Conservative trends across the country result not only from a middle-class taxpayers’ revolt but also from forces within the Democratic party that are hostile to any left-leaning tilt. An unexpected mainstay of these forces have been the procedural reformers, men and women often motivated by deeply felt and legitimate concerns: the abuse of executive power in Southeast Asia, Watergate, etc. Their work has led to a major alteration of the political landscape. A critical consequence, in the last decade, has been the placing of a disproportionate share of the cost of government upon the working and lower middle classes, which in turn is a key to antigovernment sentiment. While designed to curb the undemocratic exercise of power, recent procedural reforms of the legislative and political process—as opposed to social reform aimed at reducing economic inequities—have largely benefited a Republican approach to government. These reforms have encouraged a change in the Democratic presidential constituency from a collection of minorities comprising a left-leaning majority toward an essentially white, middle-class majority, leaving minorities with fewer points of leverage. Thus, at a time when Democrats control both the presidency and Congress, these measures have undermined the power of the Democratic party to formulate policy. They have tended to take the power and profits of the elective proc...
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