Here on Newsvine, RWNJs often invoke Liberal ideals, in an attempt to gaslight the populace. This article explains the 'switch' of idealism--the modern GOP cannot lay claim to the civil rights activism of Lincoln; that is just blasphemy.
Did the Democrats and Republicans “Switch Parties”?
The American political parties, now called Democrats and Republicans, switched platforms, ideologies, and members many times in American history. These switches were typically spurred on by major legislative changes and events, such as the Civil War in the 1860’s, and Civil Rights in the 1960’s. The changes then unfolded over the course of decades to create what historians call the “Party Systems“.
The “party systems” can be described as follows (where the main things that “switch” in each party system are factions and planks of party platforms):
- The first party system: The Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists, to the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans, to the Era of Good Feelings (where both parties “switch” to becoming the one-party Democratic Republicans). This ends with Jackson vs. Adams (where the parties switch back to a two-party system).
- The second party system: the Jacksonian Democrats vs. Whigs to expansion. This ends with the dissolution of the Whigs and the tension over “States’ Rights.”
- The third party system: Know-Nothings, Free-Soilers, Southern Democrats, Northern Republicans, the Populist party, and many other factions (who switch from the major parties to “third parties” over the issue of slavery); from Bleeding Kansas, to Civil War, to Reconstruction, to the Gilded Age. This ends with the rise of Progressivism.
- The fourth party system: The Progressive Era; the rise of Progressivism, to Teddy leaving the Republican party (where progressive Republicans begin to “switch” to the Democratic Party), to the First World War, to Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. This ends with the rise of the New Deal Coalition vs. Conservative Coalition.
- The fifth party system: FDR, the New Deal Coalition vs. Conservative Coalition, the Second World War, and the rise of “States’ Rights” parties. This ends with the battle at home after WWII over Brown v. the Board, Kennedy, Civil Rights and Voting Rights under LBJ, and the rise of Goldwater Republicans (where the “solid south” begins to “switch” from Democratic Party to the Republican Party).
- Some, including me, feel that this is followed by sixth party system: From LBJ, Civil Rights, and the Southern Realignment AKA “big switch” or “solid south switch”, to Reagan or Clinton. This ends with the rise of modern fairness doctrine-free media, Reaganomics, and Third Way Clinton “Neoliberalism” (roughly speaking).
- Some, again including me, then feel this is followed by a seventh party system: from Reagan / Clinton, to the subsequent polarization and rise of modern media, on. Does this end with Obama / Trump and figures like Bernie, or are we still in the seventh party? Only time will tell.
TIP: See 1896 and 2000 for an example of “the big switch” that resulted in the Sixth Party System; note that the maps are nearly the exact opposite of each other. See also this image that shows southern votes over time, or this image which shows the map from Lincoln’s election, and insidegov.com for an interactive map and simple explainer. Below is an essay that explains American history in depth, so bookmark it for further study.
TIP: If you want to see some quick visual proof of party switching, see the images on our “Summary of How the Major Parties Switched” page. This page leads with explanations (which require reading), that page leads with images and videos (which don’t).