In 1964, when Barry Goldwater was roundly defeated by Lyndon Johnson, there was much talk of the death of the GOP, or at least the need for a radical reorientation thereof. Four years later, the Republicans were back in the White House.
In 1972, when Democrat George McGovern was overwhelmed by Richard Nixon, the Democrats were written off as an effective national force. Four years later, the Democrats were back in the White House.
Now the talking heads are talking seriously about the death of the Republican coalition and the permanent changes that the 2008 election will have on American politics. Well, some things have changed: we now have an African American president, a change of no small magnitude. But I share with my fellow Monkey Cagers the strong sense that this election was won or lost on the enduring fundamentals — most notably the state of the national economy and the international situation — rather than on some sea change in American politics. Permanent changes in American politics have a way of unraveling in a very short time.