Elephant's Edge: The Republicans as a Ruling Party

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9780275985363: Elephant's Edge: The Republicans as a Ruling Party
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The Republican Party currently enjoys an edge. The advantage can be seen in Congress, state politics, judicial rulings, foreign and domestic policy, party finances, the media, public attitudes, and economic and demographic developments. Yet the Republicans do not seem capable of translating this into a durable electoral majority.

Conditions now exist within American politics that will facilitate the establishment of Republican rule. Many of these conditions have ripened during the past decade. They include rules governing elections and campaign finance, shifts in core political values among the public that are consistent with Republican philosophy, and fundamental social and economic changes in American society that are likely to increase the ranks of Republican voters. The author explains in lucid, engaging terms how Republicans have taken control of both houses of Congress and experienced a remarkable resurgence at the state level. He explores how conservatives are utilizing the courts to simultaneously move policy rightward and mobilize sympathetic parts of the electorate. He also examines social and economic changes to show how racial politics, religiosity, and the nature of work and wealth benefit today's Republican Party.

Republican rule should not be confused with Republican realignment. These conditions will advantage Republicans in future elections and bring about consistent Republican control of government at all levels―federal, state, and local, executive, legislative, and judicial. However, current conditions do not guarantee the kind of enduring Republican majority many journalists and strategists have predicted. Taylor explains the factors that will prohibit the Republicans from fully exploiting their advantages and dominating American politics the way the Democrats did in the 30 years following the New Deal. These factors include internal and intractable tensions within the Republican Party, the parties' sophisticated political information gathering strategies, and the innate risk aversion of the campaign industry.

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Explains how the foundations of long-term Republican advantage are being solidified in a clear narrative from which members of both parties can learn valuable lessons.

About the Author:

Andrew J. Taylor is Associate Professor at North Carolina State University. He has contributed frequently to scholarly journals, has made over 200 appearances on television, been interviewed over 100 times for radio, and has been quoted regularly in national and local newspapers.

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