My latest column for Time.com asks what it would take for the Democrats to build a durable national majority.
The conventioneers’ cheers [will be] dampened only by the nagging question, Why can’t Barack Obama, as it is put, close the deal? The deeper question is, Why hasn’t either party been able to close the deal for so long? For the first two-thirds of the past century, the U.S. went through two long periods of one-party dominance, with Republicans ascendant from 1896 to 1932, and Democrats from 1932 to 1968. In each period, the minority party sometimes won elections, but the majority party could ride out those defeats without its dominance coming into question. In 1952, for example, the Republicans took the White House because the public blamed Democrats for corruption and a mismanaged Korean War. But the Eisenhower years did not really disrupt the Democrats’ New Deal majority.
Since 1968, however, we have had no dominant party. . . .