They are many that are concluding that the American political parties are beginning to realign. Actually, their realignment is coming to an end, and new era of American politics is coming to fruition. That being said, thirty-six years in the making the parties have been realigning into something different, but they are possibly going to resemble the party models seen in Europe.
The New Deal era was the last political era. It ended when Ronald Reagan became president in 1980. Some believed that he would champion a new era, but the 1990s altered that possibility, and the 21st Century made matters more confusing.
This current era does not really have a name. Some consider it the “gridlock” era due to all the obstructionism and separate control of the different house of government and the hardened polarization.
The current presidential election in the United States is looking to be ground zero of this evolution. Political outsiders of the current political machine have stepped in on their own with surprising support.
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has neglected and ignored almost all of the Republican’s core values. All together they are symbolized by his border wall he has proposed to build. Trump wants to lead a new Republican platform—not on conservatism, but on nationalism.
Just about all of Trump’s policies echo those seen in far-right parties in Europe. Like those parties, isolationism is their greatest goal. Many of the parties are looking to leave the European Union and restrict much of their immigration. Like Trump, they also wish the ban the immigration of Muslims into their country citing the security concerns. They want to see an increase of strength in the military, and overall, they want to cooperate less with the international community. However, history has told us want happens from this, and the answer is war.
Ronald Reagan was far from an isolationist. He was championed free trade agreements around the world, and understood that democracy must prevail from communism in order to create peace. His successor George H.W. Bush utilized the US military in Panama and Iraq hoping to topple dictators that refuted democracy. Bill Clinton saw the creation the NAFTA and the European Union, and George Bush continued his father’s legacy, but with faulty measures. Barack Obama, combining minimal military force and diplomacy, has been utilizing the Arab Spring, the war against ISIL, and the flashpoint in Ukraine as a vestige to an ultimate solution of full democratization.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been embracing the globalist aspect of the modern world. They also understand how it has been bringing peace and unification among nations. Today, the current Democratic Party is embracing these notion, and moderate Republicans are also respecting it. With that, the moderate Republicans could align into the Democratic Party. This could possibly bring back the old Democratic-Republican Party, America’s original political party.
Bernie Sanders’ insurgency against the Democratic establishment is create America’s a new wave of socialism into the political system. Sanders’ aim is to reform the Democratic Party into a solid Leftist organization. However, his “revolution” is mandatory for such a desire. He is going to need a lot of support from the Democrats in congress who do not entire agree with him. The results of the current primary are damaging his chances at the presidency, but he will likely succeed in many areas.
Hillary Clinton will have to do one of two things if she is the nominee. She will both welcome and embrace Sanders’ ideals by possibly having him as her running mate to unite the party as it pushes further to the left, or she will reject him entirely to aim for distasteful Republicans that are keeping distance from Trump. She could do this to keep the party closer to the center. If she does that, those disenfranchised Sanders’ supporter could be forming a new Democratic Socialist Party, and with the support that Sanders has gotten over the primary season, they can definitely obtain seats in congress. Moderate Left Parties are not very popular in Europe as many EU nations have embraced Democratic Socialism, and many European are currently lead by such parties.
The Republican establishment is not ready to quit. They are most likely not going to ally with Clinton, and they are most hungry for a third party. Even though third parties usually equate to a defeat, it preserves their ideology and influence in congress just like it did during the Wilson and Clinton presidencies.
The Republicans, with much established support, could see the formation of Christian-conservative party similar to those seen all throughout Europe. Like the Socialist, these parties are very prominent and ruling in European nations. This kind of identity could succeed much easier than that of a nationalist one. Already, many Republicans have embraced their party as such especially from the debates over social issues.
With all this discussed, could America see four prominent political parties? After some possible events, it really can. It will likely echo the system in the UK with two dominant parties and two minor parties, but the fight for a majorities, especially in congress, could create some European political tropes like coalition governments and party alliances.
Is this something the framers of Constitution had intended? Absolutely not, but the continuing contrast within the parties says otherwise. Understanding America’s history with political alignments, the two parties might just embrace the new ideals.
The lasting effects will likely be seen in the Democrats as they continue their push to the left—a journey that started with Barack Obama. The Republicans with either be made or broken by Trump. Trump could win the election, and rebrand the GOP as a nationalist party, or he could lose and wither away. Traditional American conservativism will not die with him. However, like all the European nationalist party seen in history, their influence is not long lasting. They will either lose in an election, or in a war.
All in all, the new realignment could have the two parties argue the debates seen in Europe where the Democrats could express Reagan and Obama combined, calling for free trade and international cooperation, and the Republicans could debate isolationism, protectionist policies, and Fascist military expression. All the defense spending accumulated since the Cold War and after could have seeded Americans desire for a massive because that is what nationalism leads to, war. Maybe that is what Americans want, and that is Trump’s overall goal. Perhaps he wants to dismantle decades of international cooperation to feed his ego, or to “make America great again.” Even so, the European political system allowed for Hitler to be elected, and their systems never truly create a real majority. That leaves the question of whether the US should even be like Europe.