The Triumph of Campaign-centered Politics

By David Menefee-Libey | Go to book overview

4
Campaign-Centered Politics Leaves the Parties Behind

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is plied high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.

-- Abraham Lincoln, "'Annual Message to Congress,'" 1862

The social and political changes surveyed in chapters 2 and 3 first became visible in presidential politics. General Dwight Eisenhower, after being courted by both major parties, declared himself a Republican and ran for president in 1952. His campaign, however, was run by a group called Citizens for Eisenhower as much as by party organizations. He carried in a Republican Congress on his coattails, but that unified party government vanished with the election of a Democratic congressional majority in 1954.

Democrats' problems began in 1948, when South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond led southern segregationists out of the party to the right, and former Vice-President Henry Wallace led his followers out to challenge President Harry Truman from the left. In 1956, Senator Estes Kefauver defied Democratic leaders and ran for the party's presidential nomination in primaries rather than by courting party elites in state caucuses. That move spurred the party's 1952 nominee, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, to win voter support for his renomination in 1956. That summer, delegates to the Democratic National Convention nominated Stevenson and Kefauver to the same ticket. Open nomination contests, increasingly beyond

-49-

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The Triumph of Campaign-centered Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Parties, Elections, and American Democracy 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - The Campaign-Centered Electoral Order 11
  • Notes 27
  • 3 - The Foundations of Campaign-Centered Politics 32
  • Notes 44
  • 4 - Campaign-Centered Politics Leaves the Parties Behind 49
  • Notes 63
  • 5 - Reform and the Search for a New Party-Centered Politics 66
  • Notes 86
  • 6 - Embracing Campaign-Centered Politics 92
  • Notes 112
  • 7 - The New Politics on Capitol Hill 118
  • Notes 148
  • 8 - Campaigns and Parties in the Senate 154
  • Notes 176
  • 9 - The New Conventional Wisdom, Fraying at Its Edges 181
  • Notes 204
  • 10 - The Resilience of Campaign-Centered Politics 211
  • Notes 220
  • Index 223
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