. 7
( 11)


would move the party position from Ra to location Rc. The standard
spatial modelling assumption is that the party™s position is unilaterally
chosen by the candidate. That assumption, together with the assumption
that the candidate always wants to win elections, leads to the conclu-
sion that two-party competition should be a chaotic series of ever-shifting
party coalitions.
Although the recent literature on realignment (Brady, 1988; Carmines
and Stimson, 1989; Huckfeldt and Kohfeld, 1989) acknowledges the pos-
sibility of shifting party positions, it has not considered the likelihood of
permanently chaotic party con¬gurations. This chapter regards party re-
alignments as being a rather controlled manifestation of underlying two-
dimensional electoral instability. The “instability theorem” previously al-
luded to assumes that voters choose “deterministically” (by, for example,
voting for the candidate nearest the voter “ideal” point). An alterna-
tive theory “smooths” voter preferences by assuming that each voter is
“stochastic.” That is, each voter is described by a probability vector; the
nearer the candidate is to the voter, the higher the probability that the
voter will choose that candidate. Under the assumption that candidates
choose positions to maximize expected vote shares, and accepting a num-
ber of reasonable conditions, it can be shown that candidates converge to
the mean of the distribution of the voter ideal points.3 However, neither

The existence of such pure strategy Nash equilibria (PSNE) in these “stochastic

models is discussed in Enelow and Hinich (1984), Coughlin (1992), Lin, Enelow and
Dorussen (1999), Banks and Duggan (2005), and Scho¬eld and Sened (2006). This
convergence parallels the equilibrium result of Downs (1957) in one dimension. A
third, non-stochastic model assumes deterministic voters (with “Euclidean” prefer-
ences, for example) and candidate “mixed strategy Nash equilibria” in a two- can-
didate symmetric voting game. An earlier result by McKelvey (1986), demonstrated
more formally in Banks, Duggan, and Le Breton (2002), shows that the support of
the mixed strategy Nash equilibria lies within the so-called uncovered set. However,
with a large electorate this set will be small and centrally located. Consequently, those
results also effectively imply that candidates will “converge” to the center (typically,
the multidimensional median) of the voter ideal points.

Architects of Political Change

the “instability” nor the convergence results of these classes of models is
supported by empirical evidence (Merrill and Grofman, 1999; Scho¬eld
and Sened, 2006).
In contrast to the assumption of these models that candidates are un-
constrained, it is evident that candidates in U.S. presidential elections are,
to some degree, constrained by the necessity of winning primaries, raising
funds, and mobilizing volunteers. These constraints are associated with
party activists, who have different goals from candidates. The next section
describes the Aldrich model, in which party “location” in policy space is
determined by the decisions of party activists.

6.5 party activist equilibrium
As noted by Schlesinger (1994) and Aldrich (1983a, 1983b, 1995), ac-
tivists are less concerned with winning elections than with maintaining
the ideological stance of the party. “The political role [of party activists] is
to attempt to constrain the actual leaders of the party, its ambitious of¬ce
seekers, as they try to become the party-in-government by appealing to
the electorate” (Aldrich, 1995: 183).
Aldrich argues that party activists, not candidates, play the primary
role in creating the public™s perception of the “location” of the party in
ideological space. Voters take the location of the “average” Democratic
and Republican activists as their cues; those voters who ¬nd that the
location of one party™s activists is much closer to their own preferences
than that of the other party may decide to become activists themselves. For
example, if a voter ¬nds that the average Democratic activist has policy
preferences very like her own, she is more likely to enlist as an activist.
In doing so, she may “move” the location of the average Democratic
activist slightly in the direction of her ideal point”which may include a
strong pro-choice position, for example. In that way, a pro-life activist
may ¬nd himself at too much of a distance from the gradually moving
typical Democratic activist position, and resign. Both the enlistment of
the pro-choice activist and the deactivation of the pro-life activist have
the effect of moving the public™s identi¬cation of the Democratic Party.
At the same time, as the Democratic Party becomes more pro-choice,
the strongly pro-life voter may decide to become a Republican activist,
initiating a similar adjustment of the Republican party.
Aldrich™s contribution is to show that the aggregation of such decisions
to join or exit the cadre of party activists may constitute a stable, activist

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

equilibrium in which parties maintain a certain distance in the ideological
space, as illustrated in Figure 6.1 by Da and Ra. Activists preserve their
ideological distance, and at the same time, create stability in partisan
In Figure 6.1, the domains NR and ND are used to denote the support
of ideal points of those voters who choose, in Aldrich™s model, to become
activists for the Republicans and Democrats, respectively. Note that the
radii of NR and ND are determined by parameters of the model, and in
particular by the cost, c, that each activist chooses to pay in support of the
chosen party. In Aldrich™s model, Da and Ra are, respectively, the average
policy positions taken over the preferred (or ideal) points of Democratic
and Republican activists. Aldrich™s model has the great theoretical virtue
of predicting neither chaos nor convergent equilibrium.
The constraint implicit in this model can be illustrated in Figure 6.1.
While a move from Ra to Rc might be favored by the challenging can-
didate as a winning move, it is one that would be viewed by economic
conservatives as “selling out.” The economic conservatives will inevitably
play a key role in a party alignment (such as the New Deal alignment), in
which parties are differentiated primarily on economic policy. They will
feel that a great deal is at stake in the difference between the parties, and
will be most likely to vote in primaries, donate money, and engage in can-
vassing. During the 1940s and 1950s, for instance, Republican activists
were professional and small business entrepreneurs who were activated by
the classic party con¬‚icts over unionization, nationalized medicine, and
taxation. Democratic activists in that period were much more likely to be
active union members and farmers, with an equal stake in an economically
liberal stance by their party.
What control do party activists have over the public perception of
the party? First of all, they will play a major role in selecting the party
candidate. Time and again since 1964, we have seen a majority of party
activists throw their support for more extreme over more centrist candi-
dates in primary elections. In 1964, it was Barry Goldwater who defeated
William Scranton of Pennsylvania. In 1972, George McGovern won the
nomination in the primaries with a liberal position that proved disastrous
at the polls. In 2000, centrist John McCain™s popularity with Indepen-
dents and moderate Republicans proved insuf¬cient to defeat George W.
Bush when traditional conservatives rallied to the latter™s side. Further-
more, candidates, once selected, must act to keep party activists happy
enough to continue to make contributions of money, time, and effort.

Architects of Political Change

It appears that there is a great deal of evidence for Aldrich™s argument.
First of all, there is the empirical observation that in the United States (and
other political systems), parties do not converge to the center (Poole and
Rosenthal, 1984, 1997, or Adams and Merrill, 1999). Furthermore, party
activists in the United States tend to be more ideologically extreme than the
average Democratic or Republican voter. Finally, political parties do not
constantly shift and re-align as would be predicted by a model of candidate
vote maximization in two-dimensional space. In fact, the “disciplining”
force of party activists can be seen in virtually every election.
However, while Aldrich™s model rationalizes non-convergent activist
equilibrium, it fails to do two things. First of all, it does not contain
party candidates”who do want to win elections ¬rst and foremost. Sec-
ond, it does not explain how party activist equilibria are themselves dis-
rupted. For it is clear that occasionally party positions do change, in ways
that often dismay traditional party activists and disrupt existing party
activist equilibria. In 1964, traditional Republican activists were upset
by the nomination of Goldwater; in 1972, many traditional Democratic
activists dropped from the rolls of party activists rather than support a
more socially liberal Democratic candidate. Evidently, there are destabi-
lizing forces that occasionally disrupt party activist equilibria as described
by Aldrich. The purpose of the next section is to provide a formal model,
building on Aldrich (1983a, b) and Aldrich and McGinnis (1989), in or-
der to examine the forces that party candidates may exploit to try to win

