The Next Realignment: Why America's Parties Are Crumbling and What Happens Next

The Next Realignment: Why America's Parties Are Crumbling and What Happens Next

by Frank J. DiStefano


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An astute analysis of today's political chaos showing that the current period of disruptive change is part of a recurring pattern in American politics.

What's happening to American politics? Old political norms seem to be slipping away. Politics has progressively become angrier, new movements keep butting into the public square, and more and more of the unwritten rules that governed American politics for decades have fallen away. Naturally, many are anxious.

Former congressional aide and presidential campaign veteran Frank J. DiStefano argues that this political turmoil feels disquietingly new only because most of us know so little about the history of American politics. In this book, he puts the present era in historical context, showing that America is facing its next realignment, a period of destruction and rebirth in which old political coalitions decay and new parties rise to replace them.

DiStefano explains how the history of past realignments connects to contemporary politics. He examines clashes between Hamilton's Federalists and Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans, the rise of Andrew Jackson, the traumatic collapse of the Whigs, the populist revolt of William Jennings Bryan, and the formation of our New Deal party system of today. He explores America's periodic explosions of moral crusading called great awakenings. He clarifies the real ideas and philosophical forces that make up our politics, from liberty and virtue to populism and progressivism, showing how their interaction is now remaking our parties into something new.

Will this realignment be a quick renewal as we adapt our politics for a future with new problems, or do we face years of disruption, dangerous movements, and chaotic politics before we rebuild? This book shows that, with a knowledge of history, all of us can help shape the politics of the coming decades and restore our trust in the American Dream.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633885080
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Frank J. DiStefano is a writer living in Washington, D.C. He was employed as a Republican congressional aide during the Contract with America years of the 1990s and has worked on political campaigns, including helping to shape the policy agenda of Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign as Deputy National Political Director for Issues. He is also a former litigator at Washington, D.C.'s elite Williams and Connolly firm. DiStefano has an undergraduate degree in politics from Princeton University, a law degree from Georgetown University, and he served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

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From Chapter 1 - Introduction

Excerpted from "The Next Realignment"
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Copyright © 2019 Frank J. DiStefano.
Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Next Realignment Is Coming 9

Chapter 2 Americas First and Second Party Systems: The Early Republic's Love-Hate Affair with Two-Party Politics 25

Chapter 3 America's Second and Third Party Systems: The Rise of Jackson and Collapse of the Whigs 49

Chapter 4 America's Third and Fourth Party Systems: The Incredible Story of William Jennings Bryan 77

Chapter 5 The Fifth Party System: How the New Deal Forged the Parties We Know 103

Chapter 6 The Liberal and Conservative Myth 133

Chapter 7 The American Ideal of Liberty 151

Chapter 8 The Progressive Plan 171

Chapter 9 The Virtue of a Republic 183

Chapter 10 The Fury of Populism 201

Chapter 11 The Choice: Collapse or Renewal 217

Chapter 12 The Last Hurrah of the Fifth Party System 229

Chapter 13 The Pendulum of Great Awakenings 259

Chapter 14 The Fourth Great Awakening and the 1960s 281

Chapter 15 The End of the Industrial Era and the American Century 313

Chapter 16 America Unraveling: Obama and Trump-The Last Presidents of the Fifth Party System 331

Chapter 17 What Happens Next 355

Chapter 18 The Party of the American Dream 383

Acknowledgments 399

Notes 401

Index 453

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