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SIX
The Congressional Races:
Continuing Battleground
for the Parties

John S. Jackson III

FROM THE BEGINNING, THE 2000 CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS had the potential to be a part of an historic epoch in American politics. That is, 2000 could prove to be one of those few "critical elections" that shape American politics for generations to come (Key, 1955, 3-18). While no single election can stand alone as the only factor in the electoral transformation of our politics, one election can be the culmination of a trend set by a series of elections where a new majority is formed and where a dominant electoral paradigm is set into place. The last clear example of a critical election was Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential victory in 1932, which was coupled with the Democratic party's capturing of the Congress. The Democratic majority, started in 1932, and confirmed by the results of the Presidential and Congressional elections of 1934 and 1936, became the "New Deal Coalition" which dominated American electoral politics into the 1970s on the presidential side and which did not break up in the Congress until 1994, when the Republicans took control of both houses of the Congress.

Since Kevin Phillips published his highly influential book, the Emerging Republican Majority in 1969, many observers have predicted that a new majority would be born, ushering in a new Republican‐ Conservative majority coalition (Phillips, 1969). The quest for a new majority and the dynamics of assembling such a new majority has occupied

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