The paradigm shift in the Democratic Party is a gradual shift over time from its origins under Andrew Jackson to it’s eventual position in todays America being the opposition party to President Trump’s majority. In order to effectively portray the shift, four distinct periods need to be talked about in detail.
Jackson to the Civil War. The founding under Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party’s position as he founded the party. How the democratic party advanced democracy but was openly racist against African-Americans and American Indians. How the party took ingrained itself in the south. How the democrats became the party of the succeionists and to Andrew Johnson coming into power at the end of the war.
Reconstruction through the end/beginning of the Century. The effect of Reconstruction affected how the Democratic Party rebuilt and re-established its base as southern states were added back to the Union. The Democrats also established a tradition of Bourbon Democrats who were aligned with conservatism and classic liberalism. The Party still was installed in racist roots and regained its footing as the main power in the south but struggled to beat Republicans in elections and eventually lead them to William Jennings Bryan. The party took control again with Woodrow Wilson and he set the U.S Government in a new direction. The party didn’t really move in a new direction as a Racist Wilson was propped up by his majority racist party, while enacting change and winning a World War. The KKK comes into being during this time and the party continues to represent the worst parts of America.
Great Depression and the New Deal Coalition: The election of FDR changes the game. FDR isn’t from the same breed of past Democratic presidents. Under FDR the democrats base slowly begins to move to the Northeast. The 1948 Democratic Convention is the beginning of the end of the democratic party as we know it with the emergence of Dixiecrats and the party begins to crack and split. The party begins to represent the African-American as opposed to be against them and the south begins to shift as the Republicans begin to see gains to be made in the south.
The 1960s to the present. JFK and LBJ end the democratic party as we know it. When LBJ passes the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act everything changes. The South will never vote Democrat again. Nixon’s southern strategy also changes things. The Democrats rule the middle 20th century with FDR’s four terms and Harry S. Truman, JFK and LBJ. The failure’s of the Carter administration sends the power back to the Republicans but Clinton is able to take back power at the end of the century running as a middle of the road democrat. The party embraces Progressive policies and the parties have completely switched because of the parties stances of Civil Rights. In the 2000s America had changed so much that in 2008, 2012, and 2016 the parties leaders became an African-American man and a Woman, things unseen before in American History. The party of Jackson, the KKK and institutionalized racism became the party of the middle class, unions, minorities and immigrants.
In my essay it will follow this format. I will go in chronological order detailing the biggest events that lead to change in the party and more into why and how than this quick overview. The story is much bigger than this overview and the changing views of America have impacted who the main political parties represent and how were represented as the American People is important to our everyday lives.