Synopses & Reviews
How do Democratic and Republican party leaders react after their party has lost a presidential election? Is there a pattern of response to defeat that reflects the distinctive cultures of the two parties? This book answers these questions by examining how the two national party organizations have responded to presidential election defeats between 1956 and 1993.
Drawing on party documents, interviews with party officials, and contemporary accounts, Philip Klinkner provides detailed case studies of opposition party politics. He shows that Republican national committees have reacted to losses by making organizational changes to improve campaign technology and fundraising and that losing Democrats have sought to refine or make more democratic their internal procedures for selecting delegates to the national convention or for choosing presidential candidates. Klinkner suggests that the reasons for these reactions stem from the historical development of the parties. The organizational response of the Republican party is the result of its long-term relationship with business, its homogeneity and hierarchical structure, and its minority party experience. The Democrats' emphasis on participation and representation for its constituent elements is based on its characteristic composition of social and economic out-groups, its heterogeneity and decentralization, and its tradition as the majority party.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -264) and index.