the ever more mysterious Democratic Party
SLevinson at law.utexas.edu
Thu Jan 26 15:28:44 PST 2006
There's actually quite a bit of evidence for John Noble's view. Morris Fiorina and Alan Wolfe have both written important books arguing that ordinary Americans are indeed not all that far apart. What then must be explained is the character of contemporary politics as seen at the national level, which I think CAN fairly be described in terms of a "bitterly split" governing elite. The recent Hacker-Pierson book on the welfare state offers a very interesting analysis focusing on the skill of the Republican Party's being able to reject a conventional politics tilted toward the center in favor of a far more radical politics. (They present evidence, for example, that polling data fairly consistently demonstrates signficiant public opposition to most programs identified with the House Republicans, say, but it just doesn't matter. One explanation is partisan gerrymandering, which, of course, was scarcely invented by Republicans even if they have taken it recently to new levels.)
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