6.6 a joint model of activists and candidates
Aldrich showed, essentially, that these conditions could be satis¬ed, such
that Ra was given by the mean of the bliss points of the set NR, while
Da was the mean of the set ND. It is obvious that for such an activist
equilibrium to exist, it is necessary that » j , the effect on the popularity
of candidate j is concave (or has diminishing returns) in contributions
to candidate j. Because candidates can transform activist contributions
into nonpolicy-related votes, they cannot be indifferent to the policy pref-
erences of those who are motivated to be activists in a given existing
activist equilibrium. On the other hand, as vote maximizers, they may
be willing to trade off current activist support for the support of other
potential activists”hence the much-documented tension between party
activists and candidates. How might candidates (who are passive in the
Aldrich model) go about ¬nding a policy position that induces an optimal

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964


Disaffected social liberals, NL


Da ′=Johnson
Partisan cleavage
line, 1964
Partisan cleavage
Democrat economic line, 1960
activists, ND

Republican economic
activists, NR



Goldwater = Ra ′

Disaffected social
conservatives, NC
Populists Conservatives


Figure 6.2. Illustration of ¬‚anking moves by Republican and Democrat candidates circa
1964 in a two-dimensional policy space.

corps of activists? As Figure 6.2 indicates, a typical socially conservative
voter would regard Democratic and Republican candidates during the
New Deal as equally unattractive, and tend to be indifferent. Civil rights
supporters, for example, were frustrated by FDR™s refusal to support an
anti-lynching law, and occasionally threatened to “sit out” elections. Sim-
ilarly, Dixiecrats walked out of the only New Deal-era Democratic con-
vention (1948) that took a strong pro-civil rights position.
Suppose now that such a socially conservative voter, g, has an ideal
point (sg , tg ) say, near the position Ia, with utility function

(x ’ sg )2 (y ’ tg )2
ug (x, y) = » R(z R) ’ + . (6.1)
e2 f2
Architects of Political Change

The term » R(z R) is some measure of the nonpolicy evaluation of the com-
petence or “valence” of the Republican candidate, R. (Chapter 8 gives
more detail about the formal voting model.)
Let NC be the set of such “disaffected” social conservatives who would
be willing to contribute to a candidate as long as this candidate adopted
a policy position (xk, yk) close to (sg , tg ). Such a social conservative would
regard social policy to be of greater signi¬cance and so e > f in equation
(6.1). Similarly, let the utility function of an economically conservative
voter be
(x ’ si )2 (y ’ ti )2
ui (x, y) = » R(z R) ’ + , (6.2)
a2 b2
where this voter™s ideal point is (si , ti ), close to Ra. Because this voter
is more concerned about economic policy rather than social policy, it is
natural to assume that a < b. Now, let NR be the set of such traditional
Republican activists.
Unlike Aldrich, suppose further that the Republican candidate adopts
a position, not at the mean Ra, but at some compromise position Ra
between Ra and Ia. It is easy to demonstrate that the “contact curve”
between the point (si , ti ) and the point (sg , tg ) is given by the equation
(y ’ tg )
(y ’ ti )
=S , (6.3)
(x ’ si ) (x ’ sg )
b2 e2
S = 2. 2. (6.4)
I shall use the term catenary to describe this curve.
If the Republican candidate moves on this locus, then the resulting Re-
publican activists will be a subset of NC and NR. Because of the asymmetry
involved, the total number of activists may increase, thus increasing over-
all contributions to the Republican candidate. Clearly, there are plausible
conditions under which » R(z R) increases as a result of such a move by
a Republican candidate, thus increasing the effective vote share of this
candidate. Thus the Republican candidate™s desire to win elections may
well transform the existing party activist equilibrium.
Determination of the existence of a candidate pure strategy Nash equi-
librium (PSNE) depends on continuity and quasi-concavity (or concavity)
of the candidate utility functions {U j }. While each U j will be a function
of z, the vector of candidate positions, its dependence on positions will

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

be more complex than the simple relationship implicit in the standard
spatial model. It is important to note that this proposed model involves
differing voter utility functions. To preserve continuity of voter response,
it is necessary that the coef¬cients of voter policy loss vary continuously
with the voter-preferred policy. This means that the salience parameters
change continuously with the bliss point of the voter.
With these assumptions, candidate vote share functions {Vj } will be
continuous in (the vector of) candidate strategies. Candidate utility func-
tions are generally derived from the vote share functions, and so quasi-
concavity or concavity of the candidate utility functions and thus existence
of political equilibria can then be shown (see Scho¬eld and Sened, 2006,
for the technical argument). It is worth emphasizing that the greater the
relative saliences (b/a and e/ f ), the greater will be S, and thus, the more
signi¬cant will be the attraction of building a coalition with dissident
activist groups to enhance electoral support.
The mixed activist-voter model suggests why a transformation in
activist-generated equilibria can occur. In contrast to Aldrich, the policy
positions of the two parties are chosen by “expected” vote-maximizing
candidates. The voter model itself is of the standard probabilistic variety
(Enelow and Hinich, 1984; Lin, Enelow, and Dorussen, 1999). However,
the novel feature is that the voter calculus involves a nonpolicy, valence
variable, associated with each candidate. This nonpolicy variable is a
monotone increasing, concave function of the respective party activist to-
tal contributions. It is an immediate and obvious feature of this model
that candidates do not converge in Downsian fashion to the center of the
electoral distribution. Instead, a “rational” candidate will choose a policy
position so as to “balance” activist contributions and voter responses. In
this variant, potential activists who place high valuation on policy shifts
can offer signi¬cant contributions, and thus affect rather than control
candidate locations.
Note, also, that if one of the presidential candidates initiates a ¬‚anking
move of the kind described, then the opponent should move even further
round the opposing catenary. We can illustrate existence of the pure strat-
egy Nash equilibria (or PSNE) using Figure 6.2 as a guide. Let Ra and
Da be the positions of the Republican and Democratic candidates which
maximize their total contributions from activists. These positions will be
on the respective catenaries and will be independent of each other (because
activist contributions will be determined solely by the respective candi-
date positions). At these positions, the “valence” effects, now labeled » R

Architects of Political Change

and » D, will be maximized. Draw the arc between the positions Ra and
Da . If the Republican candidate moves on this arc, toward the origin,
» R will fall, but the overall policy or spatial component of the voteshare
may rise. Concavity of the vote-share function means that there will be
a unique point on the arc where the Republican candidate™s vote share is
maximized. Indeed, by the implicit assumptions of continuity and concav-
ity, the Republican candidate will have a continuous best response to the
Democratic candidate™s position. Mutual best response de¬nes the PSNE.
This PSNE can also be characterized by the partisan cleavage line, which
separates those voters with a higher probability of voting Republican than
Democrat. Note that if liberal social activists attract the Democratic can-
didate to move toward them on the liberal catenary, then the best response
of the Republican will be to move further toward the conservative social
activists. (More details of existence of PSNE can be found in Scho¬eld
and Sened, 2006.)
The catenary or contract curve (and thus the best response position)
depends on the ratio of the intensities of relative preferences on the two
axes associated with the activist groups. For example, if economic activists
care relatively very strongly about the economy, and social activists care
greatly about social policy, then the optimum position will be extreme on
both axes. In a very intuitive fashion, the model allows for response to
the relative numbers of the activist groups, their intensity of preferences,
and their “willingness” to contribute. A party™s candidate should be more
willing to seek to move farther down the catenary in an attempt to enlist
the social activists when the social activists are larger in numbers, and
when the intensity of their preferences induces a greater willingness to

