The prairie winds that swept across the great American heartland last night do not bode well for the future of the Democratic Party.
By becoming, however unwittingly, a bi-coastal party, the Democratic Party is arguably the 21st century equivalent of Federalists and their successors, the Whigs – an party of gentrified, well-educated urban elites. As my beloved 8th grade history teacher used to say, history has repeated itself. In a remarkable way, the 21st century American party system resembles the proto-party system that emerged in the years following constitutional ratification, pitting an upscale urban Federalist Party against a country party, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans.
Earlier this year, a number of astute pundits pointed out that the Democrats would be in exceedingly dire straits if they lost, which,at the time, of course, was considered a far-flung possibility. I think that this is an important point to bear in mind. Things only worked for the Federalists when they wielded power and the political patronage that comes with it. Without this patronage and without a sufficient foothold within the vast American heartland, they will find themselves at an acute competitive disadvantage.