I was watching something a few weeks ago that said that Americans voted for a young and vibrant JFK over Nixon but the funny thing is that they were less than 5 years apart in age.
The media has been playing political games like this for many years.
Well, the Republican party, and Democrats, too, have almost nothing to do with what they were in the 1860s. Seems silly to still be thanking them for emancipation and the 13th amendment. What’s inexplicable is that Pubs get no credit for the civil rights movement, even though it was Dems who dragged their feet until the last minute. LBJ gets credit for swooping in and saving the day, and even Kennedy gets reflected glow, though basically he did nothing. People don’t even remember blacks were Republicans for decades until a trickle during FDR, then the sea change of the 60s, only after civil rights legislation.
I’ve heard it explained in terms of civil rights Pubs being the east coast establishment Rockefeller types we now call RINOs. But what does the average person care about how the party was internally split decades ago? Besides, today’s Pubs are like establishment 60s Pubs on civil rights issues. You may have dissenters like Rand Paul, only he’s a dissenter on a lot of issues. I’ve heard it explained that Goldwater was against the Civil Rights Act and Pubs ran him against LBJ, and his ideological type eventually won out in the Reagan era. But who the heck remembers what Goldwater stood for? Not even Goldwater fans, to a degree.
The real explanation is that after the civil rights acts the South switched to the Republican side, the New Left found a home with Dems, and blacks seemingly permanently settled down in the Dem plantation. Not that the Pub platform changed, but we got the guys who everyone thinks of as racists and they got the guys who constantly play the race card. Simple as that.
As for wars, that’s easy. Up until the New Left Dems were the warmongers of the 20th century. Or rather, progressives of both parties were. Which makes sense, as war is the health of the state and from Wilson on Dems were the relative Big Government party. Then came the hippies, and they made a point of being loudly antiwar. Which didn’t stop them from being violent personally and as a movement, but is something everyone can be expected to remember about them. When they took over the Democrat party prowar “liberals” became Pubs. Unlike Dixiecrats, however, they didn’t change. They changed the Republican party. We call them neocons.
Not that Dems stopped waging wars, as is evident with the Obama administration. Pubs were merely marginally more militaristic. Dems wanted to export the Welfare State and back up the UN with force, and we wanted to be World Police. Not all of us, but enough. So I understand regular people’s confusion over Dems’ mysterious past.
As for who amounted more debt an which party is seen as the reckless spender, that is beyond explanation. I don’t know. Maybe it’s that people’s natural instinct is to think war is the most expensive thing a government can do? Maybe it’s just that in the MSM you constantly hear the phrase “unfunded war” and almost never “unfunded Social Security.” Maybe it’s that people never understood supply side economics, and “tax cuts for the rich” hits home.
One thing I can say for certain is Pubs forever sacrificed their claim to fiscal restraint during term after term of deficits and trying to beat Dems at their own game, even if they’ve never matched debt of Democrat proportions.