Voting Alone: In Red-State America, Politics Is Much More Deeply Integrated into Other Aspects of People's Daily Lives

By Cohen, Lizabeth | The American Prospect, December 2004 | Go to article overview

Voting Alone: In Red-State America, Politics Is Much More Deeply Integrated into Other Aspects of People's Daily Lives


Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Prospect


ALAN BRINKLEY HAS DONE AN ADMIRABLE JOB THINKING through why George W. Bush won. I particularly agree with his analysis of the damaged state of the Democratic Party's infrastructure and aim here to deepen our understanding of what needs fixing.

Let me start with myself as one type of Kerry supporter to illustrate the problem. I'm not proud of it, but my husband and I spend most of our waking hours working, leaving little time for any associational life. Free time is reserved for our two teenage children. We participate in no organized religion, belong to few organizations outside of professional ones, and barely sustain ties to the town we live in. Our political activism mostly involves writing checks to liberal groups; our community consists of friends, co-workers, and family. We are charter members of Robert Putnam's "bowling alone" crowd.

Looking back at Franklin Delano Roosevelt's landslide victory of 1936, made possible by the entrance of new first--and second-generation immigrant and black voters into the New Deal coalition, what is most striking is the critical role played by face to face recruitment, whether by fledgling Congress of Industrial Organizations unions or new offshoots of long-established ethnic associations (Polish Democratic Clubs or Italian Democratic Leagues). Even the Republican mobilization of 1964 for Barry Goldwater was noteworthy not only for giving birth to such techniques of "retail politics" as direct mail but also for its grass-roots base. Middle-class southern Californians, for example, had painstakingly built a conservative movement through interacting at coffee klatches and barbecues in their suburban tract developments, on local anticommunism committees, and in their proliferating churches.

The revolution in political campaigning that Richard Viguerie launched in 1964 with direct mail has undeniably reshaped both parties over the last four decades. Democrats and Republicans have both embraced "slice-and-dice" politics, reaching out to voters as members of market segments with distinctive interests. And ironically, the Democrats, with their base in the urban and suburban milieus, have become more dependent on this retail politics than the Republicans, whose core red-state supporters remain involved in face-to-face organizations.

The historic Republican discovery in this election season was that all the sophisticated segmented marketing mattered less than face to face interaction with real members of a community. As an organizer of Catholics for Bush in Columbus, Ohio, put it, "The grass-roots effort did not exist in 2000. We tend to think grass roots is less sexy, but it does the job."

In other words, it may be less significant that Republican voters have a corner on religious faith and "moral values" than simply that they go to church. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Voting Alone: In Red-State America, Politics Is Much More Deeply Integrated into Other Aspects of People's Daily Lives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.