Aim: What causes party
Do Now: What issues can identify that would
change people’s voting patterns? How are
the parties of today similar or different to how
they were in the 19th Century?
Critical or Realignment Period:
• Periods when a major, lasting shift occurs in the
popular coalition supporting one or both parties.
• The issues that separate the parties change
• The kinds of voters supporting each party
• Occurs when a new issue (slavery, the
economy) cuts across existing party divisions
and replaces old issues that were formerly the
basis for party identification
Realignment Elections:
• Some political scientists believe there is a 30-36
year span in between realigning periods.
• These are some elections regarded as realigning
or critical election, although not all political
scientists agree on them.
• 1800: Jefferson
• 1828: Jackson
• 1860: Lincoln
• 1896: McKinley
• 1932: Franklin Roosevelt
• 1964/1968: Johnson/Nixon
• 1980: Reagan
• 2008: Obama???
By Party:
Democrats from 1800-1860
Republicans from 1860-1932
Democrats from 1932-1968
Divided Government from 1968-2000
Republicans from 2000-2006
Democrats in 2008

Aim: What causes party realignment?