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Beyond the New Deal: Ideological Differences between Eleven State Democratic Parties, 1956-1980

Joel Paddock
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 1990), pp. 181-190
DOI: 10.2307/448512
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/448512
Page Count: 10
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Beyond the New Deal: Ideological Differences between Eleven State Democratic Parties, 1956-1980
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Abstract

Ideological differences between eleven state Democratic parties are examined during a period in which the New Deal party system was declining. The study addresses two central questions: (1) to what extent did state Democratic parties address the supposedly divisive non-economic issues of the 1960s and 1970s? and (2) were non-economic issues actually more divisive than economic issues, as much of the literature suggests? Democratic platforms from eleven states were content analyzed. A scale was developed to measure the nature and degree of intraparty ideological differences. Two major patterns of intraparty differences were identified: a division over civil rights before 1964, and a split over social and foreign policy issues between 1968 and 1976. Non-economic issues were indeed more divisive, but they tended to be minor parts of the state party platforms. At a time when the national Democratic party apparently suffered from a conservative countermobilization against the social and cultural changes of the 1960s and early 1970s, many state Democratic organizations avoided the most divisive issues on the political agenda.

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