment theory reflects a view of the FDR coalition not as a traditional political base but recognizes its exceptionalism as an inherently contradictory coalition reflecting an ongoing party transformation. That coalition was merely part 1 of this transformation of the North-South divide becoming the urban-rural divide. The "GOP Southern" re-alignment is part 2 of that transformation. What is traditionally seen as 2 separate re-alignments, I see as a single re-alignment spanning from 1928 through the present day.

I still think that there were 2 distinct realignments. The only reason I say that is because from 1932-1968, our country was clearly in the hands of the Democratic party. They had their way with American politics for the most part. From 1932-52, they held a better than 2-1 majority in the house along with the white house. They passed legislation at will, and were clearly the dominant party, argueably the most powerful either party had been during any extended period in American history. It didn't end there. They took back the white house and just embarrassed the Republicans in 1964, once again passing legislation throughout the 1960's to their own likening. The only prominent Republican from that period was Ike, a moderate conservative.

1968 was clearly a changing of the gaurd. The Republicans slowly took control of the seante and although it took a while, also took congress back. By 2008, we'll have seen the GOP in the white house 28 out of the 40 years, and there have been 4 blowout elections in which the GOP candidate got at least 400 electoral votes. The only Democratic presidents? Carter, who won a contested election which turned out a lot closer than people realize, but that was simply because the opposing candidate had such a bad rap and the party had a black eye from earlier trangressions. There was also Clinton, seen as a moderate Democrat, especially when he was elected.

After the first realignment election, the Democrats could run left extremests and fully expect to win while the GOP couldn't do that. Since 68', it's the Republicans who can run a rightwinger and get away with it, while the Democrats seem to have to run someone at least seen as more of a centrist if they want to win. The point is that there are clearly two seperate trends from the two periods, and that's why I say there are two different realignments going on. Although this is seemingly a nit-picking point, I think it's important to point it out, because I don't think Democrats can expect to win with a real liberal type until the next realignment occurs.

Whatever, though. At least we both agree there were two realignments and when they were...
« Last Edit: March 15, 2005, 11:20:20 pm by RJ »Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2005, 12:13:43 am »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?† I don’t know much about the development of the neocon movement.

A lot of the neo-cons are former Communists.
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2005, 12:57:26 am »
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I still think that there were 2 distinct realignments. The only reason I say that is because from 1932-1968, our country was clearly in the hands of the Democratic party. They had their way with American politics for the most part. From 1932-52, they held a better than 2-1 majority in the house along with the white house. They passed legislation at will, and were clearly the dominant party, argueably the most powerful either party had been during any extended period in American history. It didn't end there. They took back the white house and just embarrassed the Republicans in 1964, once again passing legislation throughout the 1960's to their own likening. The only prominent Republican from that period was Ike, a moderate conservative.

1968 was clearly a changing of the gaurd. The Republicans slowly took control of the seante and although it took a while, also took congress back. By 2008, we'll have seen the GOP in the white house 28 out of the 40 years, and there have been 4 blowout elections in which the GOP candidate got at least 400 electoral votes. The only Democratic presidents? Carter, who won a contested election which turned out a lot closer than people realize, but that was simply because the opposing candidate had such a bad rap and the party had a black eye from earlier trangressions. There was also Clinton, seen as a moderate Democrat, especially when he was elected.

After the first realignment election, the Democrats could run left extremests and fully expect to win while the GOP couldn't do that. Since 68', it's the Republicans who can run a rightwinger and get away with it, while the Democrats seem to have to run someone at least seen as more of a centrist if they want to win. The point is that there are clearly two seperate trends from the two periods, and that's why I say there are two different realignments going on. Although this is seemingly a nit-picking point, I think it's important to point it out, because I don't think Democrats can expect to win with a real liberal type until the next realignment occurs.

Whatever, though. At least we both agree there were two realignments and when they were...

RJ, I think you've basically spelled out the traditional wisdom. I'm not challenging the idea that there was a distinct dominant majority coalition in the 1932-68 period, replaced by another distinct majority since 1968. In that sense you can say there were two realignments.

However, it's also known that there are some interesting characteristics of these coalitions that do not exactly fit the simple "after x date, team A controls these areas and groups and team B controls others" view.

For one thing, critical re-aligning election theory posits that there is a single election in which a new majority suddenly emerges. We know that this is not true with the creation of the most recent GOP majority. We can adjust this to say the new coalition emerged during several years, such as 1928-1936 or 1978-1984, but even this leaves major problems.

