Dynamics of American Political Parties

Paperback (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 75%)
Est. Return Date: 08/01/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 31%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $4.00   
  • New (8) from $8.98   
  • Used (11) from $4.00   


In Dynamics of American Political Parties, Mark D. Brewer and Jeffrey M. Stonecash examine the process of gradual change that inexorably shapes and reshapes American politics. Parties and the politicians that comprise them seek control of government to implement their visions of proper public policy. To gain control, parties need to win elections. Winning elections requires assembling an electoral coalition that is larger than that crafted by the opposition. Parties are always looking for opportunities to build such winning coalitions, and opportunities are always there, but they are rarely, if ever, without risk. Uncertainty rules and intraparty conflict rages as different factions and groups within the parties debate the proper course(s) of action and battle it out for control of the party. Parties can never be sure how their strategic maneuvers will play out, and even when it appears that a certain strategy has been successful, party leaders are unclear about how long the apparent success will last. Change unfolds slowly, in fits and starts.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Mark D. Brewer and Jeffrey M. Stonecash have written an important book. It seeks to fill the rather large niche designed by James Sundquist with his Dynamics of the American Party System, and, like him, they provide a rather tight historical development from (in their case) the Civil War through the 2008 election. However, their work is actually richer than Sundquist’s. It is richer in theory, with a less rigid framework for understanding political dynamics (and a more plausible one, with lots of feedback, driven by uncertainty). It is also richer in substance, especially in tying the voter more firmly to these dynamics and in better integrating Congress and the presidency. All in all, this is a major achievement.”
– John Aldrich, Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science, Duke University

“Dynamics of American Political Parties is a welcome addition to the literature on American national politics. By focusing on the efforts of Democratic and Republican politicians to manage complex changes to maximum advantage, Mark D. Brewer and Jeffery M. Stonecash succeed in giving readers a highly valuable overview of America’s two-party system.”
– Earl Black, Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Political Science, Rice University

“This book answers E. E. Shattsneider's famous question, ‘what does change look like?’ as it applies to the social bases of the major political parties in the United States. This cogent account puts party change in historical context and then brings it up to date, right down to ‘change’ among Democrats and Republicans in 2008.”
– John C. Green, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron

“This book stands out for its clear appreciation of the historical foundations of the party system, the linkage of this history to contemporary party struggles and divisions, and its savvy and balanced account of current party politics. It is arguably a must-read for anyone who needs a cogent account of change and continuity in our party system.”
– John R. Petrocik, University of Missouri

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521708876
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,043,855
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark D. Brewer is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. His research focuses on partisanship and electoral behavior at both the mass and elite levels, the linkages between public opinion and public policy, and the interactions that exist between religion and politics in the United States. Brewer is the author of Relevant No More? The Catholic/Protestant Divide in American Politics and Party Images in the American Electorate, and he is coauthor of Diverging Parties: Realignment, Social Change, and Party Polarization; Split: Class and Cultural Divides in American Politics; and Parties and Elections in America, 5th edition. He has published articles in Political Research Quarterly, Political Behavior, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Jeffrey M. Stonecash is Maxwell Professor in the Department of Political Science, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He researches political parties, changes in their electoral bases, and how these changes affect political polarization and public policy debates. His recent books are Class and Party in American Politics (2000), Diverging Parties (2003), Parties Matter (2005), Split: Class and Cultural Divides in American Politics (2007), Political Polling, 2nd edition (2008), and Reassessing the Incumbency Effect (2008). He has done polling and consulting for political candidates since 1985.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables

1 Democracy, Representation, and Parties 1

2 Overview: Social Change and Shifting Party Bases 16

3 Taking Shape: Party Coalitions in the Post-Bellum Nineteenth Century 33

4 Republican Ascendancy and Democratic Efforts to Respond, 1896-1928 48

5 Tables Turn: The New Deal Era and Democratic Dominance, 1932-1948 66

6 The Democratic Drive to the Great Society 81

7 Republicans: Reasserting Conservative Principles and Seeking a Majority 104

8 The Struggle of Democrats to Interpret Change and Respond 145

9 George Bush and Further Polarization 166

10 The 2008 Election and Its Interpretation 184

11 Parties and the Pursuit of Majorities 200

Bibliography 211

Index 233

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)