Not with a bang but a whimper:
In terms of electoral realignments, the election of Barack Obama may rather most closely resemble the election of Richard Nixon. That’s not a bad thing, either.
Richard Nixon was the beginning of the conservative realignment.
Perhaps Barack Obama will not realize the desires and natural policy outcomes that derive from such a coalition. Indeed, he almost certainly will not and can not, any more than Nixon could have implemented the fully formed Reagan agenda back in 1971. But he has done much. And the next president elected by this coalition will do more, and the next one after that will do even more than the one that came before, until in 25 years, even a Republican president will be significantly more liberal than any Democrat in 2008. Conservatives understand this, even if only at a deep-seated level in the darkest fathoms of their collective angst.
This election, then, is about much more than Barack Obama. For conservatives, It’s about putting back in the genie’s bottle the coalition that the election of 2008 began to unleash. It’s about reverting America back to a time when the Nixon coalition was still comfortably in charge–whether it elected Republicans like Reagan or Democrats like Clinton.
This election may well be decided by the economy, and who knows how that will go. But keep your eye on the us-versus-them rhetoric of Republicans. The future of their party depends on their ability to moderate it. Because in 2020, a party that calls Latinos “wetbacks”, women “sluts”, and college graduates “snobs” won’t be viable.
Over the next decade, liberals need to nail conservatives’ feet to the floor and force-feed them their words.