Critical Elections and Realignment

The electoral vote, 1932

Political Realignment?

A realigning election is rare in American history. Political scientists generally agreed that there have been at least five realigning elections in American history, with the last occurring in 1932. Generally, a realigning election, or “critical election,” is defined as by a sharp but lasting change in the groups and blocs of voters that support the parties. The 1932 election and the creation of the New Deal coalition embodies this. Will 2020 be a realigning election? Read the following article from and answer the questions that follow.

Questions to consider:

1. Generally, what are the circumstances that lead to to a realigning election based on the article?

2. Why do you think it is so hard for political scientists to identify a realigning election in the moment?

3. In your opinion, will 2020 be a realigning election? Why or why not?