For example, as early as 1928, at the same time that the "New Deal" coalition first appeared in some parts of the country, the GOP made major inroads into the South that it did not make since the end of Reconstruction. Then in 1948, the South launched a full-scale revolt, and the "solid South" was never quite so solid after that, not even in the 1950s or in Carter's win. Yet 57 years later, in 2005, the Dixiecrats still control the state legislatures of four Deep South states. Clearly, this has been a long-term trend that cannot be demarcated by any single date, 1968 works for presidential elections only. Further, there is substantial overlap over the two coalitions.

The second thing, the New Deal coalition was hardly a unified coalition. While under the same party, it was marked by sharp ideological differences that manifested themselves as early as John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner's revolt in 1939. These differences exploded onto the national stage in every Democratic presidential victory other than FDR during this period (Truman, Kennedy, Johnson). And even with FDR, had his personal gravitas and the international situation not been so favorable (Germany launched its blitzkreig during a critical period in the 1940 Democratic convention when Garner was challenging FDR), he may have seen a major split in the party as well. It is clear this 'coalition' was rather unusual and especially divided.

Overall, the Democrats were the party of the South from Reconstruction up to 1928. With the nomination of Al Smith in 1928 and the rise of the new white ethnic groups to political influence within the Democratic party in Northern urban machines, the party became bifurcated into a Southern component and an urban component. However, the Southern component has gradually abandoned ship to the GOP, while the urban component has gradually strengthened. On the other hand, the GOP, once the party of the Northeast and Midwest, has gradually become the party of rural areas. The graduality of this dual process, spanning seven decades and continuing, defies any sort of analysis that sees no connection between the process that began in 1928 and is continuing to this very day.

Why might party divisions change from North-South to urban-rural? One explanation might be due to the ascendancy of artificial economic structures replacing natural ones. Regions are certainly a natural economic order. In an agricultural society, they determine which crops can be grown, and hence the type of labor, capital, and organizaiton needed to grow it, and hence the order of the society. Hence, the primary divide of the nation became North-South, based on the South's growth of cash crops as compared to subsistence farming, and the South's easily traversible rivers as compared to the importance of canals and railroads in the North. Artificial economic structures on the other hand, are very different... industrial structures are organized primarily in a hub-and-spoke network. With the appearance of things such as air conditioning and the erosion of the agricultural basis of the economy, regional differences between to disappear. A Ford or Toyota, or a microchip, can be manufactured just as well in Michigan or Alabama. Services can be performed just as well in New York or Florida. But services need customers, and manufacturing requires infrastructure for delivery.

Hence, the primary economic divisions of society are now based on the urban hub and the outer contribubatory spokes. These are the artificial "regions" that we have created; regions with different interests, experiences, and concerns. This may have a great deal to do with how parties have also evolved.
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2005, 01:07:28 am »
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I think there's a lot of truth to the idea that were are aligned not by region as much by urban-rural.  The electoral college tends to shape thing by state or region, but the enduring divide seems to be largely urban-rural.
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2005, 12:12:42 am »
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I suppose if you were to look at our history from 1928-present and attempt to comprehend certain objectives, you could say there is and has been one big realignment. I think it would be important to establish what the term "realignment" exactly means in order to verify whether there were two or in fact one and identify the criteria of each.

My thinking as to why the New Deal and the GOP south are two seperate realignments is I don't think there are common elements as to why the two occurred. First, the urban-rural divide isn't exactly what led to the GOP winning the South. Although the GOP made certain advancments in the South before 1968, the Democratic party was clearly the dominant party at least until 1960. There are also certain states that don't exactly follow the urban-rural splits as you described; the infamous "exceptions to the rule." Here in Ohio, this state(to me) clearly leans Republican, and there are a few good size cities here. I live near Dayton, about 60 miles north of Cincy. Dayton is a strong liberal town, but Columbus and Cincinnati are good GOP bases. The cities in the north of the state are democratic in nature, but the average is thrown off by Col, Cin, and some of the more densly populated counties in southeast OH. Wisconsin has a population density more favorable for the GOP than Ohio's if you follow the rural-urban rule. Iowa's is similar to Wisconsin's, however both †lean Democtaric. Texas and Georgia, however, are strong GOP states and both of them have big cities. I'd guess about 15% of Georgia's population is in Atlanta. In comparison, I'd say a similar portion of Wisconsin's population is in Milwaukee, yet it is opposite Georgia's position. My thinking is there is something else that caused the South to go Republican, and that had nothing to do with the New Deal or the Urban-Rural split theories. I also don't think the urban-rural theory holds a lot of water in the midwest or the old border states with the exception of Illinois or perhaps Michigan.