6.7 third parties
Third parties play a particularly interesting role in this model. They rep-
resent voters who are particularly concerned about issue dimensions that
are suppressed by the existing party alignment. For example, in 1968,
Wallace represented those who were alienated from the Democratic Party
by its sponsorship of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights
Act. In 1935, Franklin Roosevelt was moved to consolidate the economic
liberal position of the New Deal in order to avert a third-party threat
from the economic Left. In 1980, Anderson ran a campaign appealing
to upper-income, college-educated liberal Republicans on the coasts who

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

were upset about the socially conservative course that Reagan was set-
ting for the GOP. In 2000, Ralph Nader insisted that both major parties
were in thrall to corporate elites, and that he alone represented economic
liberals who felt that the “culture wars” competition between Democrats
and Republicans had left New Deal liberalism behind.
Once organized, such third parties demonstrate to party elites the elec-
toral advantage of the “¬‚anking maneuver” described in the model above.
In the run-up to 1972, the attraction of the millions of socially conserva-
tive Wallace voters rationalized Nixon™s “Southern Strategy,” and exerted
a powerful tug on Nixon toward the point Ia in Figure 6.2. Anderson™s
third-party run in 1980 offered the prospect of disaffected socially lib-
eral Republicans whose votes were up for grabs; many of these became
Clinton Democrats in the nineties.
The Wallace candidacy of 1968 and the Anderson candidacy of 1980
represented two groups of activists who had quite distinct perspectives
about a re-orientation of the Republican Party. The Wallace candidacy
illustrated what I call a leading third party for the Republicans in the
seventies, since it served to attract Nixon and other Republican elites
toward a new party position that emphasized conservative social policy
rather than the historic economic conservativism. By contrast, the Ander-
son candidacy represented traditional New Deal Republicans who were
dismayed to see the Republican Party moving away from their position;
consequently, I call the Anderson candidacy a dragging third party. More
recently, the Nader candidacy was quite consciously a dragging third party
for the Democrats, as Nader objected that the Democratic Party had in
the nineties abandoned the traditional economic liberalism of the New
Deal. In the opinion of Nader and his supporters, the Democratic Party
was indistinguishable from the Republican party in its support of big

6.8 summary of the model
The elements of the model are as follows:
Some voters are motivated by the policy proximity of one set of party
activists (and the distance from the other party activists) to join the cadre
of activists. Each decision to exit or enter the cadre of activists changes
the mean location of the activist core, and thus the public perception of
the locations of the parties. Stable divergence in the parties™ public image
is the result of what Aldrich calls an activist equilibrium.

Architects of Political Change

Candidates, unlike party activists, are primarily interested in winning
elections; consequently, each candidate has an incentive to try to move
the public™s perception of his or her party to a position that maximizes
expected vote share.
At any point in time, a candidate is likely to ¬nd that current party ac-
tivists are intensely concerned with one dimension, while a “disaffected”
group is more intensely concerned with a different dimension of ideology.
Consequently, the candidate may reasonably hope to make a “¬‚anking”
move that appeals to one group of disaffected voters without losing too
many party activists. When successful, this initiates a shift in partisan
activists, and therefore a rede¬nition of the public™s image of the “reloca-
tion” of the parties.
For any given party alignment, “disaffecteds” may try to hasten a re-
alignment by means of a leading third-party attempt. The success of a
leading third party is often the excuse that a vote-maximizing party can-
didate is looking for to destabilize the current party activist equilibrium.
Party activists who are disgruntled with the existing activist equilibrium
may form the core of a dragging third-party attempt.
From this perspective, the partisan realignments of the past century
have been fundamentally linked to the multi-dimensionality of the poten-
tial policy space. They have been initiated by “¬‚anking movements” rather
than by frontal assaults. Rather than ¬ghting toe-to-toe for the moderates
in the exact center of the space, candidates have tried to appeal to disaf-
fected voters in the dimension that has recently not distinguished the two
Of course, an outward thrust on a party™s left ¬‚ank leaves its own right
¬‚ank exposed and vulnerable, at least in the long run. If this is the case,
then each attempt to build a new majority party sows the seeds of the
next party realignment.
It is important to note that the model suggests that there exists a voter-
activist equilibrium at each election, conditional on the various param-
eters of the model. However, this does not necessarily imply that the
sequence of equilibria will vary smoothly over time. Each equilibrium is
determined by candidate calculations over the relative “value” of “ac-
tivist” and “disaffected” coalitions (and thus by the con¬gurations of the
utility functions of such actors). These parameters may shift dramatically
as the result of exogenous social and economic shocks.
In the rest of this chapter, the implications of this model will be used
to provide an interpretation of the past century of partisan shifts in

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

6.9 partisan strategies
The purpose of this section is to demonstrate how the dynamics implied
by the model in the ¬rst half of this chapter can explain the switching
of party positions in the United States between 1896 and 2000. Between
1960 and 2000, party differences along the economic cleavage line were
replaced by a social cleavage between the two parties. And between 1896
and 1960, the Reconstruction social cleavage was ultimately replaced by
the New Deal economic cleavage. The net result of both transformations
was the ¬‚ipping of party positions described in the introduction.

The Decline of Race and the Rise of Class: 1896“1960
While the period of 1960 to 2000 saw the undoing of the New Deal
partisan cleavage, the period from 1896 to 1960 saw the creation of that
economic cleavage from a system that had been primarily divided over the
issue of race, civil war, and reconstruction. After the Civil War, the Repub-
licans were most clearly associated with the successful emancipation of
slaves, and the less successful Reconstruction of the South on an integrated
basis. The Republican coalition was united on a social policy dimension.
Some Republicans, like Lincoln, were already pro-business advocates, but
some Republicans were emancipationists who had joined the party for
social liberal reasons only. After the Civil War, the Republican Party con-
tinued to include liberal supporters of Reconstruction, new black voters,
and what historian Eric Goldman calls “patrician dissidents,” who were
also known as “goo-goos” and “mugwumps,” who resisted the increasing
in¬‚uence of industrialists in the Republican Party (Goldman 1956: 16).
The two wings of the Republican Party had no strong differences of
opinion on social policy; they did, however, have markedly different posi-
tions on economic policy. They were kept in alliance by frequent electoral
“wavings of the bloody ¬‚ag””references to the losses of the Civil War
that served to reaf¬rm the Civil War party alignment. As a result, the
Reconstruction Republican position was socially liberal, but relatively
neutral on the economic dimension.
The Democrats had to bear the burden of the Civil War legacy; they
also took the racially conservative position that allowed the gradual re-
imposition of white supremacy in the South. They represented largely
rural interests and opposed the tariff, but Democrats, like Republicans,
included both pro-business and anti-business forces. Cleveland was a
Democrat who gave aid and comfort to business forces. He supported

