It is a recurrent conceit of Democrats and Republicans alike that a great political realignment that will produce a lasting majority lurks just around the corner. In the more than two decades since Ronald Reagan left the White House, the U.S. electorate has been divided roughly equally. But when President George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his strategist Karl Rove interpreted the outcome as a harbinger of long-term Republican control. Rove wasn't alone in this view. With the GOP holding the White House and Congress and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, some Democrats feared that all three branches of government might be irretrievably lost. Instead, the Democrats in 2006 regained both houses of Congress, a prelude to Barack Obama's victory two years later.
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