chapter  7
29 Pages

Party Coalitions and Party Change

This chapter looks at party change with special attention to the parties' supporting coalitions. It examines the development of the parties' current coalitions: from what races, regions, educational backgrounds, and other social groups do these supporters come, what attracts them to one party rather than the other, and why that matters. The chapter considers how best to characterize the changes in the parties' coalitions since the New Deal. The most enduring regional conflict in American party history was the one-party Democratic control of the South. Well before the Civil War, white southerners shared an interest in slavery and an agricultural system geared to export markets. For much of party history, Democrats won national elections by combining their strength in big cities with an overwhelming Democratic vote in both the urban and rural South. The group of Democrats includes liberals, lower-income people, some highly educated professionals, and racial and ethnic minorities.