Architects of Political Change

the gold standard, kept tax burdens low for corporations, and fought to
keep the government out of economic life, especially where it might bene¬t
low-income groups. He used federal troops to help the Pullman Company
put down its desperate workers during their famous strike, which made
fellow Democrat William Jennings Bryan charge, “Cleveland might be
honest, but so were the mothers who threw their children in the Ganges”
(Goldman 1956, 33). Because each party combined economic liberals and
conservatives, the cleavage line between the parties was best thought of as
a horizontal line separating the party of Reconstruction from its socially
conservative opponent.
Who were the “disaffected” voters in the Reconstruction Era? Both
economic liberals and economic conservatives had reason to feel inad-
equately represented in the Reconstruction party alignment. Economic
liberals had necessarily agrarian interests, who formed various agrarian
interest groups, culminating in the Populist Party, to ¬ght what they saw
as the stranglehold of eastern banks and railroads on the pocketbook of
the small farmers.
The creation of the Republican majority after 1896 carried with it a
long-term opportunity for the Democratic Party. After 1896, Republicans
were increasingly identi¬ed with a pro-business economic position, and
associated with a hard money principle (Bordo and Rockoff, 1996), as
represented in Figure 6.3.
As that issue became more salient, the Bull Moose Progressives under
Theodore Roosevelt were in an increasingly disaffected position. Because
the Republicans had made the pro-business position their de¬ning po-
sition, the Progressives™ advocacy of economic regulation and socially
liberal positions (social welfare agencies, public health, pure food and
drugs) made them the obvious target for Democratic cooptation.
Up until the 1920s, the Democrats had been primarily a rural party,
and therefore an unacceptable alternative for the largely urban Progres-
sives. But during the twenties, Al Smith began to push the Democratic
Party to take positions that appealed to Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and
the new urban working class. Al Smith, and in particular, FDR, were more
persuasive wooers of urban liberal Republicans than Bryan had ever been.
The 1928 Democratic convention marked the beginning of a new Demo-
cratic coalition that combined the Bryan populists (Region A) with urban
liberals (Region D).
Although Roosevelt was elected in 1932 as a moderate, and tried for
two years to maintain a centrist position, the potential for third-party can-
didates drove him to ¬nish the economic radicalization of the Democratic

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964



Black voters


Liberal A B Conservative
Partisan cleavage line,
Civil War to 1896

Populists Conservatives


Partisan cleavage
line, 1896


Figure 6.3. Policy shifts by the Republicans and Democrats, 1860“1896.

Party after 1934. Roosevelt viewed the principal threat to his re-election
as being a leftist candidate such as Huey Long. In the Second New Deal,
in the two years before his re-election in 1936, Roosevelt moved decisively
leftward to forestall such a third-party attempt. In the process, he con-
solidated the economic orientation of the New Deal coalition, bringing
the liberals from region D into alliance with the rural southern Populists
of Bryan. The New Deal pulled such old Bull Moosers as Harold Ickes
out of the Republican Party and into the administration (Fine, 1976: 392),
where they were perfectly comfortable. In addition, they pulled black vot-
ers, urban ethnic minorities and other Republican constituencies, making
the Democrats the majority party for the middle third of the twentieth
The cleavage line between the two parties became, for the ¬rst time
since before the Civil War, a vertical, class-de¬ned boundary (as in Figure
6.4). Huckfeldt and Kohfeld (1989) document that during the New Deal,
class was a good predictor of partisan voting in a way that it was not

Architects of Political Change



Socially Liberal
Partisan cleavage line,

Partisan cleavage line,
New Deal

Liberal A B Conservative





Figure 6.4. Policy shifts by Republicans and Democrats, 1896“1932.

before or after the New Deal. The difference between the proportion
of working class whites voting Democratic and Republican peaked in
1948 at about forty-four percentage points. By maintaining the New Deal
coalition, Democrats were able to win every presidential race from 1932
to 1964, with the exception of those won by Eisenhower, the World War
II hero.
However, the price of being a majority coalition in a two-dimensional
world is having to deal with the huge policy differences within differ-
ent elements of the party. Just as the Republicans of 1912 had faced
a split between the Progressive Republicans and the conservatives, the
class solidarity of the Democrats did not eliminate the social policy dif-
ferences between Southern segregationists and Northern liberals. The
contradictions were already apparent in 1948 when Hubert Humphrey™s
riveting call for racial justice divided the Democratic Party. These con-
tradictions presented the inevitable opportunity for Republicans to put
together a counter-coalition by further pivoting the cleavage line between
the parties.

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

The Decline of Class and the Rise of Race: 1960 to 2000
The New Deal coalition put together by Franklin Roosevelt necessitated
the suppression of the social policy differences between the racial con-
servatives in the solid South and the racial liberals of the North. This
coalition had faltered in 1948, when the Democratic Party split over a
civil rights plank and the Dixiecrats ran as a third party. But in 1960, the
coalition had been patched up, and the parties were still primarily differ-
entiated by economic ideology and class-based voting. As late as 1962,
most of the public (55.9 percent) saw no difference between the two par-
ties on civil rights, and the rest were evenly split (Petrocik, 1981: 135“8).
In April, 1963, it was still only 4 percent of the population that felt that
civil rights was the most important issue (Gallup, 1972). It is no wonder
that Kennedy felt he might be re-elected the next year by the old New
Deal coalition, including the solid South.
However, after 1962, civil rights leaders succeeded in their policy
of destabilization”breaking up the New Deal coalition by forcing the
Kennedy administration to choose the side of federal law or state seg-
regation in schools, inter-state travel, and voter registration. After the
success of the Birmingham protest in May, 1963, Kennedy became the
¬rst Democratic president to ask Congress for a strong civil rights bill.
By October of the same year, after the Birmingham bombings, Wallace
standing in the doorway at Tuscaloosa, and the March on Washington,
the Gallup Poll revealed that 52 percent of the public felt that civil rights
was the most important issue facing the country (Gallup, 1972). Lyndon
Johnson was convinced that he had to have a civil rights success in order
to lead the Democrats to victory in 1964 (Kotz, 2005). By his actions
in 1964 and 1965, he reached out to civil rights activists and brought
them de¬nitively into the Democratic Party. The New Deal coalition was
In Figure 6.2, the move from Da to Da is not a move toward the
center, and can be taken to represent the change of Democrat position
implemented by Johnson. Notice the logic of this ¬‚anking move. A move
toward the center would have alienated the traditional New Deal Demo-
cratic activists”the economic liberals of labor and the consumer move-
ment. However, an upward move gave no sign of alienating the party
activists most concerned about economic policy. The Democrats™ labor
allies were solidly behind the Civil Rights Act. The upward move conse-
quently succeeded in keeping economic liberals who were inclined toward
social liberalism. At the same time, an upward shift earned the loyalty

Architects of Political Change

of the previously disaffected civil rights workers, who were to become
a principal component of the post-1964 Democratic activist cadre, in a
new, post-realigment activist equilibrium. In terms of the model, Johnson
was able to earn the valence bene¬ts of both economic and social liberal
The shift in the public™s perception of the Democratic Party created a
huge landslide in 1964. Not only did Johnson win the White House by
a margin of 16 million votes, but the Democrats added 2 seats to their
majority in the Senate and 48 seats in the House. No member of the House
who had voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act was defeated in either party.
Half the Northern members who had voted against the bill were defeated
(Branch, 1998: 522). Civil rights activists had succeeded in their goal
of forcing the Democratic Party off of its New Deal equilibrium. Table
A6.1 (of the Appendix to this chapter) shows that Johnson took over 60
percent of the popular vote, against his socially conservative opponent,
Barry Goldwater. Goldwater only won 52 electoral college seats (from six
The success of the civil rights activists in forcing the Democratic Party
to take a stronger civil rights position had the kind of disequilibrating
effect that Aldrich (1995) hypothesized, on the New Deal party activist
equilibrium. For as more civil rights activists became involved in politics,
it encouraged more social liberals to become activists, and drove social
conservatives out of the Democratic Party. It moved the center of grav-
ity of the Democratic activists upward. These social activists had other
social concerns as well as civil rights, which became an agenda for the
Democratic Party: women™s rights, civil liberties, consumerism, environ-
As Aldrich hypothesized, this also had implications for Republican ac-
tivists. Let us consider the kind of person who had been a New Deal-era
Republican activist. Presumably, the activist™s ideal point is near Ra (in
Figure 6.2). In addition, however, she is probably more intensely con-
cerned with economic policy than with social policy, because for decades
it had been only the economic dimension that differentiated the two par-
ties. The party differential on social policy had been zero. This is indicated
in Figure 6.2 by the ellipsoidal indifference curve for the Republican ac-
From Goldwater through Reagan, the strategy of Republican candi-
dates was to build a coalition along the contract curve between eco-
nomic and social conservatives. Barry Goldwater in 1964 clearly served

