The Politics of Disappointment: American Elections, 1976-94

The Politics of Disappointment: American Elections, 1976-94

The Politics of Disappointment: American Elections, 1976-94

The Politics of Disappointment: American Elections, 1976-94

Synopsis

Attuned to the popular mood of uncertainty, this text addresses the legacy of two decades of disillusionment in the American political culture. It traces the slow unravelling of the economic and social fabric of the USA through the historical passage from Jimmy Carter to Newt Gingrich.

Excerpt

The accounts in this book appeared before or not too long after the elections they describe. In retrospect, my reflections and interpretations sometimes read pretty well, and sometimes they are very wrong. I have left them all as they were written, adding some footnotes where hindsight seems to require them, because my errors of judgment say at least as much about the problem of narrating elections as the instances where I get it right.

The treatments of the presidential elections of 1976-92 were originally printed in a series of volumes edited by my matchless colleague, Gerald M. Pomper. The first of these books, The Election of 1976, was published by David McKay; subsequent volumes were published by Chatham House; the entire series, along with this book, has been guided by Edward Artinian, as excellent an observer of politics and political science as he is a publisher. The three essays on the election of 1994 were written for Commonweal, from whose editors I have been receiving fine criticism and great generosity for what now comes to a third of a century.

I first wrote seriously about national elections as a junior co-author with my teacher, John H. Schaar, whose craft and wisdom and knowledge of things American are so remarkable that they rival his gift for friendship. Among many intellectual and personal debts, I am grateful to Dennis Bathory, Myron Aronoff . . .

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