Until 1994, and the contract with America, there was only one Republican Speaker of the House from 1931 to 1994.
Joseph Martin was a Republican from Massachusetts. Unbelievable yet true. Ol' Mass was a Republican stronghold for decades, even electing the first popularly elected African-American US Senator, Edward Brooke.
How times have changed.
|Joseph William Martin (R-MA)|
|Joseph Martin c. 1940|
What took the Republicans so long to gain power once again after forty years as the minority party?
Ronald Reagan worked a work in the political consciousness of the United States.
He brought the country toward the right, and the next Democrat to hold the White House, Bill Clinton, rode a wave of voter discontent with higher taxes. Plus the fact that pre-Tea Party Ross Perot ran for President and dragged down the GOP ticket.
Otherwise, George Herbert Walker Bush would have won a second term.
Yet even though a center-right country ended up election a center-left President, Clinton and his party tried to go aggressively after major Big Government expansions, like Hillary-care.
The came 1994, and the shellacking of the Democratic Party. For the first time in forty years, Republicans held majority power, but nearly three decades before, Martin lost renomination then died two years later.