It has been suggested that the state governments in the south being democratic is a remnant of the days when the Democrats dominated the south. I think it has more to do with the fact that certain states in the south are per capita well below the national average income wise. While southerners may prefer GOP "values and standards," they prefer the democratic party's more leftist economics. I'll reiterate that the Democrats were the party of the South long after the New Deal and I don't think it was the New Deal realignment which changed that.

It may be a bit of a mistake as you suggested to draw points in history and say"this is how it was before, this was how it was after." The divisions in the New Deal Coalition is also something I'm not familiar with and probably should look into. Still, I think there were two distinctly different realignments going on. I'd make my case further, but I don't want to rant anymore than I already have. Wink
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2005, 08:54:40 pm »
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Becoming more Conservative: IA, WI, UT, AL, TX

Becoming less Conservative: VA, OR, NH. NC, CO
Also FL from 1988 to 2000 but not in 2004.

More or less stable: PA, OH, NM, NV
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2005, 12:54:03 pm »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?  I donít know much about the development of the neocon movement.

A lot of neo-cons are former Trotskyists.
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2005, 05:54:32 pm »
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My thinking as to why the New Deal and the GOP south are two seperate realignments is I don't think there are common elements as to why the two occurred. First, the urban-rural divide isn't exactly what led to the GOP winning the South. Although the GOP made certain advancments in the South before 1968, the Democratic party was clearly the dominant party at least until 1960. There are also certain states that don't exactly follow the urban-rural splits as you described; the infamous "exceptions to the rule." Here in Ohio, this state(to me) clearly leans Republican, and there are a few good size cities here. I live near Dayton, about 60 miles north of Cincy. Dayton is a strong liberal town, but Columbus and Cincinnati are good GOP bases. The cities in the north of the state are democratic in nature, but the average is thrown off by Col, Cin, and some of the more densly populated counties in southeast OH. Wisconsin has a population density more favorable for the GOP than Ohio's if you follow the rural-urban rule. Iowa's is similar to Wisconsin's, however both †lean Democtaric. Texas and Georgia, however, are strong GOP states and both of them have big cities. I'd guess about 15% of Georgia's population is in Atlanta. In comparison, I'd say a similar portion of Wisconsin's population is in Milwaukee, yet it is opposite Georgia's position. My thinking is there is something else that caused the South to go Republican, and that had nothing to do with the New Deal or the Urban-Rural split theories. I also don't think the urban-rural theory holds a lot of water in the midwest or the old border states with the exception of Illinois or perhaps Michigan.

It has been suggested that the state governments in the south being democratic is a remnant of the days when the Democrats dominated the south. I think it has more to do with the fact that certain states in the south are per capita well below the national average income wise. While southerners may prefer GOP "values and standards," they prefer the democratic party's more leftist economics. I'll reiterate that the Democrats were the party of the South long after the New Deal and I don't think it was the New Deal realignment which changed that.

It may be a bit of a mistake as you suggested to draw points in history and say"this is how it was before, this was how it was after." The divisions in the New Deal Coalition is also something I'm not familiar with and probably should look into. Still, I think there were two distinctly different realignments going on. I'd make my case further, but I don't want to rant anymore than I already have. Wink

Some good points.

I don't have a particular definition of realignment, when I said that I just meant a shift in the relative bases of the parties' support based on some identifiable variable.

The GOP clearly did not take the South due to the urban-rural divide directly, or immediately. At first civil rights and later, social liberalism are the actual substantive issues here, which I recognize. However given the fact that there was only one Democratic party, I want to explain how two different constituencies developed within the same party, one which pushed "liberalism" and the other which represented a region. What were these two constituencies based on? I clearly see the liberal element as based around northern cities, around white ethnics, and around Catholics, at least initially. Hence, look at the importance of Al Smith's nomination. And you had the same type of competition within the Republican party between the traditional northeastern base and the South/West coalition that got most of its support in the suburbs outside of the cities, though I'm less clear about this.

I'd also say that Wisconsin as a whole is moving towards the GOP, so the differential between itself and Georgia will merge in the long term... of course this depends on Georgia stabilizing. I can't prove my hypothesis but I believe Wisconsin will move towards the GOP and Georgia will stabilize. Look at the Atlanta area, not just the city but the suburbs, and they are clearly stabilizing compared to the rest of the state. The surge in Bush support last year came mostly from outside Atlanta and the immediate suburbs. Wisconsin on the other hand is getting closer each time, considering Nader.

