Specter Joins Distinguished Group of Party Switchers

Senator Arlen Specter joins a distinguished group of party switchers who have made history by their decision to switch parties.

Among the party switchers are three senators who I wrote about in my book TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM, published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.  The three are George Norris of Nebraska, Robert La Follette, Jr. of Wisconsin, and Henrik Shipstead of Minnesota, all during the 1930s.  Also switching were the following distinguished senators:  Senator Robert La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin (regarded as one of the top five senators of all time); Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon;  Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont;  Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut;  and now Senator Specter.

Also switching parties were three Southerners who I am  not a great fan of:  Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Senator Harry Byrd, Jr. of Virginia, and Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Basically, only maverick types who either were ahead of their party on some important issues or Southerners rebelling against the civil rights movement, and therefore representing regression, have been party switchers.  Having said that, Specter joins an interesting group of influential senators who have chosen to break their party bonds.

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