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By Paul Frymer

I do not often write on-line e-book experiences, yet after studying the seven overwhelmingly confident Amazon studies of "Uneasy Alliances" I felt that somebody had to offer a fact payment. i want to preface my very own very adverse assessment via asserting that i love a few of Frymer's different scholarship, particularly at the tensions inherent within the New Deal coalition. i believe very otherwise approximately "Uneasy Alliances." here's a direct citation from an e-mail I wrote to a graduate institution classmate almost immediately after examining it for the 1st time:

"But conversing of Frymer, have you ever learn the ebook of his assigned for [Professor X's] classification? i presumed it was once lovely poor. It starts off with a believable theoretical thought -- that of curiosity crew 'capture' -- after which makes a multitude of historical past in attempting to use it on American politics. My response to it used to be so opposed from the instant i began analyzing that I worry i could have ignored out on its redeeming features, which it should have given that [Professor X] assigned loads of it."

This quote nonetheless primarily sums up my response to the ebook. Frymer desires to blame the two-party method for the oppression of African american citizens within the united states, yet his argument just isn't convincing. he is taking an enticing thought ("capture") and attempts to shoe-horn race family members in the USA into his theoretical framework. It does not healthy. Blacks were not oppressed as the events colluded to close out their political calls for; they have been oppressed simply because their calls for for political and social equality weren't supported via the majority of white american citizens till good into the 20 th century. it's the distribution of personal tastes within the American citizens that used to be accountable, now not the constitution of the celebration method. And it wasn't blacks' "capture" via the Republican celebration that allowed their renewed oppression after Reconstruction; it was once the truth that blacks have been violently disfranchised within the South -- a final result that was once behind schedule till the top of the nineteenth century due to Republicans' partisan curiosity in safeguarding the balloting rights of blacks, their most powerful supporters within the zone. There are related logical (not to say authentic -- the booklet is filled with actual error) issues of Frymer's account of the civil rights period and past. in brief, "Uneasy Alliances" makes a glib and superficially beautiful argument, however it is essentially unconvincing to a person with an intensive seize of the background of race and politics within the usa. For a extra convincing if slightly much less sweeping account of this subject, learn Richard Valelly's the 2 Reconstructions: The fight for Black Enfranchisement (American Politics and Political economic system sequence) as an alternative.

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Sample text

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man) Party scholars contend that two-party competition ensures the representation of a wide variety of groups, both the “advantaged” and “disadvantaged,” in national politics. Not only does competition between the parties provide voters with the opportunity to alter the power balance, but the opposition party ought to have an incentive to incorporate groups that find themselves excluded or disaffected from the party in power. ” In particular, national party leaders have often followed perceived electoral incentives to “capture” and ignore African American voters, even when such votes had the clear, short-term potential of proving the difference between victory and defeat in a given election.

61 INTRODUCTION 23 sult, exert pressure on their behalf. Efforts to create more effective pressure organizations within the existing party system have failed, however, because of the nation’s electoral structures and its incentives. Given that the modern-day party system was designed to keep potentially divisive black interests off the table, electoral reforms are imperative. With reforms, parties—no longer forced to pursue the median voter—will have more freedom to ignore majority-based strategies.

See Stephen Elkin, “Political Structure, Political Organization, and Race,” Politics and Society 8 (1978). 53 54 INTRODUCTION 21 cal identity and behavior of these voters. If parties attempt to moderate their platform in order to be more electorally competitive, they communicate to voters a moderate position. They will mobilize moderate voters, educate moderate voters, and pursue policy agendas with moderate voters in mind. This does not offer a great deal of hope to those outside the middle, let alone those groups historically disadvantaged and in dire need of substantive representation.

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