THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY: Lessons and Legacies from the New Politics by Lanny J. Davis

THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY: Lessons and Legacies from the New Politics

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Middle Americans are about to become the most wooed voters as politicos in both parties begin to discern that their Presidential nominess cannot be elected otherwise. Davis, a thoughtful and toughened 27-year-old activist who worked with McCarthy, Muskie and McGovern, pragmatically perceives that the Democratic Party will not survive without its working-class constituents and that ways must be found to recapture allegiance to the Party that has traditionally been theirs -- a fact disregarded by advocates of the New Politics (primarily upper-class professionals and Ivy League students) who masterminded the McGovern campaign. While Nixon and Wallace appealed to basic ethnic fears and endemic racism, what Middle Americans primarily responded to Davis thinks was economic issues, and he goes on to discuss polls to substantiate his claim that on specific welfare programs the working class is more liberal than is conventionally assumed. McGovern was perceived by these voters as too elitist and fiscally irresponsible, whereas an emphasis on centrism, moderation and new coalitions would probably have kept them in the Democratic Party (which has now begun in any case, more so than have Republicans who have other pressing problems, to reformulate structure). The concept is hardly original, but it's one that radical activists have until recently ignored. And the Democrats may indeed have already begun to forge workable new coalitions if the trends of the 1973 local elections are to be interpreted as anything other than simply a backlash of the Watergate-Agnew Republican scandals.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1974
Publisher: Stein & Day