TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE AMERICAN PARTY SYSTEM: Political Coalitions from the New Deal to the 1970s by

TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE AMERICAN PARTY SYSTEM: Political Coalitions from the New Deal to the 1970s

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ladd is the director of the Social Science Data Center at the University of Connecticut; he has fed the American political structure through a computer and retrieved a number of conclusions. The New Deal, the labor movement, and the traditional entrepreneurial organizations are gone; the party system is gone; and in the ""post-industrial society"" little can be predicted except that ""new interest collectivities emerge,"" and change the political complexion of the US. What those collectivities are and what policies they pursue is not specified; no consideration is given the collapse of urban Democratic machines, the impact of student and civil rights movements, or the George Wallace phenomenon. Virtually the only politicians mentioned are presidents or presidential candidates, and they appear as figures abstracted from political factions. Ladd and Hadley explain that since the 1940s, the Democrats--especially in the South--have lost their majority, while the Republicans have not gained it; the GOP is weaker than at any other time in its history. The affluent now seem more liberal than the poor or the working class, which in any case is disappearing. Otherwise the book bypasses the economic concerns of the electorate and also the question of how the impact of the faltering economy has shaped the political map of the nation. The authors simply observe that ""virtually every social institution evokes less confidence than ten years ago"" and then omit to say how that has affected political life. The book is lacking in that major prerequisite for research, computer or otherwise--namely, curiosity.

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 1975
Publisher: Norton