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Why Do the Republicans Win the White House More Often than the Democrats?
David J. Smyth and Susan Washburn Taylor
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 22, No. 3, Eisenhower and Presidential Elections (Summer, 1992), pp. 481-491
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27550992
Page Count: 11
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Since the end of the New Deal era the Republicans have been much more successful than the Democrats at winning presidential elections. We offer an explanation of this in terms of the partisan theory. The partisan theory posits that Democrats and Republicans will follow different macroeconomic policies in accordance with the wishes of their partisans. The Democrats target unemployment rather than inflation; the Republicans target inflation rather than unemployment. We analyze the effect on the economy of the two parties acting in accordance with the partisan theory. If the Republican party is in office, as election time nears, the Republicans will be well placed to retain the White House. If Democratic party is in office it will be difficult for the party's presidential nominee to be elected. Empirical evidence from the Eisenhower presidency onwards supports the partisan model, but not for the Bush presidency. Our analysis implies that the next time the Democratic party wins the White House it should not follow its usual partisan macroeconomic policy because such a policy fails to reduce unemployment permanently and raises the inflation rate. If the Democrats want to be reelected they should follow the macroeconomic policies usually adopted by the Republicans.
Presidential Studies Quarterly © 1992 Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress