If JFK chose a political party today. . .


The United States is not the same as it was in 1960. Because the country has changed, the political parties have had to change as well.

The question is, which political party is closest to the ideals and policies of President Kennedy? Remove party names and historical loyalties: which political party would JFK join if he were suddenly here today?

In what way have the parties changed since 1960?

Well, I don’t know that JFK exactly “joined” the Democratic party, or was a Democrat based on a clear and objective look at its ideas. Lets face it, when your maternal grandfather was the Democratic mayor of Boston, your paternal grandfather a Democratic ward boss important in the Boston machine, and your father a national Democratic fundraiser and political advisor, you wind up a Democrat. JFK wasn’t a Democrat because of some objective look at party platforms. He was a Democrat because he was raised being taught how evil the Republicans were, and because, if he had declared himself a Republican, his family would have killed him. :slight_smile:

JFK was a Democrat because of family affiliation and the advantages of plugging into the network his dad and grandfathers already had. There is no reason to believe any of this would change if he were alive today.

It is interesting to note, though, the connections the Kennedys had with Republicans. Joe Kennedy donated money to Nixon in 1950, for his Senate run. Joe McCarthy was a frequent Hyannisport guest and dated Eunice and Pat. JFK was close personally to Barry Goldwater, who later described JFK as “my dear friend.” There are other stories.

IAW, Kennedy would be a friendly, bipartisan politician and a Democrat, just as he was then.

Also, I don’t think he or his family at the time thought the Republicans were evil. At that time, to be Irish in the Northeast with working-class roots, you were going to be Democrat. And at that time, you danced with them that brung you.

Ok, “evil” was an exaggeration. But, at the same time, an announcement by any of Joe and Rose’s kids were becoming Republicans would be treated as if they announced they were becoming Baptists.

Actually, Joe probably could have dealt with it easier if one of them had become a Baptist.

Maybe Joe, but Rose would have had a conniption. She went to Mass every day.

I think JFK’s views, by themselves, would make him a moderate Republican or very conservative (Zell Miller) Democrat today.

Well, you’re right about Rose. Look at her attitude towards Kathleen when she married the Episcopalian.

You can’t superimpose 1960 political beliefs on those of today. Times have changed too much. And a lot of the changes happened because JFK died.

It changed RFK’s outlook. It changed Ted Kennedy’s outlook.

One of Rose Kennedy’s granddaughters married a Jew, another married a divorced Republican. Neither event killed her.

JFK wasn’t very liberal. LBJ just pretended so, to give him a mandate to run willy-nilly with the “Great Society” in JFK’s name. JFK slashed income tax rates, probably the biggest tax cut percentage-wise in the history of the United States. Most of that tax cut – gasp – went to the rich, as he dropped the upper bracket rate from around 90% down to something like 50%.

That said, I see no evidence that he was a social reactionary. I suspect he would be a moderate Democrat, which affords the opportunity to be a fiscal conservative at times if one wishes, while still having the flexibility to vote progressive on some issues. Moderate Democrats also seem to be the ones with the most flexibility to play local politics to be reelected, break from the party line if necessary to retain power. (As the person who started the war in Vietnam, I have no doubt he would have broken party line to vote for the Iraq resolution, and not just for political expediency.)

So there you go. JFK would’ve been either a conservative democrat, or a liberal republican - which is basically the same thing. :slight_smile: