Americans are worried about what’s happening to our nation’s politics. They should be. American politics has fallen into turmoil for a reason. America is heading into its next political realignment.
The Next Realignment explains how and why America's political parties are collapsing as part of a cycle of destruction and rebirth built into the structure of our republic. The book connects the tumult of our present moment to America's history--from the rise and fall of Hamilton’s Federalists and Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans, through Jackson’s Democrats and Clay’s Whigs, through Lincoln’s Civil War parties, to the Populist and Progressive parties of William Jennings Bryan and Teddy Roosevelt, and then to our New Deal parties of today.
We face a choice. The parties we’ve always known are anachronism built to solve the problems of another age. New problems loom to which our parties were never built to offer solutions. We know from the lessons of our history that our party coalitions and ideologies--"liberal" Democrats and "conservative" Republicans--are about to come apart. The question is this: What will we do?
Will we allow our parties collapse in a catastrophic national trauma like the one that took down the Whigs and launched a civil war? Or will we heed the lessons of our history and renew our parties first around our threatened national promise of the American Dream?.
Frank DiStefano does the near impossible. He combines a fascinating, thoughtful, insightful history of today’s dysfunctional, shrinking two-party system with an exciting vision of the future.
Donna Brazile, former interim chair, Democratic National Committee
Charles Wheelan, Professor of Public Policy at Dartmouth College, and author of The Centrist Manifesto
Anyone who thinks Americans are stuck with the current two-party system has not studied American history. Frank DiStefano does a wonderful job of looking backward to help us look forward. We don’t know when the next major political realignment is coming . . . but it is coming.
How did we get here? Where are we going? Frank DiStefano, a sharp legal mind with presidential campaign experience, takes us on a crisp sweep through history to present this necessary guide for the transformations that lie ahead. This is a must-read for those seeking a preview of the next act of the great American story.
Amanda Carpenter, CNN Contributor and Author of Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us.
The Next Realignment reads like a political thriller whose characters include the most fascinating actors to stride the stage of American history. After reading this essential book, you will never again look at American politics and political parties in the same way. With crisp prose, fast-paced stories, and often brilliant insights into the connections between policy and politics, the book’s most important contribution is to reframe any coming political alignments as opportunities for everyday Americans to force parties to deal with the future in new ways. DiStefano convincingly argues that the future is in our hands, and that we can—and we must—seize the opportunity to make our politics and our parties meet our needs as a nation and live up to our great democracy’s potential.
Michael Signer, former mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, and author of Demagogue and Becoming Madison
A bold and deeply informed interpretation of our present moment. Anyone interested in trying to understand the present state of American politics should read this book.
Frank Lovett, Associate Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis
DiStefano resuscitates realignment theory to offer a sober and engaging perspective on the current partisan bickering afflicting our politics. He makes a strong and convincing case that partisan alignments formed during the New Deal era are no longer able to provide solutions to pressing national problems. The only way this conflict will be resolved is through a wholesale realignment of our two major parties, and all signs point to this transformation occurring sooner rather than later. A must-read for scholars of political history—as well as for concerned citizens looking for a way out of our political nightmare.
Antoine Yoshinaka, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University at Buffalo, author of Crossing the Aisle: Party Switching by US Legislators in the Postwar Era, coeditor of American Gridlock: The Sources, Character, and Impact of Political Polarization
DiStefano carefully situates today’s ripeness for partisan realignment in the context of historical precedent. He makes a strong case that we stand at the precipice of partisan change during this unique moment in history. The New Deal–era principles that have driven our two major political parties have waned, leaving these parties in search of new messages to propel them into the future. DiStefano portrays the United States as currently poised to make the wrong decision, but he also offers an optimistic solution that I hope Americans will heed.
Jay Wendland, author of Campaigns That Matter