It may be that American political history goes in cycles, with major realignments every 70 or 80 years. Think American Revolution in 1776, Civil War in 1860, Great Depression in 1932. What's next? Aren't we about due for the next major realignment? Perhaps. But in a recent essay the ever-insightful Michael Barone notes that major realignments need a trigger:

Political realignments occur because of events that have deep demographic impact and when one party stands for new ideas that command majority support. The Iraq war (2,500 deaths) and our current economy (4.6 percent unemployment) are not events of the magnitude of the Civil War (600,000 dead) or the Great Depression (25 percent unemployment).

It's not clear what the next trigger might be, but the current distractions are not it. Be afraid, lest it will be something truly horrible. May you live in interesting times.

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal