From the civil rights struggle to the Reagan Revolution to Obamacare, a history of hyper-partisanship.
The realignment of the parties Through much of the 20th century, the Republican and Democratic parties had sizable liberal and conservative factions. The roots of the rise of polarization in Congress that has characterized the past several decades can in many ways be traced to the struggle of African Americans for civil rights. Buy Photo
Several events accelerated the exodus of white, Southern conservative Democrats to the GOP. Among them was President Harry S. Truman’s (D) executive order to desegregate the military in 1948, which preceded the emergence of the segregationist “Dixiecrats” — a short-lived splinter party that nominated future GOP senator Strom Thurmond for president that year. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s (D) push to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed many forms of racial, religious and gender discrimination, is also widely credited with speeding the realignment of the parties. “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come,” Johnson is famously reported to have said after signing the bill into law. Bill Hudson/AP