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