Chapter

Stresses and Strain

John R. Petrocik

in Crisis of Conservatism?

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199764013
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897186 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764013.003.0005
Stresses and Strain

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The chapter is a narrative about the diversity of the American party coalitions and how that diversity influences the issue agendas of the parties, the conduct of elections, and, particularly, the relationship between issue preferences and voting choices in the contemporary period. The analysis demonstrates that election dynamics are largely unchanged despite a substantial restructuring of the party coalitions over the last few decades. The current parties are more symbolically polarized but they continue to be internally fractured by many issues. The result is electoral competition between parties that require candidates and office-holders who can broker centrifugal diversity and capitalize on it in order to win elections. Losses precipitate struggles within the losing party in an effort to come to terms with their diversity.

Keywords: Party coalitions; Ideological diversity; New Deal coalitions; Party realignment; Reagan Realignment; Party social base; Religiosity cleavage; Class cleavage; Social welfare issues; Democratic Party

Chapter.  9207 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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