by Newt Gingrich
As I wrote previously, in 1964, the conservatives began to dominate the GOP. In 1968, the historic Democratic establishment started getting discredited and undermined.
Then, 1972 became the culminating clash from which a half century of competition and conflict has grown.
Studying this era is key to understanding the polarization in politics which seems to dominate the system today.
Prior to 1964, there was a broad centrism with liberal and conservative wings. Moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats could find a lot of common ground. Liberal Republicanism was gradually weakening, and the conservative Democrats of the South were steadily losing ground and legitimacy. However, the moderate Republicans were still a real and vital force. They helped pass civil rights legislation in alliance with northern Democrats. Similarly, there were a lot of northern big city ethnic politicians, often Catholic, who were culturally conservative but economically liberal (in many ways, Speaker Tip O’Neill was this faction’s last national leader).
In the cycles of 1964, 1968, and 1972, this system was destroyed and replaced by two much more polarizing political parties. The pattern which has grown and evolved since that period is the one within which we try to operate today.
The culminating decisive change was the takeover of the Democratic Party by movement activists on the left. The 1972 process led to five major changes that could not have been predicted when Sen. John F. Kennedy ran for president 12 years earlier.
Author’s Note: The complex patterns that have led to the greatest crisis of constitutional government and rule of law since the Civil War are far bigger, involve far more people, and are ultimately more dangerous to American freedom than the personal dishonesty and criminality of the Biden family. This “American Despotism” series in The American Spectator will provide a clear history of the weaponization of government, which has violated the Constitution and corrupted the rule of law. While each article will be complete and stand-alone, together they will combine to fully describe the patterns that now threaten to destroy the foundation of individual freedom — the hallmark of the American system.
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