The War of Ideas, Wedge Issues, Youth Recruitment, and Money

Authored by: Kathleen Barr

Routledge Handbook of Political Management

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  March  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415962254
eBook ISBN: 9780203892138
Adobe ISBN: 9781135897499

10.4324/9780203892138.ch17

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Abstract

American politics is in a perplexing place. Recent presidential elections have been decided by razor-thin margins, political rhetoric is divisive and sectarian, and public opinion is sharply divided between the two major parties. Yet as recently as 2006 the Republican Party controlled every branch of federal government, held a majority of state legislatures and statehouses, and had pushed political debate further to the right continuously for thirty years.1 This seeming paradox existed because over the past thirty years Republicans and conservatives have built an infrastructure for winning political power superior to that of the Democrats and progressives, enabling conservative electoral and political success out of proportion to its strength and at variance with public opinion on the issues.

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