of the issues surrounding it lessen. Presidential elections that feature national and international issues have favored Republican candidates. A quarter to a half of the Senate elections, where national issues often play major roles and which generally have candidates well known to the electorate . . . are won by Republicans. In southern House elections, an often unknown Republican is typically challenging a Democratic incumbent. . . . House contests that include a melange of national and local issues are gradually, but increasingly, being won by Republicans. The GOP has done least well in state legislative contests, where local issues and local ties dominate and the influence of presidential coattails has been muted. 65
As in the case of West Point, the South, and throughout the United States, African-Americans have emerged as the most fervent supporters of the Democratic party. Each of the four West Point respondents of African-American heritage identified with the Democratic party. Further, although a majority of white voters in Virginia favored Republican candidates for governor in 1981, 1985, and 1989, the overwhelming support provided by African- American voters for Democratic candidates ensured their election. 66 African- Americans have become the most reliable source of electoral support for Democratic presidential candidates. 67
In conclusion, an examination of recent electoral trends in West Point not only provides us with some valuable insight into the political culture of the community but also underscores several important developments concerning the political party system in America. West Point's electoral behavior provides empirical evidence pertaining to the growth of Republicanism, especially in the South, and for the concepts of party dealignment and realignment, which have become the center of considerable debate among scholars of the American political party system.