Before the Birth of a New Era
comes a long gestation
Scott McKay at The American Spectator is hoping that “Today is the Day a New Era Should Begin.”
The question is: will it? Or will the GOP, once again, blow it? That’s what we far-right extremists always complain about. McKay talks about the previous political eras in the US, of which the New Deal era is the third.
The first era began with the presidential election of 1800 and ended, after the disastrous presidency of James Buchanan, with Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860, and the second era ended after the disastrous presidency of Herbert Hoover.
Nothing works any more. The FDR model is “too big, too expensive, too overweening, too corrupt, and too obsolete to serve the needs of the country.” But is the GOP up to the challenge?
The commenters weren’t on board. They all expect the GOP to cave, as before. And maybe they are right.
The thing to understand, I believe, is that the birth of each era in US politics was preceded by a long gestation.
Excapt for the first era that started in 1800. It only took three Federalist terms before the Jeffersonians took over, for 60 years.
But the second era was a long time gestating. Obviously a lot of it was the development of the slavery issue. And the development of the North into a proto-industrial state. And the citification of the North. And the arrival of the Irish. I’m sure that supporters of the old Whig Party and the new Republican Party figured that the new alignment would never get started.
And the FDR era didn’t just burst from the head of Zeus one day in 1932. It was the triumph of the Progressive Era, the push for a new, refined, educated elite to govern America as a wise adminiatrative elite. And the Progressive Era started in the 1890s.
In my view, the populist surge has been building for decades. I’d even stick my neck out and say that its genesis was the Eisenhower Fifties with the growth of the auto-mobile suburbs. And remember the TV of the era with its Mom-and-Dad-and-Kids sitcoms.
Then you have the Silent Majority of the 1970s that elected and reelected Richard Nixon. Then you have the Reagan Democrats that showed up at presidential caucuses in 1980 and voted two landslides for the “amiable dunce.” Then you have the Contract with America election of 1994 that elected the first GOP Congress in 40 years. Then you have the Tea Party election of 2010. And the MAGA election of 2016.
Were all those elections for naught? I don’t think so. I think that the effort to replace the educated, credentialed ruling class of the last century is a huge undertaking. And it has needed the growth of a large middle class of ordinary Commoners. It needed not just the old white working class now “dying of despair.” It needed middle-class moms to rebel against CRT and LGBT grooming in schools. It needed a rising Latino middle class to abandon its client status in the Democratic Party. And it needs blacks to decide to stop being the tame Mascots of the Anointed educated class.
Stuff like that takes time. And typically it needs a crisis to ignite the change, such as the present crisis of COVID plus inflation plus climate change stupidity plus systemic racism idiocy. Humans live the way they do until one fine day, they can’t take it any more.
Are we at the “can’t take it any more” moment? Ask me in five years.