I am not too familiar with all of the local conditions around the country, in fact I have only lived in one place my entire life. I can only look based on county data in certain places. In Ohio for example, I look at Dave's map and see that Cuyahoga, Summit, Franklin, Montgomery, and Hamilton are colored the darkest in the population map, the last three which correspond to Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, and they trended Democratic in 2004 by 4.48%, 3.51%, 8.23%, -0.44%, 5.87%, respectively, while the state as a whole trended Democratic by 1.40%. So Dayton trended a bit more Republican, but the other 4 places trended significantly more Democratic. In Indiana on the other hand, the state trended Republican by 5.05%, but Lake by only 3.18% and Marion where Indianapolis by -3.23%, where the differential between the parties was the worst for the GOP since 1964. This could just be the result of population movement, or any various other factors.

Thats all for now.
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2005, 09:23:06 pm »
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Also FL from 1988 to 2000 but not in 2004.


Just 'hilarious' is all I have to say!
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2005, 10:08:35 pm »
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Also FL from 1988 to 2000 but not in 2004.


Just 'hilarious' is all I have to say!

Actually, it seems somewhat reasonable.

Remember, Florida gave Bush 41 more then 60% in '88, yet Clinton won in '96, and 2000 was razor-thin.

Some states seem to 'pulsate' between parties in elections, experiencing phases of both. The biggest example is Michigan - it was Republican during the 1950s, Democrat in the 60s, Republican in the 70s and 80s, and Democrat in the 90s and today. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances to explain it (Ike's popularity in the 1950s, the landslides of 1964, 1972, and 1984, the near-landslides of 1980 and 1988, and 1976 having Ford from Michigan). However, it seems to me that, by around 2012 or so, Michigan will be voting Republican, albeit only in Presidential elections. Of course, i doubt it will stay long...

Florida isn't a particularly pulsating state, but it probably had a somewhat left lurch during the early to mid 90s, possibly due to increasing numbers of retirees from the Northeast.
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2005, 10:32:51 pm »
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Yes, but I remember her saying during the election that Florida was certainly trending Democrat. And she gave a bunch of BS numbers and "trends" and said Kerry would win Florida by 2%. She was sure and never budged on her position. Now we get this :

Also FL from 1988 to 2000 but not in 2004.

I just found that comment hilarious.
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2005, 05:01:53 pm »
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I am not too familiar with all of the local conditions around the country, in fact I have only lived in one place my entire life. I can only look based on county data in certain places. In Ohio for example, I look at Dave's map and see that Cuyahoga, Summit, Franklin, Montgomery, and Hamilton are colored the darkest in the population map, the last three which correspond to Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, and they trended Democratic in 2004 by 4.48%, 3.51%, 8.23%, -0.44%, 5.87%, respectively, while the state as a whole trended Democratic by 1.40%. So Dayton trended a bit more Republican, but the other 4 places trended significantly more Democratic. In Indiana on the other hand, the state trended Republican by 5.05%, but Lake by only 3.18% and Marion where Indianapolis by -3.23%, where the differential between the parties was the worst for the GOP since 1964. This could just be the result of population movement, or any various other factors.

I'll have to look a little closer at Dave's maps. From what you're saying, Cincy and Col. were more democratic this year than Dayton(or the Democrats gained more of a percentage last year than in years prior?). I can tell you that in the county I'm in, the vote was about 2-1 in favor of Bush last year. Anyway, wasn't trying to be animated or anything, just laying out my case:)
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2005, 08:11:19 pm »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?  I donít know much about the development of the neocon movement.

A lot of the neo-cons are former Communists.

That's weird.
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2005, 08:40:53 pm »
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All neocons are former Democrats.  Some are former communists that merely voted Democrat. 

It's easy to be a communist on campus.  It's a little less practical after you graduate, get a job, start a family, pay taxes, and in general, get a real life.
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2005, 08:41:54 pm »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?† I donít know much about the development of the neocon movement.

A lot of the neo-cons are former Communists.

That's weird.

Probably untrue as well. †It's like saying a lot of Democrats are former Klansmen. †I'm sure that some Democrats were formerly in a Klan, but not "a lot."
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2005, 10:58:41 pm »
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Do you think that many former southern Democrats are now neocons?† I don’t know much about the development of the neocon movement.

A lot of the neo-cons are former Communists.

That's weird.

Probably untrue as well. †It's like saying a lot of Democrats are former Klansmen. †I'm sure that some Democrats were formerly in a Klan, but not "a lot."

http://pedantry.fistfulofeuros.net/archives/000346.html

Nevertheless, the origins of their ideology on the left are still apparent. The fact that most of the younger neocons were never on the left is irrelevant; they are the intellectual (and, in the case of William Kristol and John Podhoretz, the literal) heirs of older ex-leftists.

