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Evolution of the second banana, part II

By Owen Paine on Wednesday February 15, 2006 10:16 PM

In the last installment we saw the big bopper in action -- doesn't matter which party is in power: if the economy collides with a fearsome contraction the outs will be in next cycle.

All the way back in the off-year election of 1874 this pattern got established -- the Democrats won the house by national landslide, barely a decade after the Civil War, in which of course they were the party of treason and the slavemaster's lash. But it was, not for the first time, the economy, stupid.

The Democrats characteristically frittered away their advantage over the next few cycles, till 1880 when the GOP regained total control of Washington.

But now right away comes a sudden massive  switchback: 1882.No economic contraction here -- that would have to wait till next cycle -- but  two factors unrelated to each other converged to produce this second big pro-donkey swing:

Number one -- and it's not applicable to this year's conjuncture, obviously -- the solid South gained 25 new seats. All went where they belonged, to the white-sheet party par excellence, and that alone would have almost allowed a retake of the House, so  narrowly lost in '80.

But in addition -- and here's a parallel -- the nation had just gone through the first leg of the fabled Garfield-Arthur administration, where the elephant boyz dutched up so badly that chunks of the usually solid East and Midwest bolted at their first opportunity.

So once again it was dumb luck -- throw-the-bums-out dumb luck -- just what Rahm and Chuckie and Hillary and Howie are hoping for this time.

Next installment: third party strangulations aren't enough when gold holds the donkey's reins. Yup, here cometh the mighty populist challenge and the curse of Cain's deadly embrace -- a sucker kill that  brought white supremacy right into the very heart of the national party and smashed popular hopes for a generation.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Wednesday February 15, 2006 10:16 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Who put the Rahm in the rama-dama-dingdong?.

The next post in this blog is Among the Kosniks (part I).

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