Suppose Obama wins—what then?

A meditation by David Kaiser.

A new era?

Obama, however, will if he wins take over the government of the most divided country since 1860—in some ways, more polarized even than at that time.

The Republican Party will remain after November perhaps the most rigidly disciplined and narrowly based party in American history. Even the opposition crises in the two previous great crises in American life included a much broader range of opinions than today’s Republicans.

Just yesterday the Wall Street Journal editorial page lamented that the Democrats may be stronger than they have been since 1933 (they should have said 1935) or 1965, and suggested that the country would not vote them back if they realized this. In fact they will not be that strong—their majorities were much larger then—but in any case we will not be going all the way back either to the beginning of the last crisis (when 25% of the population was unemployed) or to the end of the last High. Obama is winning above all because he wants to usher in a less ideological age. That is a gamble, but so far he is winning it. But if he succeeds as President it will be with new measures, new men and women, and new rhetoric. No past, however glorious, returns—because the new generations that make the future do not remember it or revere it. The great crisis will lay the old order to rest and create a new one. That is the way of all organic life.

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