The idea that the United States and similar societies are dominated by a decadent, postbourgeois "new class" was developed by thinkers in the Trotskyist tradition like James Burnham and Max Schachtman, who influenced an older generation of neocons.

The concept of the "global democratic revolution" has its origins in the Trotskyist Fourth International's vision of permanent revolution. The economic determinist idea that liberal democracy is an epiphenomenon of capitalism, promoted by neocons like Michael Novak, is simply Marxism with entrepreneurs substituted for proletarians as the heroic subjects of history.

The influence of Marxism is particularly evident in neoconservative conceptions of patriotism.

In The Weekly Standard of last August 25, Kristol published an essay titled "The Neoconservative Persuasion" (evidently someone had neglected to inform Kristol, "the godfather of neoconservatism," about the new party line that neoconservatism does not exist).

Among what Kristol calls "the following 'theses' (as a Marxist would say)" is his claim that "large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns. Barring extraordinary events, the United States will always feel obliged to defend, if possible, a democratic nation under attack from nondemocratic forces, external or internal."

Therefore the United States should "defend Israel today...no complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary" (an odd sentiment from the former publisher of a magazine called The National Interest, of which I was executive editor from 1991 to 1994). Let us set the question of Israel aside for now, and note that very few Americans think of their country as a version of the USSR with liberal democracy instead of Marxism-Leninism as the official ideology--probably as few as think of American foreign policy in terms of "'theses' (as a Marxist would say)."

The redefinition of American patriotism as zealotry on behalf of a crusading, messianic ideology is compatible with a disrespect for actual American institutions, which, if it were expressed by leftists or liberals, would be denounced as un-American by neocon arbiters of American patriotism like Frum, a Canadian who bothered to become a US citizen only after he'd served in the Bush White House.

I've long dreamed of seeing someone ask David Frum just what his mother would say about his politics if she were still alive. Unfortunately, few Americans have ever heard of Barbara Frum, so no one does.

In theory, neoconservative ideology is more compatible with Israeli post-Zionism than with either the Labour Zionist or Revisionist Zionist forms of Israeli ethnic nationalism.

The neocons are always denouncing American "paleoconservatives" for claiming that US nationality must be founded on race (Caucasian) or religion (Christianity)--and yet they defend Israeli politicians and thinkers whose blood-and-soil nationalism is even less liberal than the "Buchananism" the neocons denounce in the US context.
Policy towards Israel comes in for some more bashing:
Unlike Brooks, Douglas Feith does not lie about the nature of Israeli nationalism.

In an address he delivered in Jerusalem in 1997 titled "Reflections on Liberalism, Democracy and Zionism," written before he became the third-most-powerful official in the Pentagon, Feith denounced "those Israelis" who "contend that Israel like America should not be an ethnic state--a Jewish state--but rather a 'state of its citizens.'" Feith argued that "there is a place in the world for non-ethnic nations and there is a place for ethnic nations." Feith's theory, unlike that of Brooks, permits pro-Likud neocons to preach postethnic universalism for the United States and blood-and-soil nationalism for Israel. While solving one problem for the neoconservative movement, Feith creates others.

He legitimizes identity politics, which the neocons despise--how can one justify Israel-centered Jewish ethnoracial nationalism while denouncing Afrocentrism or the sinister neo-Nazi idea of an "Aryan-German" or "Nordic" diaspora in the United States? Even worse, Feith's theory seems to endorse the false claim of anti-Semites that Jews are essentially foreigners in the nations in which they are born or reside. Indeed, according to the Jabotinskyite ideology shared by Sharon, Netanyahu and many (not all) of their neocon allies, there are only two kinds of Jews in the world: Israelis and potential Israelis. For generations, many if not most Jewish Americans have rejected this illiberal conception.

And ending with the aknowledgement that neocons like David Brooks are denying that the neo-cons actually exist:
David Brooks and his colleagues in the neocon press are half right. There is no neocon network of scheming masterminds--only a network of scheming blunderers. As a result of their own amateurism and incompetence, the neoconservatives have humiliated themselves. If they now claim that they never existed--well, you can hardly blame them, can you?

I feel, perversely, the urge to defend Marxism from the arguments Lind deploys against neo-cons, but as a summary of Leninist and Trotskyist tactics, it's not so far off base. To view the state as inherently ideological is certainly a defensible position. To view its primary function to be the propagation of an ideology is not. States are at their most effective when they are very conservative institutions, devoted not to the expansion of their ideologies or those of their citizens but to the perpetuation of the conditions for their existence
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