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

to destabilize the party activist equilibrium. In July, 1964, Goldwater
was one of only eight non-southern Senators to vote against the Civil
Rights Act. A few weeks later, the Republican National Convention re-
fused to seat the traditionally black southern delegates to the Republican
convention and nominated Goldwater to be the Republican candidate.
It was a disruptive shock to the GOP and to the public™s perception of
what the GOP stood for (Carmines and Stimson, 1989; Branch, 1998:
As just noted, Goldwater won the electoral votes of ¬ve states of the
Deep South in 1964, four of them states that had voted Democratic for 84
years (Califano, 1991: 55). He forged a new identi¬cation of the Republi-
can Party with racial conservatism, reversing a century-long association of
the GOP with racial liberalism. This in turn opened the door for Nixon™s
“Southern strategy” and the Reagan victories of the 1980s.
The effects are shown in Tables A6.2 and A6.3 (in the Appendix to this
chapter). These give the state-by-state presidential results for the Nixon,
Humphrey, Wallace election of 1968 and the Nixon, McGovern election
of 1972.
A small initial success with social conservatives could lead to a positive
response by some social conservative activists; their arrival in the party
could alienate some of the social liberals within the Republican Party, who
would become less active; this in turn would lead to a closer identi¬cation
with social conservativism, which would encourage still more social con-
servatives to become involved (Aldrich, 1995: 184“5). At the same time,
social liberals might be increasingly tempted to become activists for the
Democratic Party. As Carmines and Stimson (1989) argue, the “Goldwa-
ter gamble” worked for the Republican party because “it did break the
tie of southern whites to the Democratic party” (188).
The success of Goldwater in 1964 induced Wallace to run as an In-
dependent in 1968. Wallace attempted to mobilize voters on the newly
salient social policy dimension. Wallace™s campaign earned votes not only
from southern whites but northern social conservatives who were con-
cerned about riots, court-ordered busing, the sexual freedom of the six-
ties, protests against the Vietnam War, and the breakdown of traditional
values. Many of the same Milwaukee Polish Catholics who had voted
for Kennedy over Humphrey in the 1960 Wisconsin primary voted for
Wallace over Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election.
In a biography of George Wallace, Carter (1995) argues that Wallace
and the voters he represented were a continuing obsession with Nixon

Architects of Political Change

during his ¬rst term (1969“1972). During this time, Nixon engineered
various rapprochements with Wallace individually while appealing to po-
tential Wallace voters with a strong “law and order” position, and espe-
cially an anti-bussing policy stance. The result was a smashing triumph of
Nixon and the “Southern Strategy” over McGovern in 1972. As Tables
A6.2 and A6.3 show, Nixon took 56 percent of the popular vote in 1968
and 61 percent in 1972. Although Wallace only took six states in 1968, his
vote was substantial in many southern states (Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Virginia, North and South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas). This
result paved the way for Nixon™s overwhelming win in 1972.
By the decade of the 1970s, class had been largely displaced as the
organizing principle of two-party competition in the United States:

Race con¬‚ict [was] the major new element in the party-system agenda. The most
visible difference between the party coalitions that entered the turbulent 1960s
and those that exited in the middle 1970s is to be found in their new-found
distinctiveness on race-related policy issues.
(Petrocik, 1981: 148“9)

While Reagan was successful in keeping the coalition of economic and
social conservative activists in the Republican camp, the tensions between
the two were increasingly apparent during the eighties. Hostility between
southern populists and eastern business interests are an ancient tradition
in the United States. In a GOP that attempted to keep these two warring
camps in the same party coalition, economic issues are as divisive as racial
issues were for the New Deal Democrats. The old Rockefeller Republi-
cans, especially the social liberals, felt increasingly alienated within their
own party. Fortune magazine, the vehicle for big business, ran a front
cover suggesting what they heard as the message from the Republican
party: “GOP to Business: Drop Dead?” Inside, the article went on: “In
a political arena dominated by small-business populists, anti-government
conservatives, and the religious right, corporate America™s the odd man
out”mistrusted, resented, impotent” (Kirkland, 1995: 50).
In this article, big business announced that they increasingly felt them-
selves the “disaffected” voter in a party alignment based more and more
on social policy.
It was this fault line in the Republican Party that Clinton was able to
take advantage of in the 1990s. Many cosmopolitans, while historically
loyal to the Republican Party, were frightened of a GOP that was hostile
to af¬rmative action and abortion rights, and aggressively pushed tradi-
tional social values over economic conservatism. Clinton™s actions in the

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964



DUKAKIS, Partisan cleavage line,
GORE 1996

Liberal Conservative

BUSH Sr. and Jr.
Partisan cleavage line,
Reagan years




Figure 6.5. Estimated positions of presidential candidates, 1976“2000.

mid-nineties”especially welfare reform, a major crime bill, support for
NAFTA, a balanced budget”upset many of his liberal supporters, but
made many upper-income social liberals comfortable voting for him in
1996. Clinton was acknowledged to have moved right on the economic
dimension, while preserving the Democrat™s position of social liberalism
(see Figure 6.5). Clinton made it legitimate for a professional suburban
homeowner with a six-¬gure income, concerned about taxes, crime, and
welfare fraud, to vote Democratic.
The special prosecutor™s investigations into the Clinton sex scandals
had the perverse (for the Republicans) effect of further helping to drive
group C cosmopolitans into the Democratic fold. While much of the new
Republican Party was convinced that the public would be as outraged as
they were by the Clinton scandal, it became apparent that the Moral
Majority was in fact a minority. Social liberal Republicans and Inde-
pendents did not want to be a part of Starr™s sexual inquisition. The
impeachment issue became a de¬ning moment for the Republican Party

Architects of Political Change

in much the same way that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a de¬ning
moment for the Democrats: It identi¬ed clearly which voters were now
vulnerable to the opposition party.
The extent of the realignment is shown by the shift in voting behav-
ior on the part of cosmopolitans and populists. Cosmopolitans voting
for Democratic congressional candidates rose from 46 percent in the
seventies to 65 percent in the decade of the nineties. The percentage of
low-income moral traditionalists, whom we would identify as populists,
voting for Democratic congressional candidates dropped from 63 per-
cent in the 1970s to 29 percent in the 1990s. The fact that this statistic
is for congressional voting rather than presidential voting, and over ¬ve
elections in each decade, suggests that the trend is broader, deeper, and
more lasting than simply a feeling based on Clinton or other particular
presidential candidates. Low-income social conservatives have left the
New Deal coalition for the Republican Party, and high-income social
liberals are increasingly comfortable voting for the Democratic Party
(Smith, 2002).
A number of political scientists have documented how partisan voting
has evolved since 1960. According to Huckfeldt and Kohfeld (1989),
party voting has been characterized since the New Deal by “the decline of
class and the rise of race” (2). They point out that the difference between
the proportion of blacks and whites voting Democratic rose sharply from
less than 25 percent in 1960 to more than 50 percent in 1968 (3). This
trend has continued: Democratic presidential candidates have never won
more than 47 percent of the white vote, or less than 83 percent of the
black vote, since 1976 (Connelly, 2000: 4). Even a winning candidate like
Clinton in 1996 won only 43 percent of the white vote, but 84 percent of
the black vote. Social liberals are now the core of any winning Democratic
coalition, and in 2000, social conservatives were the core of the winning
Republican coalition.

