Beyond exploding the "public opinion" of Roper and Gallup, Tuesday's balloting seemed to repudiate the widely-accepted thesis that the United States was bound to enter a period of conservatism. This was shown as much by the scores of Congressional turnovers as by the victory of President Truman. Where the Senate had Curley Brooks, Joe Ball, and Tom Stewart, it now has Paul Douglas, Hubert Humphrey, and Estes Kefauver. The House has similarly changed.
But the decline of conservative power does not date from November 2, 1948. Republican moderates defeated the right wing in the GOP summer convention, most notably when Charles Halleck was rejected as the Vice-Presidential nominee. And although the Senate was in grave danger-according to pre-Tuesday views--Governor Dewey refused to support reactionary Senator Chapman Revercomb in the West Virginia race.
The Republican Party is greatly changed from the party of Coolidge, Hoover, and Landon, and it is considerably removed from the position of 1940. Yet it remains the party of conservatives where today's Old Guard can feel reasonably at home. That is no longer true of the Democratic Party. A large part of the Democratic Old Guard left Truman this summer, and he was able to win without them--and without the Wallace vote, which cost him New York. The President even made heavy inroads into the traditionally-conservative Republican Mid-West. Old Guardism failed to produce substantially for Dewey and it failed to produce substantially against the Democrats. This failure strongly indicates not only that the future of Old Guardism is bleak, but that an intelligent conservatism must jettison it to survive as a decisive political force in this country.