In 1896 the US suffered a economic depression known as the Panic of 1896. This led to whats called a "realigning election." Historians say the US has had 4 of these realigning elections since the 1783.
Realigning elections result in a new political power structure that lasts for decades, replacing an older dominant coalition.
In 1896 the issues of reconstruction after the Civil War were replaced by a progressive era. This epoc began with the election of a big govt Republican, William McKinley. This lasted until the Great Depression.
In 1933 FDR, a big Govt Democrat assumed office. The party platforms having switched side officially around the turn of the century.
During the 1860s, Republicans orchestrated an ambitious expansion of federal power, Lincoln was one of these big govt Republicans helping to fund the transcontinental railroad, the state university system among other projects. Democrats opposed these measures. After the Civil War, Republicans helped pass laws that granted protections for African Americans again, Democrats largely opposed these expansions of power.
The Panic of 1896 and the Great Depression both resulted in realigning elections and in the election of big govt politicians that reset the course of the country for decades.
I have a feeling its possible the election of 2020 could be the 5th realigning election in American history. As many times before when the US faces economic hardship the election of a big govt politician is what saves it.