6.10 choices, credible commitment, and
path dependence
Figure 6.2 causes one to wonder whether a Republican candidate has a
choice about appealing to disaffected social activists of either the liberal or
the conservative persuasion. Could Nixon, for example, have appealed to
civil rights activists rather than to Wallace supporters in 1972? Was there
an equally viable “Northern Strategy” that would have substituted for his
“Southern Strategy” in that year? After all, in 1957, Nixon had hoped to

Johnson and the Critical Realignment of 1964

earn support from black voters by positioning the Republican Party as a
backer of a civil rights bill (Mann, 1996).
Candidates are, however, constrained by recent historical events and
these introduce an asymmetry into the calculations of party candidates. In
1972, for example, Nixon could not credibly make a claim for pro“civil
rights activists. That option had already been ruled out by the public™s
awareness of the early changes in the cadre of Republican activists in the
1964 national convention, and their selection of Goldwater as the can-
didate in that year. As recently as 1962, the public felt that Republicans
were equally as likely to see that African Americans got fair treatment
in jobs and housing (21.3 percent for Republicans, 22.7 percent for
Democrats, 55.9 seeing no difference in the two parties). But by late 1964,
the Democrats had already earned the civil rights advocacy reputation by
56 percent to 7 percent, with 37 percent seeing no difference (Petrocik,
1981: 135“8). A determined Republican could at best have neutralized the
civil rights issue, without constructing a coalition. But by 1972, Nixon
was able to show the way for two decades of Republican victories by
giving the civil rights advocacy honors to the Democrats, while earning
the support of social conservative activists.
Similarly, in the mid-nineties, Clinton was under a great deal of pressure
from liberals in his party to restore the Democratic Party to the economic
liberalism of the New Deal. However, in the mid-nineties, the Democratic
Party had irrevocably lost a vital component of the successful New Deal
coalition: the South. As a result, Clinton had only one choice; he could
keep the Democratic Party as a minority party, isolated in the upper-left
hand quadrant of Figure 6.5, or he could reach out to the cosmopolitans
of the upper-right hand corner. Appealing to southern and other social
conservatives was no longer credible for the party that had supported
civil rights and af¬rmative action for thirty years”but reaching out to
cosmopolitans via a more moderate economic policy was viable. Figure
6.5 makes a guess about Clinton™s policy position in the elections of 1992
and 1996, together with the likely positions of some of the presidential
candidates over the last twenty-¬ve years.

6.11 concluding remarks
The “positions” of the parties in the minds of voters are largely in¬‚uenced
by the policy preferences of party activists, who are not vote maximiz-
ers but policy driven. Party activists can, as Aldrich has argued, achieve
equilibrium positions vis-a-vis each other, and from that position act as

Architects of Political Change

a signi¬cant constraint on the ability of candidates to locate themselves
in winning positions (Aldrich, 1983a,b, 1995; Aldrich and McGinnis,
Nevertheless, candidates sometimes seize on forces outside their ac-
tivist cadres to enhance their short-term prospects for winning elections.
Disaffecteds, especially disaffecteds organized in leading third parties, are
destabilizing features that give party candidates the opportunity to dis-
rupt activist equilibria, as they maneuver to win against the opposing
party™s position. Striving to put together a coalition that adds a group of
mobilized disaffecteds to the cadre of current party activists, candidates
create what appears in two-dimensional ideological space as a “¬‚ank-
ing” move. Roosevelt™s consolidation of an economically liberal New
Deal coalition, Nixon™s southern strategy to woo social conservatives,
and Clinton™s move to the center in economic policy while appealing to
social liberals, all constitute such ¬‚anking coalition building efforts.
The net effect of these periodic ¬‚anking movements, over the course of
a century and a half, has been to move from primarily a social, to an eco-
nomic, to once again a social cleavage between the two parties. By 2000,
however, the positions of the two parties are reversed from where they
were in 1860. The Democratic Party of 2000, like the post-Reconstruction
Republicans, was a party advocating racial equality and urban tolerance,
and the greater use of the national government to protect those ends.
The Republican Party of 2000, like the post-Reconstruction Democrats,
advocated states™ rights, allied with traditional Protestant values.
In order to understand the pace and mechanisms of party realignment,
it is important to recognize that parties are not unitary actors”they are
coalitions of party activists and candidates, with differing goals. Party
activists are a force for stability; they have chosen to be party activists
because of the existing party alignment, and they discourage by the pos-
sibility of their exit any substantial changes in party ideology. The desire
of candidates to construct winning coalitions is, on the other hand, a
dynamic force. When disaffected activists have enough to offer, party
candidates may seek to establish coalitions on the contract curve between
existing and disaffected voters.
This implies a kind of “structurally stable” dynamic in which, in a
given election, candidates are partially (but not wholly) constrained by
the preferences of existing party activists. They may seek to reposition
themselves so as to bring in disaffected voters and activists; this causes a
recon¬guration of the party activist equilibrium in response to the strate-
gic coalition formation of both parties.

Table A6.1 The Election of 1964

Percentage of Vote Electoral College

State LBJ Goldwater Other LBJ Goldwater Other

D.C. 85.50 14.50 “ 3 “ “
Massachusetts 76.19 23.44 .37 14 “ “
Hawaii 78.76 21.24 “ 4 “ “
Maine 68.84 31.16 “ 4 “ “
Minnesota 63.76 36.00 .24 10 “ “
New York 68.56 31.31 .13 43 “ “
W. Virginia 67.94 32.06 “ 7 “ “
Connecticut 67.81 32.09 .11 8 “ “
Michigan 66.70 33.10 .20 21 “ “
Pennsylvania 64.92 34.70 .38 29 “ “
Washington 61.97 37.37 .66 9 “ “
California 59.11 40.79 .09 40 “ “
Wisconsin 62.09 37.74 .17 12 “ “
Illinois 59.47 40.53 “ 26 “ “
New Jersey 65.61 33.86 .54 17 “ “
New Hamp. 63.89 36.11 “ 4 “ “
Oregon 63.72 35.96 .32 6 “ “
Missouri 64.05 35.95 “ 12 “ “
Vermont 66.30 33.69 .01 3 “ “
Ohio 62.94 37.06 “ 26 “ “
Alaska 65.91 34.09 “ 3 “ “
S. Dakota 55.61 44.39 “ 4 “ “
Maryland 65.47 34.53 “ 10 “ “
Delaware 60.95 38.78 .27 3 “ “
Montana 58.95 40.57 .48 4 “ “
Colorado 61.27 38.19 .54 6 “ “
Iowa 61.88 37.92 .20 9 “ “
Texas 63.32 36.49 .19 25 “ “
N. Mexico 59.03 40.42 .54 4 “ “
Nevada 58.58 41.42 “ 3 “ “
N. Dakota 57.97 41.88 .15 4 “ “
Indiana 55.98 43.56 .47 13 “ “
Kentucky 64.01 35.65 .33 9 “ “
Utah 54.71 45.29 “ 4 “ “
Wyoming 56.56 43.44 “ 3 “ “
Arizona 49.45 50.45 .10 “ 5 “
Kansas 54.09 45.06 .85 7 “ “
Tennessee 55.50 44.49 “ 11 “ “
Virginia 53.54 46.18 .28 12 “ “
S. Carolina 41.11 58.89 “ “ 8 “
Oklahoma 55.75 44.25 “ 8 “ “
Nebraska 52.61 47.39 “ 5 “ “
Rhode Island 80.87 19.13 “ 4 “ “
Florida 51.15 48.85 “ 14 “ “
Idaho 50.92 49.08 “ 4 “ “
Arkansas 56.06 43.41 .53 6 “ “
N. Carolina 56.15 43.85 “ 13 “ “
Louisiana 43.19 56.81 “ “ 10 “
Georgia 45.87 54.12 .02 “ 12 “
Mississippi 12.86 87.14 “ “ 7 “
Alabama “ 69.45 30.55 “ 10 “
Total 61.05 38.47 .48 486 52 “
Table A6.2 The Election of 1968

