The cycles of history predict a Republican president’s election in November. If that doesn’t motivate Democrats, nothing will.
Folks a lot smarter than me have long identified cycles of presidential and party power. The best references are “The Cycles of History” by liberal Kennedy historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and “The Politics of Rich and Poor” by conservative Republican Kevin Phillips.
“Phillips traces unbroken presidential cycles dating back to Thomas Jefferson,” I wrote on 8 Nov. 1992.
“Each contains a ‘minority interruption.’ The 20th Century’s blips on the screen were Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter,” I noted.
In 1990, Phillips stated that “All six presidential cycles to date have begun with two decades of lopsided success by the newly ascendant party, and no similar domination has occurred at any other time.”
Years before, both scholars accurately predicted a 1992 Democratic victory. Phillips also foreshadowed the election of Richard the Rotten in his 1968 book, “The Emerging Republican Majority.”
Certainly, a lot of asterisks may be added to the above and new ones appear below. For instance, could Ross Perot have been the first non-major party candidate elected had he not gone psycho? Perhaps, as ‘92 was a change election.
The longest presidential cycle came with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, 1932-1968.
“All six of these eras began with watershed elections in which (1) the previous incumbent party was defeated and (2) a new alignment of party presidential voting — resting on a new coalition — was established, which kept its shape for at least 20 years,” Phillips wrote in 1990.
“Interestingly,” he added, “all three Republican hegemonies have produced a ‘capitalist heyday’ during the second half of the cycle.”
The current cycle started with Bill Clinton in 1992, a scary 24 years ago. That’s exactly the duration of Nixon to Bush the Elder (1968-1992).
CONTRA-ARGUMENTS. (1) The “minority interruption” has not yet occurred because Bush the Lesser demonstrably lost Florida in 2000 and was installed by the Supremes. This also reinforces the case for a GOP aberration this November.
(2) There has arguably not been a liberal in the White House since Lyndon Johnson left after 1968. Jimmy Carter and his Democratic successors would have been moderate Wall Street Republicans in previous eras.
(3) In his 1998 book “The Cousin’s Wars,” Phillips noted that in Britain and France, restoration of defeated dynasties led to collapse of their factions. He asserted that a Bush restoration could result in the collapse of the GOP. So far, he’s right on.
(4) Donald Trump can crack the Democratic base with angry blue-collar voters. Bernie Sanders appeals to the same group and can hold serve. Hillary Clinton cannot.
This month may bring the last Nevada caucuses. If you want to have an outsized impact nationally, this is your chance, perhaps for the last time in your life.
As Woody Allen famously said, “80 percent of success is showing up.”
So show up at the right places and caucus your brains out.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.