Homey, that is a very short sighted point of view. And to clarify first of all I am not declaring the Whigs are the new third party...it would have to be the Reform Party if they were to add Ron Paul or the Green Party adding Al Gore.
Your short sightedness ignores history. Parties change their tunes and adapt. Voters change their allegiances. Sometimes new parties develop, old ones fade out, and in some cases the parties evolve over time to flip flop their original stances.
Keeping in mind just the race issue. The first Republican President ended slavery. This president won because the Democratic party was split (the South was pretty much all Democrat at that time...yes, back then they were the party of choice for white southerners, and blacks and women did not have suffrage at that time). Keeping in mind that this was a fairly new party, blacks supported the GOP even though they were the party of big business really until the New Deal era when Deomcrats began denouncing segregation. Really since the 1960s when George Wallace's electoral presence as a Democrat and later a Segregationalist helped to influence the Nixon era GOP's "southern strategy" the South has been exclusively Republican with the exceptions of a couple of elections voting for their own (Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton twice both had success in the South, but other than Florida it is always a surprise when someone like Obama comes away with North Carolina and Virginia, and I believe that even Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee?).
Let's look at the Catholic vote. A strong majority of Catholics voted Democrat in the early and mid 1900s, as these typically middle class people were not for big business and voted on behalf of the poor. FDR era Dems are mostly dieing off, but many who still vote Democrat simply will summarize that "Republicans are for the rich, Democrats for the poor," kind of a different spin than we hear sometimes these days (because of Hollywood and the educational elites voting Democrat, Republicans have a better rally cry for middle America sans Unions of course). Obviously JFK was probably the pinnacle of Catholics voting Democrat (Al Smith was the first Catholic to run but it was against FDR himself). LBJ was also popular amongst Catholics as he was again clearly for the poor. It wasn't until moral issues began to take over that the vote began to really sway. Jimmy Carter as a Democrat really was the last (and maybe only) Democratic President to run and govern with what we would now call conservative moral stances regarding religion. Ronald Reagan countered by claiming to govern with just as much morals and the rest is history. Catholics now definitely gravitate towards the GOP almost regardless of economic status because Republicans tend to be anti-abortion. When I lived in PA you would see Rick Santorum bumper stickers in even the poorest of towns. Yes, that same guy who sees it as morally wrong for house wives to work rather than staying home to raise a family. Why? The abortion issue.
Even the war issue. Early 1900s Republicans were the isolationists, the ones who opposed the US' membership in the League of Nations, the ones who opposed US interference in the two World Wars, both seen by Americans as "European wars." Cold War era and beyond has been the opposite...really since Ike Eisenhower the GOP has been seen as the party more likely to use force abroad and especially Reagan era and beyond using government spending on the military. While Democrats, the party who's presidents governed over both World Wars, are now the ones more reluctant to invade or support the use of military force abroad.
Maybe we are stuck with these two parties forever. If Ross Perot never drops out in 1992 maybe the trajectory changes even back then (Perot was leading both candidates when he dropped out, and never again regained the momentum that he had when he dropped out). But maybe there will be someone or something out there to change all of this. I honestly felt that 9-11 would unify the country more, but unfortunately, the decision to invade Iraq rather than Afghanistan and the longer than hoped for/expected war that followed has driven this country much further apart than it was pre-911. This is why I still claim that W is one of the bottom five presidents of all time just ahead of the three preceding Lincoln. His presidency undid all of the hard work put in by all of the presidents post WWII in just one terrible decision. Keeping in mind that I respect the office of the presidency and the president regardless of political party that says a lot.
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