Percentage of Vote Electoral College

State Humphrey Nixon Wallace Other Humphrey Nixon Wallace Other

D.C. 81.82 18.18 “ “ 3 “ “ “
Mass. 63.01 32.89 3.73 .37 14 “ “ “
Hawaii 59.83 38.70 1.47 “ 4 “ “ “
Maine 55.30 43.07 1.62 “ 4 “ “ “
Minnesota 54.00 41.46 4.34 .20 10 “ “ “
New York 49.74 44.29 5.28 .68 43 “ “ “
W. Virginia 49.60 40.78 9.62 “ 7 “ “ “
Connecticut 49.48 44.32 6.10 .10 8 “ “ “
Michigan 48.18 41.46 10.04 .32 21 “ “ “
Pennsylvania 47.59 44.02 7.97 .42 29 “ “ “
Washington 47.23 45.12 7.44 .21 9 “ “ “
California 44.74 47.82 6.72 .72 “ 40 “ “
Wisconsin 44.27 47.89 7.56 .29 “ 12 “ “
Illinois 44.15 47.08 8.46 .31 “ 26 “ “
New Jersey 43.97 46.10 9.12 .82 “ 17 “ “
New Hamp. 43.93 52.10 3.76 .21 “ 4 “ “
Oregon 43.78 49.83 6.06 .32 “ 6 “ “
Missouri 43.74 44.87 11.39 “ “ 12 “ “
Vermont 43.53 52.75 3.16 .56 “ 3 “ “
Ohio 42.95 45.23 11.81 .02 “ 26 “ “
Alaska 45.28 42.65 12.07 “ “ 3 “ “
S. Dakota 41.96 53.27 4.76 “ “ 4 “ “
Maryland 41.94 43.59 14.47 “ “ 10 “ “
Delaware 41.61 45.12 13.28 “ “ 3 “ “
Montana 41.59 50.60 7.29 .52 “ 4 “ “
Colorado 41.32 50.46 7.50 .72 “ 6 “ “
Iowa 40.82 53.01 5.69 .49 “ 9 “ “
Texas 39.88 41.14 18.97 .01 “ 25 “ “
N. Mexico 39.74 51.84 7.86 .56 “ 4 “ “
Nevada 39.29 47.46 13.25 “ “ 3 “ “
N. Dakota 38.23 55.94 5.75 .08 “ 4 “ “
Indiana 37.99 50.29 11.45 .28 “ 13 “ “
Kentucky 37.65 43.79 18.29 .27 “ 9 “ “
Utah 37.07 56.49 6.73 .06 “ 4 “ “
Wyoming 35.51 55.76 8.73 “ “ 3 “ “
Arizona 35.02 54.78 9.56 .64 “ 5 “ “
Kansas 34.72 54.84 10.19 .25 “ 7 “ “
Tennessee 34.02 37.85 28.13 “ “ 11 “ “
Virginia 32.49 43.36 23.64 .51 “ 12 “ “
S. Carolina 32.30 38.09 29.61 “ “ 8 “ “
Oklahoma 31.99 47.68 20.33 “ “ 8 “ “
Nebraska 31.81 59.82 8.36 “ “ 5 “ “
Rhode Island 31.78 64.03 4.07 .12 “ 4 “ “
Florida 30.93 40.53 28.53 “ “ 14 “ “
Idaho 30.66 56.79 12.55 “ “ 4 “ “
Arkansas 30.36 30.77 38.87 “ “ “ 6 “
N. Carolina 29.24 39.51 31.26 “ “ 12 1 “
Louisiana 28.21 23.47 48.32 “ “ “ 10 “
Georgia 26.75 30.40 42.83 .01 “ “ 12 “
Mississippi 23.02 13.52 63.46 “ “ “ 7 “
Alabama 18.72 13.99 65.86 1.42 “ “ 10 “
Total 35.50 55.90 8.60 “ 191 301 46 “
Table A6.3 The Election of 1972

Percentage of Vote Electoral College

State McGovern Nixon Other McGovern Nixon Other

D.C. 78.10 21.56 .34 3 “ “
Massachusetts 54.20 45.23 .57 14 “ “
Hawaii 37.52 62.48 “ “ 4 “
Maine 38.51 61.49 “ “ 4 “
Minnesota 46.07 51.58 2.35 “ 10 “
New York 41.18 58.51 .31 “ 41 “
W. Virginia 36.39 63.61 “ “ 6 “
Connecticut 40.13 58.57 1.31 “ 8 “
Michigan 41.81 56.20 1.98 “ 21 “
Pennsylvania 39.13 59.11 1.76 “ 27 “
Washington 38.64 56.92 4.44 “ 9 “
California 41.54 55.00 3.47 “ 45 “
Wisconsin 43.72 53.40 2.87 “ 11 “
Illinois 40.51 59.03 .46 “ 26 “
New Jersey 36.77 61.57 1.66 “ 17 “
New Hamp. 34.86 63.98 1.16 “ 4 “
Oregon 42.33 52.45 5.23 “ 6 “
Missouri 37.61 62.13 .26 “ 12 “
Vermont 36.47 62.66 .87 “ 3 “
Ohio 38.07 59.63 2.30 “ 25 “
Alaska 34.62 58.13 7.25 “ 3 “
S. Dakota 45.52 54.15 .32 “ 4 “
Maryland 37.36 61.26 1.38 “ 10 “
Delaware 39.18 59.60 1.22 “ 3 “
Montana 37.85 57.93 4.23 “ 4 “
Colorado 34.59 62.61 2.80 “ 7 “
Iowa 40.48 57.61 1.92 “ 8 “
Texas 33.25 66.23 .52 “ 26 “
N. Mexico 36.53 61.00 2.47 “ 4 “
Nevada 36.32 63.68 “ “ 3 “
N. Dakota 35.79 62.07 2.14 “ 3 “
Indiana 33.34 66.11 .55 “ 13 “
Kentucky 34.77 63.37 1.86 “ 9 “
Utah 26.39 67.64 5.97 “ 4 “
Wyoming 30.47 69.01 .51 “ 3 “
Arizona 30.38 61.64 7.99 “ 6 “
Kansas 29.50 67.66 2.84 “ 7 “
Tennessee 29.75 67.70 2.56 “ 10 “
Virginia 30.12 67.84 2.03 “ 11 1
S. Carolina 27.72 70.78 1.49 “ 8 “
Oklahoma 24.00 73.70 2.30 “ 8 “
Nebraska 29.50 70.50 “ “ 5 “
Rhode Island 46.81 53.00 .19 “ 4 “
Florida 27.80 71.91 .29 “ 17 “
Idaho 26.04 64.24 9.72 “ 4 “
Arkansas 30.69 68.87 .44 “ 6 “
N. Carolina 28.89 69.46 1.65 “ 13 “
Louisiana 28.35 65.32 5.32 “ 10 “
Georgia 24.65 75.04 .32 “ 12 “
Mississippi 19.63 78.20 2.18 “ 7 “
Alabama 25.54 72.43 2.04 “ 9 “
Total 37.53 60.69 1.76 17 520 1
Keynes and the Atlantic Constitution

