Polls, Television, and the New Politics

Polls, Television, and the New Politics

Polls, Television, and the New Politics

Polls, Television, and the New Politics

Excerpt

Suddenly, in the election year 1968, Americans became aware that the fabric of their political experiences had taken on an unusual form, an unfamiliar texture, a novel coloration. Since then, much discussion of "the new politics" has ensued. Although this phrase has already become a household word, there is considerable confusion both about its meaning and about its significance. Such confusion usually occurs when a catch phrase first captures the imagination of journalists and writers, and then the hearts of the public. Phrases like "the new politics" are extremely imprecise in their meaning when they enter the bloodstream of the body politic. They are subject to much heated debate, and they generally shed very little real light on the phenomena they supposedly represent. Witness our frustrating experiences with similar phrases that have become integral parts of our language in our clumsy efforts to understand and cope with the tremendous upheavals and changes that have taken place in our political and social lives: What exactly is meant by "overkill," "domino theory," "escalation," "culture of poverty," "militancy," "participatory democracy"?

Undoubtedly there has been significant change in the ways in which the business of politics is being conducted in the United States. This change has been ascribed to various social and political causes: shifts in the demography of the nation (the influx of youth into the electorate); the urbanization-suburbanization of . . .

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