Political Column: Could There Be a Second Era of Good Feelings?

CJ Miller, Staff Writer

 In an era long gone from the American mind, when great giants roamed the halls of our capital, one period stands out: the Era of Good Feelings. This era’s most definable trait was the fact that there was only one political party, the Democratic-Republicans and as a history buff I can assure you, that era could happen once again, with the Democratic party being the sole survivor as the GOP wallops in its own demise. 

In the very beginning of the existence of this republic there were two political parties, the aforementioned Democratic-Republicans who were the champions of states’ right and a weaker federal government as well as champions of agricultural issues and the Federalists who were fighters for a stronger federal government and friends of the small but growing industrial sector. For many reasons that do not need to be discussed today, including but not limited too the Democratic-Republican Presidents governing like moderate Federalists, the Federalist eventually collapsed as a party, leading to the era of good feelings, where there was only one political party. In this time every politician was a part of the Democratic-Republicans, this led to several factions which would eventually split into the Whigs and the modern day Democrats; and I am saying this era could happen once again depending on the results of the November election.

  Some may disagree with my assessment, and I’m going to be honest with you, it is much easier to say that even if the GOP does lose massively next week that within four to Eight years the GOP will have a new young fresh face and the memory of Trump will long be forgotten from the American mind just like the Bush years, and like I said, that would be a fair assessment. However, I am going to argue that another thing could happen, a second Era of Good Feelings, and then the dawning of America’s seventh party system. 

For context a “party system” is a fancy historical term for a political era in the United States, we are currently in the sixth. 

  I outlined earlier how the Democratic-Republicans expand and became the nation’s only political party for a time while the Federalist withered away, I believe that it is possible that the Democratic Party could become Americas sole political party for a time before eventually splitting and the GOP will go the way of the Federalists and Whigs before it.

I know, I know, I sound politically illiterate at best, or a simple partisan hack at worst, but it is possible.

Let me explain how. Like the Democratic-Republicans, the Democratic Party is an expanding and growing party, with many different groups with many different interest, you have the African American community which by and large supports the party but is a much more complicated group then most outsiders know with a lot of its older members being more socially conservative and iffy on Bernie’s brand of “socialism,” while its younger members are more radicalized, with the death of George Floyd and growing social and economic inequality lighting and fire and pushing them left to even Sanders in some respects, the Latino community which supporters the party largely on immigration issues and the general idea that Democrats are friendlier to immigrants, documented or otherwise, however many of them, including Cubans being more conservatives, largely due to their dark times with Castro.

There is also young people, who see the party as more of a lesser of two evils as opposed to a party they would be willing to go to bat for, they tend to be more radical, with issues like climate change, economic fairness, and social justice radicalizing them as many centrist politicians failed to address these issues, and conservatives in many cases wouldn’t have even acknowledged them at all. Meanwhile, the GOP is struggling, the party is deeply sinking with millennials and they’re doing even worse with Gen Z, who were originally thought to be more conservative then their millennial predecessors, having been radicalized first by Bernie and his movement then subsequently by George Floyd and his death. College educated suburban white woman, a demographic that was strongly Republican in another life, have not only moved left on social issues, where the GOP has stayed stagnant, many have also been turned off by Trump and his bombastic nature.  Meanwhile, the GOP base is shrinking, it’s more Baby Boomer, less college educated, more white and more male, all demographics which are shrinking in numbers.

Let’s say the Democratic Party were to run pro-life and/or pro gun candidates in more culturally conservative states and districts, while simultaneously playing up progressive populism (which can work in struggling rural areas and even coal country if it’s the right candidate), if that happened, where does the GOP go? Business sectors largely support the Democrats already, so they can’t really go there, the only place is the grave and should that happen the big tent of the Democratic Party will split resulting, probably leading to a more conservative Center-right Democratic party and an insurgent left wing progressive party. I could be wrong about this, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I was, but we won’t know until after YOU guys vote in the election Tuesday, November 3rd.