7.1 introduction —
A constitution is a system of rules and beliefs that governs the behavior of
a society or family of societies. The heart of a constitution incorporates
the fundamental core belief, or a set of beliefs essential to the consti-
tution. The “Atlantic Constitution” is the family of constitutions (both
written and implicit) of the member states of the “Atlantic Coalition”
together with those rules and understandings that govern interstate be-
havior. A quandary for a constitution is a situation where the core belief
is destroyed, either because of an empirical disjunction or because of a
philosophical or theoretical inconsistency. The key episodes in British and
U.S. history (circa 1668, 1776, 1787, 1860 and 1964) discussed in this
book can be seen as quandaries for their respective constitutions.
I contend that the periods leading up to 1944 and 1982 were also as-
sociated with constitutional quandaries. The quandary of 1944 was gen-
erated by the incompatibility of the economic equilibrium theorem and
the events of the Depression. I suggest that the key insight of Keynes™
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) was
his denial of the relevance of the equilibrium theorem for asset markets.
This insight allowed Keynes to conceive of a new core belief, involving a
recon¬guration of both citizen rights and economic ef¬ciency.
The post-1944 “Keynesian synthesis” may have perverted Keynes™ in-
sight. This macroeconomic synthesis led to a retreat to an economic equi-
librium perspective that proved, by the 1970s, to be invalid. The resulting
quandary was solved, in a sense, in the early 1980s by the creation of

This chapter is based on Norman Scho¬eld, “The Heart of the Atlantic Constitution:
International Economic Stability, 1919“1998,” Politics and Society 27 (1999): 173“
215, by permission of Sage Publications Ltd.

Keynes and the Atlantic Constitution

a new core belief associated with the de-coupling of politics from the
operation of the international market.
Recent events in this market suggest that the Atlantic Constitution
faces a new quandary over whether or not it is necessary to regulate the
international ¬‚ow of capital. The duration of the previous two quandaries
(1929“1944 and 1968“1982) suggests that serious attention needs to be
devoted to the possibility of a global market “cascade.” The avoidance of
such a cascade would seem to require an adaptation of the current heart
of the Atlantic Constitution.
Chapter 8 indicates why recent results in game theory suggest that a
version of the chaos hypothesis is valid. The chapter also attempts to
give a clearer idea of core beliefs and the heart, using notions from both
cooperative game theory and the philosophy of science.

7.2 ordering the political economy
For before constitution of Sovereign Power . . . all men had right to all things;
which necessarily causeth Warre. (Hobbes, 1960 [1651]: 234)

We all live out our lives within some system of social rules. For those of
us in the developed political economies, many of these rules are founded
in a constitution, whether formally written down, as in the United States,
or implicit, and based on precedent and practice, as in Britain. Just as
with citizens, so with corporations and countries. Corporate economic
entities carry out their activities in an environment that also has explicit
and implicit rules. Even countries engaged in economic or military war
acknowledge implicit rules that provide the context for negotiation over
cooperation, con¬‚ict, and surrender.
The very general system of implicit and explicit rules holding for citi-
zens within states, for corporations in the global economy, and for coun-
tries in the world polity, I shall term a constitution. I shall use the phrase
“The Atlantic Constitution” to refer to the family of constitutions of
the developed economies, principally within the OECD, together with
the overall system of rules that govern economic and political behavior
within this group.
It is my contention that this Atlantic Constitution has evolved over
many centuries, and that crucial elements of it have been constructed by
“design.” The purpose of a constitution is to mitigate the consequences
of anarchy, by Hobbes called “Warre,” within which “the life of man [is]
solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short” (Hobbes, 1960: 186).

Architects of Political Change

Many of the “contractarian” philosophers of this century have too
readily assumed that Hobbes™ solution, the great Leviathan, is the state,
with its ability to regulate, tax, and enforce the contract between citizens
and the state. They have concentrated on the ability of a “predatory”
state to violate this contract, and on the capacity of the citizens to punish
such a violator. Other “anarchic” philosophers have pursued the sugges-
tions of Michael Polanyi (1958) and Friedrich von Hayek (1973), contra
Hobbes, that “spontaneous order,” in the absence of a state, is possible,
indeed generic.1 The more technical arguments of the “anarchists” have
been framed in the context of game theoretic equilibria arising out of
the framework of the “prisoner™s dilemma” interpretation of Hobbesian
I agree with the philosophers that Hobbes™ calculus of war and co-
operation is a profound insight into the basis of the Constitution. I shall
argue, however, that while the Atlantic Constitution is indeed a Hobbesian
Leviathan, it is not restricted simply to the contractarian basis of relations
between citizen and state. Nor is it solely a consequence of a “spontaneous
evolution” of a system of law and habits of behavior. Fundamental com-
ponents of it have been constructed “by Art” (to use Hobbes™ phrase)”
that is, by architects of change. These architects have added or adjusted
components of the constitution in response to problems or dilemmas that
have arisen in the world. Indeed these problems have often been perceived
and displayed in terms of Hobbesian “Warre” by philosophically-inclined
Cassandras. I call these prophets of chaos.
A quandary for a constitution is a situation in which prophets of chaos
have cast doubt on one of the core beliefs of the constitution. Recent
events in the international economic system suggest that we currently
face a quandary over the degree to which it is necessary to regulate the
international ¬‚ow of capital. Professional economists, politicians, fund
managers, and the like, were deeply concerned about the contagion of
monetary instability that become apparent in developing markets, partic-
ularly in Asia, in Russia, and in Latin America in the late 1990s.
However, a powerful core belief, which I term the economic equilib-
rium hypothesis, is still almost universally accepted among international
policy makers. This core belief came into being in a strong form in the early

See, for example, Gray (1984: 4) where he suggests that von Hayek synthesized the

philosophies of Mach, Popper, Wittgenstein, and Michael Polanyi into a coherent

Keynes and the Atlantic Constitution

1980s as a consequence of a partial resolution of the obvious quandary
of that time. This earlier quandary of the late 1970s was brought into
focus by various prophets of chaos, including Beer, Brittan, and Olson.2
These authors, using the tools of Public Choice Theory, led us to view
politicians as potentially predatory, in need of regulation. It was argued
that the framework of Keynesian macroeconomics allowed such preda-
tory politicians to engage in strategies which, while rational in terms of
electoral support, were economically irrational in the long run.
In response, the architects of change of the early 1980s based their
solution to this quandary on the argument that it was impossible to in-
duce “unnatural” growth by political intervention.3 In particular, the
policy initiatives of that time, initiated by the United States and Great
Britain, were based on the hypothesis that markets left to themselves
will tend to an “optimal” equilibrium. Those countries that chose to
weaken market rigidities would bene¬t from greater productive ef¬-
ciency, and the resulting lower obstacles to trade would enhance economic
It is evident that the acceptance of this core equilibrium belief has had
remarkable consequences. Trade and growth have, until recently, been
sustained, and the United States and Britain, especially, have obtained
results that are quite at odds with the pessimistic predictions made in the
1970s and 1980s.4
The success of these policies during the last decade or so has meant that
policy makers are unwilling to consider “global” economic changes that
are not consistent with the equilibrium hypothesis. Moreover, because of

See Beer (1982); Brittan (1977); and Olson (1982a,b). In a sense, these prophets of

political chaos derived their arguments from the fundamental impossibility theorem
of social choice. See also Arrow (1951).
See, for example, Friedman (1968). The argument fundamentally depends on the

economic equilibrium theorems (Arrow and Debreu, 1956; Arrow and Hahn, 1971).
In July 1999, annual GDP growth rates in the United States and Britain were 4.0

percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, compared with the Euro area of 2.4 percent.
(The Euro area comprises the member states of the European Union who committed
to currency union in January 2002.) Unemployment rates were 4.3 percent (U.S.),


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