The Decay of Reform

The Decay of Reform

Throughout U.S. history, periods of rapid social and economic change have led to political realignment, especially under the stimulus of a severe economic downturn. By these lights, realignment should now be taking place in New York politics. All the ingredients are present. Since the 1950s, the white population has become a minority, and economic restructuring has diminished the white working class and weakened its trade unions and regular party organizations. Meanwhile a new black, Hispanic, and female service-sector labor force has arisen, on which organizations like District Council 37 are based. Either the severe recession of the mid-1970s or the current political scandals could well have triggered the formation of a coalition of
underrepresented groups to challenge the established order. Challenging coalitions did elect minority mayors in Chicago, Philadelphia, and even Los Angeles. Yet a liberal reform realignment hasn’t happened in New York, nor do its prospects seem bright. Why?

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Lima