Following the 2018 midterm elections, many political analysts and commentators pointed to the role of suburban voters in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of the Democratic Party after eight years of Republican control. Embedded within this commentary was the implicit notion that suburban voting blocs underwent a realignment following the 2016 election. Yet, in the face of this widespread speculation, few scholars have examined evidence for this phenomenon, creating a notable void between a hypothesized significant political development and research examining that development. With this context in mind, my thesis will examine electoral realignment since the election of President Obama in 2008 to President Biden in 2020. In particular, the thesis will examine electoral trends within suburban communities, especially compared to urban and rural areas. The thesis will also examine such trends within the historical context of electoral realignment and engage with scholastic realignment literature to compare past elections to the contemporaneous nature of my thesis. Further, it will use GIS software to map changes to electoral coalitions over this time and integrate these maps into my paper to illustrate such changes. GIS software is a particularly valuable tool for depicting specific examples of electoral realignment in a geographic context over time and can effectively facilitate discussion of electoral changes by using visual cues to guide readers through discussion of electoral trends.
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