America could be on the verge of a fundamental political realignment. Starting with the New Deal, the Democrats were the party of blue-collar workers while the Republicans represented the white-collar establishment. But the tables may be reversed in coming years.
To understand this possibility, consider that right now there are now four political tribes in America -- each with its own nominee for President:
1. The Democratic establishment (suburban professionals, Democraticpolitical insiders, liberal-leaning business executives, political centrists). Their candidate is Hillary Clinton.
2. The Republican anti-establishment Right (evangelicals and abortion foes, Tea Partiers, climate-change deniers, federal-government haters, and Fox News addicts). They want Ted Cruz.
3. The Republican anti-establishment isolationists and bigots (economic losers, foes of free trade, angry about immigrants, fearful of Muslims). They want Donald Trump.
4. The Democratic anti-establishment (worried most about widening inequality, concentrated wealth and power at the top, corporate control of our democracy, Wall Street's excesses). They want Bernie Sanders.
The most prominent group without a political leader at the moment is the Republican establishment (corporate and Wall Street heads, coastal elites, mid-level executives, small-business owners, right-of-center retirees).
If Trump or Cruz becomes the Republican candidate, and Hillary gets the Democratic nomination, the Republican establishment will line up behind Hillary Clinton -- who will thereby become the candidate of the white collar American establishment (in uneasy coalition with African-Americans).
And Trump or Cruz will be the candidate of the white working class. The New Deal reversal will be complete.