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Election of 1976

Reports and Interpretations

By (author) Gerald M. Pomper
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Prentice Hall Europe (a Pearson Education company), London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Prentice Hall Press
Published: 5th Jun 1978
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
ISBN-10: 0582280052
ISBN-13: 9780582280052
Barcode No: 9780582280052

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Kirkus US
Five members of the political science faculty at Rutgers University analyze the 1976 election and what it portends for the American polity. Collectively, their reactions, while cautious, are tantalizing. From the uncharacteristically "placid" Democratic convention (see below, Reeves) to the reappearance of "partisanship" in voting behavior, they consider that the Carter victory hinged directly on a muting of the "social issue" which dominated in '68 and '72 and included such things as crime, abortion, marijuana, amnesty, ecology, and women's rights; the '76 election marked a resurgence of basic economic concerns and apparently elicited a more class-conscious vote. Though Carter's was clearly a "centrist" campaign and he benefitted from the tradition of turning to the Democrats in times of economic duress, his constituency doesn't correlate in any significant degree with McGovern's in 1972, Humphrey's in 1968, or Johnson's in 1964; Pomper wonders if 1976 might not in fact turn out to be one of the "critical elections" - comparable to 1896 and 1932 - which represent a true watershed. The time is certainly ripe and the social issues, though temporarily subordinated, won't go away. Wilson Carey McWilliams, in the concluding essay, notes that the private moral beliefs of candidates have, for better or worse, become matters of electoral concern - a phenomenon he sees as symptomatic of an age which can no longer take a sense of community, family cohesion, and the stability of the "private order" for granted. Carter's concern for ethnic purity and family, viewed in this light, may not be tangential to his realpolitik. Though the somewhat laborious academic style is in direct contrast to the razzle-dazzle of Reeves' Convention, the two form complementary election coverage. (Kirkus Reviews)