Sunday, July 30, 2006

Is Partisan Divide Bad? Republicans Win 11 of 13 Presidential Elections

Sunday July 30, 2006 article in the New York Times Partisan Divide on Iraq Exceeds Split on Vietnam looks at polls correctly, but fails to look at history.

“No military conflict in modern times has divided Americans on partisan lines
more than the war in Iraq, scholars and pollsters say — not even Vietnam. And
those divisions are likely to intensify in what is expected to be a contentious
fall election campaign.”

“The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows what one expert describes as a continuing “chasm” between the way Republicans and Democrats see the war.”

“Democrats say the Republicans repeatedly broke the old rules, treating national security as a wedge issue to make Democrats look weak and unacceptable, especially in
Just in the North, how divisive was the Civil War? How supportive where Democrats of President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to preserve the union and free the slaves? The Civil War divided Northerners on partisan lines and those divisions intensified in the contentious 1864 fall election campaign.

Certainly the Republicans campaigned that the Democrats were weak and unacceptable.

In 1864, the Democratic party adopted their ‘war is a failure’ platform calling for an immediate cession of fighting and a negotiated settlement, and nominated General George McClellan as the democratic candidate for President. Although he rejected the party's peace platform, he opposed the Emancipation Proclamation and assured the base of the Democratic Party that he would support states' rights and the continuance of slavery in the South after the end of the Civil War.

See Democratic Party Platform, 1864 “that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war … demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities”

How did this divisiveness work out for the Republican Party? In 1864 Lincoln beat McClellan 55% to 45%.

From 1860 to 1908, Republican Presidential candidates won eleven of thirteen elections. Maybe clear delineation on issues is not bad for the majority party.


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