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The Democratic Party In the 21st Century Danger on the Horizon It has become customary in modern American Politics when one party inflicts a major defeat on another for pundits to cosign the losers to the trash receptacle of history Political obituaries have been written for the GOP during the long presidential tenure of Franklin D Roosevelt for the Democrats when Dwight Eisenhower was in office for the Republicans again in 1964 and for the Democrats again in 1984 and 1988 In each and every case the dead party rose from the ashes like the mythical phoenix However political parties really do die In the 19th century the federalists the National Republicans and the Whigs among others vanished In our own century the Populists and the Progressives expired and if the Socialists and Communists are still alive no one seems to notice or really care Now in the wake of the 1994 Elections and the storm that will be the 1988 Elections it is a strong possibility that the Democratic Party will be placed on life support as well A careful look at the voting patterns in the 1994 election and at the radical changes that resulted thereof-changes in Congress in Americas political agenda in Speaker Newt Gingrichs attractiveness to the media suggests that the Democrats have lost their sense of purpose their raison detre and are summarily doomed Democrats may continue to win elections for some time to come But the party of FDR Truman JFK and LBJ seem quite beyond any hope In 1994 Democrats did not just lose Congress for the first time in 40 years They also lost 10 governorships and for the first time in nearly four decades control fewer than half of the state legislatures The Democratic Party was so undone in the last national election that they could not manage to defeat a single Republican incumbent candidate for governor the House of Representatives or
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