“A parliamentary era”

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

“No Joe. Not That.” – DelawareLiberal.net:

An era of bipartisanship existed during the Cold War because of the Cold War and because the two parties were both ideologically divided. There were liberals and conservatives in both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. And a lot of them, not just one or two. So there was bipartisanship because either the liberal wing of both parties voted for something, or the conservative wing of both parties voted for something.

That era is over. It is not coming back. We are now in a Parliamentary Era where each party represents one ideology. We have been since 1994. Our punditry, and old fools like Carl Bernstein, need to finally finally wake up to it.

Washington cannot be united. And it shouldn’t be. What instead has to happen is that, if you want anything to get done in Congress, is to vote for one party completely or the other, so that you have Congress and the Presidency controlled by one party.


Previously from AFD on this topic:

“Polarization”It’s odd to talk about Congressional “polarization” now while ignoring how ideologically confused the parties used to be.
SBBS: “Pelosi’s Parliament”How Nancy Pelosi ran the U.S. House like a parliament.
“The Susan Collins Dilemma”If a Senator votes to left on key Democratic issues but guarantees a Republican majority, which matters more?

2015 U.S. House composition (with one vacancy). Credit: Nick.mon / Wikimedia

2015 U.S. House composition (with one vacancy). Credit: Nick.mon / Wikimedia

When The Party’s Over: The 1820s in US Politics

A recent eye-catching Washington Post op-ed, reacting to the surges of Trump and Sanders, posed the historically-based question “Are we headed for a four-party moment?” This op-ed had potential — it’s true after all that the seemingly solid two-party system in the U.S. occasionally has fragmented for a few cycles while a major re-alignment occurs — but, for some reason, it only used the 1850s and 1948 as examples (and 1948 isn’t even very illustrative in my view).

A far more intriguing additional parallel would be the 1820s (and the 1830s aftershocks). In 1820, one-party rule under the Democratic-Republican Party was fully achieved on the executive side of government, and no one opposed President Monroe for either re-nomination or re-election. It was the party’s 6th consecutive presidential win. The Federalists remained alive only in Congress, where 32 representatives (just 17% of the House membership) remained. By 1823, there were only 24 Federalists in the House. By the fall of 1824, they had all picked a Democratic-Republican faction to support.

That year’s factionalism, however, was when things fell apart for single-party rule, alarmingly rapidly. The Democratic-Republican Party ran four (4!) different nominees and 3 running mates (Calhoun hopped on two tickets). Andrew Jackson won the popular vote and the most electoral votes, but no one won a majority of the electoral college. So, the U.S. House (voting in state-blocs under the Constitution) had to pick, and they chose Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the second-place finisher.

1824 presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson, Orange denotes those won by Adams, Green denotes those won by Crawford, Light Yellow denotes those won by Clay. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state. (Map via Wikipedia)

1824 presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson, Orange denotes those won by Adams, Green denotes those won by Crawford, Light Yellow denotes those won by Clay. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state. (Map via Wikipedia)

In 1828, when Jackson set out to avenge his 1824 defeat-by-technicality, a huge number of new (but still White and male) voters were permitted to vote for the first time. Contrary to the popular mythology, not every new voter was a Jackson Democrat, though many were. To give a sense of scale for the phenomenon, both Jackson and Adams had gained hundreds of thousands of votes over the 1824 results in their 1828 rematch. At the time, that was so huge that the increases to each in 1828 were actually larger than the entire 1824 turnout had been.

In part as a result of all of this turmoil in the electorate, the party split permanently that year, creating the Democratic Party (which continues to present), under challenger Jackson, and the rival “Adams Men” trying to keep President Adams in office that year. The Democrats under Jackson won easily in 1828. A third party, the Anti-Masons, entered the U.S. House with 5 representatives.

The defeated Adams Men faction, having lost their titular leader, became the Anti-Jacksons — and were officially named National Republicans in 1830. That year, in the midterms, the Anti-Masons picked up more seats, to hold 17, while a 4th party (under Calhoun) of “Nullifiers” sent 4 representatives. But Jackson’s Democrats held a clear House majority.

The large influx of new voters also still needed to be managed, particularly by the opposition. The three big (or sort of big) parties in 1832 — Democrats, National Republicans, and Anti-Masons — held national conventions (all in Baltimore) as part of this democratization and party-organization push. Democrats, however, still clearly held an organizing advantage. Read more

May 27, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 85

Topics are net neutrality, Idaho, US political reform, Afghanistan withdrawal. People: Bill and Sarah.

Discussion Points:

– Why does net neutrality matter?
– Should the Democratic Party in states like Idaho and Texas focus on candidate recruitment or party building? Should Congress have smaller House districts?
– What will happen to Afghanistan after the U.S. pulls troops out by 2016?

Part 1 – Net Neutrality:
Part 1 – Net Neutrality – AFD 85
Part 2 – US Political Reform:
Part 2 – US Political Reform – AFD 85
Part 3 – Afghanistan:
Part 2 – Afghanistan – AFD 85

To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.

Related links

– AFD: The loss of net neutrality will change everything (here’s why)
– NYT: FCC: New Net Neutrality Rules
– NYT Editorial: Creating a Two-Speed Internet
– Mother Jones: The Idaho GOP Gubernatorial Debate Was Total Chaos
– Reuters: Obama plans to end U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan by 2016
– AFD: France announces indefinite Sahel deployment


RSS Feed: Arsenal for Democracy Feedburner
iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.