The Gut Issues in the Election

The Gut Issues in the Election

All commentators seem to agree that the recent election was the most clear-cut representation of a party vote in a long time, and that the social composition of party allegiance more closely resembled the Roosevelt era than anything since. In fact, the weakness of the candidates accentuated the importance of party identification.

Naturally, some features were different. The suburbs are now bipartisan; large-scale southern black voting has become a regular pattern; whitecollar workers are as likely to vote Democratic as Republican; more of the affluent white Protestants vote Democratic. But the dominant tendency was the classic lineup of low-income, working-class, union, out-ethnic voters on the Democratic side, which inherently means a decisive Democratic majority in the electorate (as true of the South as of any other part of the country). The most obvious manifestation was the amazing continuity in Democratic congressional dominance, about the same as what followed the post-Watergate victories of 1974.

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