Forgive me for repeating myself: Everything I think I know about American politics I have learned from studying the works of Professor Harry V. Jaffa and his students at the Claremont Institute. It is the audacious project of of the Claremont Institute to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life.
Key to the success of the project is the intellectual reclamation undertaken by the institute’s flagship publication, the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here — please!). The magazine is to play the same role in inspiring the rollback of the Progressive undoing of the Constitution as the New Republic served in paving the way for the abrogation of limited constitutional government after that magazine’s founding in 1914.
In only its fifth year of publication, the magazine is making headway under the inspired leadership of editor Charles Kesler; Kesler is to the CRB in its current incarnation roughly what Herbert Croly was to the New Republic at its inception. At the request of the White House, 30 issues of the just-published winter issue are in the course of expedited delivery to a few of the magazine’s most influential readers.
The new issue of the CRB is hot off the press. The theme of the issue is the election just concluded. At our request, the CRB has made available online a few of the most provocative pieces in the issue. This morning the magazine has made available the issue’s keynote essay on the election, Professor Andrew Busch’s “Rolling Realignment.” Beginning with Upside Down and Inside Out on the 1992 election, Professor Busch has co-authored (with University of Virginia Professor James Ceaser) the authoritative quadrennial analysis of each presidential election. Their 2005 book is forthcoming; in the meantime, we have Professor Busch’s essay.
We have occasionally discussed the issue of party realignment on this site. I took a skeptical look at the thesis that a Republican realignment had occurred in “What is realignment?” and briefly noted Professor Peter Schramm’s consideration of realignment in the context of the 2004 election in “Reconsidering realignment.”
Professor Busch puts the issue with respect to the 2004 election:
Perhaps more importantly, a closer examination of the voting data shows decreased, not increased, polarization. If 2004 had been a really polarizing election, one would expect that Bush’s vote percentages would go up in the red states compared with 2000, but that they would go down in the blue states. But this is not what happened. A comparison of the Bush vote in 2000 with his vote in 2004 shows that in the 29 red states, he gained an average of 3.3 percentage points. In the 19 blue states, he gained an average of 3.0 percentage points. (In the three switchers, he gained an average of 1.7%.)
Bush gained big in reliably liberal bastions like Hawaii (+8 percentage points), Rhode Island (+7), Connecticut and New Jersey (+6), New York (+5), and Massachusetts (+4). Altogether, he improved his vote proportion in 48 states