Nixon was the architect of Republican resurrection. After his 43 percent victory in 1968, comparable to Lincoln's vote in 1860, he sheared off of the New Deal coalition, on the issues of patriotism and morality, 10 million to 20 million Northern ethnic Catholics and Southern Protestant conservatives, whose families had voted Democratic for generations.
Though decried as a Southern Strategy, Nixon's was a national strategy. In 1972, he swept 49 states and 60 percent of the nation -- a feat duplicated by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
From 1968 to 1992, a quarter-century, Republicans carried the White House in five of six national elections. By the midpoint and latter stages of this second Republican ascendancy, the party had achieved parity and was nearing hegemony at the congressional level.
All this is in peril today, as the Republican Party heads into a perfect storm in November that could sweep it away because it has failed not only to address the crisis of the age, but to comprehend it.
What is that crisis? America is today a nation bankrupt in the sense that it cannot meet all the IOUs the country has handed out.
We have an empire we cannot afford. We are committed to fight wars on every continent, but we lack the soldiers to fight them, as Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and China become anti-American.
We have Social Security and Medicare commitments to the baby boomers we cannot meet without a ruinous increase in taxes. We are running an unsustainable trade deficit of near $800 billion, financed by $2-billion-a-day borrowing from abroad that has begun to sink the dollar.
We have a shrinking industrial base and a growing dependence on China, Japan and other Asian nations for the necessities of our national life.
We have borders we cannot protect, as the Third World mounts an invasion of America. And we have a ruling party that is breaking up over these issues, as the Democratic Party of 1968 broke apart over Vietnam, riots and the cultural revolution. With this difference: America in '68 had a Republican Party and conservative movement ready to rule.
Few today have confidence in the party of Kennedy and Clinton, Kerry and Biden, Pelosi and Reid, Sharpton and Schumer.
In 1932, it took a Depression to bring to power new men and ideas. In 1968, it took a divisive war, urban riots, assassinations and a cultural revolution to convince America to turn away from the party of their fathers. What is the calamity that is coming this time?