A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds…” (12/19)
“Never mix the grape and the grain” (drinking adage) (12/19)
“My mother taught me about the science of osmosis—‘Shut your mouth and eat your supper!‘“ (12/19)
“Yo mama’s so stupid, she asked for a price check at the 99-cent store” (12/18)
“In a dog-eat-dog market, get yourself a big dog” (12/18)
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Entry from August 02, 2014
Six-Year Itch

The “seven-year itch” is when a spouse loses interest with a marriage partner; The Seven Year Itch was a 1952 play by George Axelrod and a 1955 movie starring Marilyn Monroe. The “six-year itch” is a political term—when a party controls the presidency for two four-year terms, the mid-term elections in the second term (the sixth year) will be a disaster for the president’s party. The theory is that the populace gets fed up after six years and desires to vote that party out.

Political author Richard M. Scammon (1915-2001) said in May 1973:

“First, there’s the six-year itch, that is that Nixon has been in power that long and people might want a change.”

The “six-year itch” term was popularized by political commentator Kevin Phillips, who wrote in June 1973:

“Second, since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s day, there has been a definite congressional ebb pattern that we might call ‘the Six-Year Itch.’”


Wikipedia: Six-year itch
The six-year itch, according to political scientists, is the pattern which takes place during a US president’s sixth year in office. This year is characterized by the nation’s disgruntled attitude towards the president and his political party. During this time, there is a midterm election and the party in power usually loses a significant number of seats in Congress.
(...)
Bill Clinton is the only two-term President since Reconstruction not to have this occur. In 1998, his party gained 5 seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate was unchanged.

Wikipedia: Kevin Phillips (political commentator)
Kevin Price Phillips (born 30 November 1940) is an American writer and commentator on politics, economics, and history. Formerly a Republican Party strategist before becoming an Independent, Phillips became disaffected with the party from the 1990s, and became a scathing critic. He is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Magazine, and National Public Radio, and was a political analyst on PBS’ NOW with Bill Moyers.

Phillips was a strategist on voting patterns for Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign, which was the basis for a book, The Emerging Republican Majority, which predicted a conservative realignment in national politics, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential recent works in political science. His predictions regarding shifting voting patterns in presidential elections proved accurate, though they did not extend “down ballot” to Congress until the Republican revolution of 1994. Phillips also was partly responsible for the design of the Republican “Southern strategy” of the 1970s and 1980s.

20 May 1973, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), “Misty Question: Political Fallout of Watergate,” pg. 3-AA, col. 2:
“First, there’s the six-year itch, that is that Nixon has been in power that long and people might want a change.”
(Richard M. Scammon, co-author with Ben J. Wattenberg of The Real Majority.—ed.)

Google News Archive
8 June 1973, The Evening News (Newburgh, NY), “‘Six-Year Itch’ Helps Democrats in U.S. Senate Races” by Kevin Phillips, pg. 6A, cols. 2-3:
Second, since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s day, there has been a definite congressional ebb pattern that we might call “the Six-Year Itch.” After six years of one party in the White House, the voters like to shake things up with big gains forthe opposition. This, too, bodes ill for the President’s party, and that’s without the corruption issue or an economic slowdown factored into the equation.

Google News Archive
4 November 1974, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, pg. 6-A, col. 7:
NATIONAL ELECTION OUTLOOK
The ‘Six-Year Itch’ Has Some Limits
By CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY
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BUT THE TRULY disastrous losses for the party in power have come after six years of control. Republicans under Eisenhower lost 47 House seats and 13 Senate seats in 1958. Democrats under Lyndon B. Johnson lost 47 in the House in 1966.

Some election experts call this the “six-year itch,” the phenomenon that leads a criucial number of voters to strike back atthe party holding the WHite House in the middle of the second four-year period of control.

Google News Archive
21 May 1985, Beaver County (PA) Times, “Reagan wave rides against cycles” by David Broder, pg. A7, cols. 1-2:
In recent issues of his bi-weekly newsletter, The American Political Report, and in an article in the New York Times Magazine, Kevin Phillips has offered as interesting an analysis of the Reagan adminsitration and its political prospects as anything that has come across this deak.
(...)
Phillips is the popularizer of the notion of the “six-year itch.” He has drawn attention to the pattern of severe off-year losses of Senate, House and gubernatorial seats for the President’s party in the sixth year after a change of party control of the White House.

What happened to the Republicans in 1958 and 1974 (six years after Eisenhower and Nixon were first elected), and what happened to the Democrats in 1938 and 1966 (six years after Roosevelt and Kennedy won), is likely to happen to the GOP in 1986, he said: a political bath.

OCLC WorldCat record
Will the ‘Six-Year Itch’ Strike Again in 1986?
Author: Rhodes Cook
Edition/Format: Article Article
Publication: CQ Weekly, (19850629): 1284-1286
Database: CQ Weekly.

Google News Archive
25 February 1996, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Advancemen preparing the ‘six-year itch’ alibi” by Arnold Sawislak (UPI), pg. 4, col. 4:
Washington—This year’s political straw man is called “the six-year itch.”

The six-year itch amounts to an advance alibi for the political party that holds the WHite House and loses seats in Congress in the middle of its president’s second term.

OCLC WorldCat record
The Cook Report - First-term midterm elections and “six-year-itch” midterms are distinctly different creatures.
Author: Charlie Cook
Publisher: Washington, D.C., National Journal Group Inc.
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: National journal. 41, no. 18, (2009): 84
Database: ArticleFirst

Tne Daily Beast
08.02.14
The Coming Democratic Midterm Collapse
By Jeff Greenfield
History tells us the “six-year itch” is a very real thing, and there’s little Obama’s Democrats can do to stave off a big loss this November.
(...)
If you’re looking for a truism that remains true, then reach out and grasp this one: the “six year curse.” With one (highly instructive) exception, the party that holds the White House will lose Congressional seats in the six-year midterms. It happened to Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt; it happened to Ike and LBJ and Reagan. It will almost surely happen to Barack Obama this November.

The Blue Route (Careening Towards A More Progressive Future)
Jeff Greenfield Scratches His Six-Year Itch
Posted by: Peter Fegan
August 3, 2014
While reading Jeff Greenfield’s latest piece on the upcoming midterm elections – spoiler alert, Greenfield doesn’t think it’s going to go well for Democrats – I couldn’t help but wonder just what planet he’s been living on for the last few months.

Yes, Greenfield correctly points out that most two-term presidents lose seats in their sixth year. In fact, the only president to actually gain seats over the last five decades was Bill Clinton, a fact Greenfield mentions but then glosses over like some footnote

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, August 02, 2014 • Permalink