I recently heard about this political movement, "The Know Nothings" (i.e. 'ignorant', not to be confused with 'moron' which means 'dull'), from U.S. history in the 1850s, another time of turmoil and political re-shuffling in the U.S.
It may be interesting to look at the dynamics within this short-lived political movement of that period as perhaps revealing wrt what we may be experiencing in the present. From wiki:
The Know Nothing was a political movement by the nativist American political faction of the 1850s, characterized by political xenophobia, anti-Catholic sentiment, and occasional bouts of violence against the groups the nativists targeted. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to republican values and controlled by the Pope (Pius IX) in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856...
The immigration of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics to the United States in the period between 1830 and 1860 made religious differences between Catholics and Protestants a political issue, tensions which echoed European conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. Violence occasionally erupted over elections. Although Catholics asserted that they were politically independent of priests, Protestants alleged that Pope Pius IX had put down the failed liberal Revolutions of 1848 and that he was an opponent of liberty, democracy and Republicanism. One Boston minister described Catholicism as "the ally of tyranny, the opponent of material prosperity, the foe of thrift, the enemy of the railroad, the caucus, and the school." These fears encouraged conspiracy theories regarding the Pope's purported plans to subjugate the United States through a continuing influx of Catholics controlled by Irish bishops obedient to and personally selected by the Pope.
The results of the 1854 elections were so favorable to the Know Nothings that they formed officially as a political party called the American Party, and attracted many members of the now nearly-defunct Whig party, as well as a significant number of Democrats and prohibitionists. Membership in the American Party increased dramatically, from 50,000 to an estimated one million plus in a matter of months during that year.
The key to Know Nothing success in 1854 was the collapse of the second party system, brought about primarily by the demise of the Whig party. The Whig party, weakened for years by internal dissent and chronic factionalism, was nearly destroyed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Growing anti-party sentiment, fueled by anti-slavery as well as temperance and nativism, also contributed to the disintegration of the party system. The collapsing second party system gave the Know Nothings a much larger pool of potential converts than was available to previous nativist organizations, allowing the Order to succeed where older nativist groups had failed.Some parallels to our situation today may be drawn from this history as the US today has recently been experiencing high (often illegal) immigration and also the mercantilist out of control and chaos inducing rampant "outsourcing" of manufacturing jobs to Asia which is causing economic dislocations and perhaps the similar resultant political party chaos and what we may see as an emerging broad political restructuring.