31 January, 2015

The Blight of Bipartisanship - The New Yorker

The Blight of Bipartisanship - The New Yorker: The tension between big-tent inclusiveness and ideological purity has bedevilled our two major political parties for many years, but for Democrats it became especially vexing in the middle decades of the twentieth century. From 1932 to 1964, the Democratic Party won seven out of nine Presidential elections and enjoyed an almost continuous majority in the House and the Senate. But who, exactly, was winning and what did victory mean? The answer was clear in only two intervals. The first was the initial phase of the New Deal, when Franklin Roosevelt’s economic-rescue proposals were swiftly passed into law by Congress and embraced by a nation traumatized by the Great Depression. The second came during the three-year period after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, when Lyndon Johnson and Congress went on a legislative spree that ended with the midterm election in November, 1966.