Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The Other "Party of Lincoln"

E.J. Dionne argues that a different regional realignment is occurring in contrast to the Southernization of the GOP:

[A] quiet counter-realignment has been under way in the Northeast and Midwest. Post political writer Dan Balz was one of the first to notice after Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection that longtime Republican suburban bastions in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York and New Jersey were moving the Democrats' way.

If Democrats take the House this fall, it will be the culmination of this trend. To put it in historical terms, if Democrats have suffered in the states of the Old Confederacy, many of their best opportunities in November are in states carried by the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, in the 1860 election.


The realignment of the South has been more important than any other factor in the rise of the Republican Party to majority status in Congress. It would be one of history's ironies if that majority were imperiled by the reassertion of the Lincoln states.
The other irony, of course, is that this counter-realignment was initially triggered by Bill Clinton -- whom many party leaders supported because of a belief in his built-in appeal to the South.

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