percentage of the vote for Nixon and Wallace than the country in 1968 are classified as "liberal." All other states are classified as "moderate." These classifications are valid because the Republican Presidential nominees in all three elections, Goldwater and Nixon, are clearly more conservative than the Democrats Johnson, Humphrey, and McGovern. The Wallace candidacy of 1968 represents a nonpartisan but decidedly conservative vote. Finally, all three elections represent cases in which the electorate was polarized over the salient issues, particularly civil rights and the Vietnam War.
Table 1.19 illustrates the political geography of both the electoral change and the ideological polarization. Eight of the ten most liberal states are found in the northeast quadrant, with the other two on the west coast. All ten have shifted dramatically toward the Democrats in Presidential elections. Almost all of the most conservative states are found in the south and west and have shifted toward the Republicans in Presidential elections. These conservative states make up the "L" on the electoral map so central to the Democratic coalitions of a century ago and the Republican coalitions of today. Finally, the states in the ideological center show the greatest degree of electoral stability.
The next five chapters develop this theme by addressing the ideological alignment of states in factions within the political parties.
As the turn of the twenty-first century approaches, Presidential elections continue to be shaped by a realignment that reached critical proportions between 1964 and 1972. In terms of the change in the coalition of states, the 1964-1972 period represents the most profound realignment in American history. The question remains: Why was it not recognized as such?
The central methodological problem is that dealignment theorists who have been "waiting for Godot" have been waiting for something that even realignment theory, properly understood, would not predict. They have been waiting for a realignment that would fit a rigid ahistorical model and appear just like 1932, or perhaps 1896. But our review demonstrates what many dealignment theorists forget, that previous realignments have not looked much like each other, either.
For example, critical realignment is expected to displace the normal majority party and produce a new national majority party. This did in fact take place in 1932, to a degree that the New Deal realignment fits the model on that score perfectly. But the realignment of 1896 fits the model only imperfectly, and, of course, the dealignment period since the 1960s does not satisfy that prediction at all. Prior to 1896 there was