The Great Alignment

Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump

Alan I. Abramowitz

View Inside Price: $35.00

June 19, 2018
216 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
17 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300207132

The most in-depth analysis to date of America’s current political polarization and the forces that led to a Trump presidency

Alan I. Abramowitz has emerged as a leading spokesman for the view that our current political divide is not an illusion but a key feature of the American cultural landscape. The polarization of the political and media elites, he argues, arose and persists because it accurately reflects the state of American society. Here, he goes further: the polarization is unique in U.S. history. Today’s party divide reflects an unprecedented alignment of many different divides: racial and ethnic, religious, ideological, and geographic.

Abramowitz shows how the present partisan alignment arose out of the breakup of the old New Deal coalition; introduces the most important difference between our current era and past eras, the rise of “negative partisanship”; explains how this phenomenon paved the way for the Trump presidency; and examines why our polarization will likely grow deeper. This statistically based analysis shows that “racial anxiety” is by far a better predictor of support for Donald Trump than any other factor.

Alan I. Abramowitz is Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University and a regular contributor to Sabato’s Crystal Ball. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

“Abramowitz's lucid analysis makes a major contribution to our understanding of the most salient and, to many, troubling phenomenon in current American politics.”—Gary Jacobson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Diego

"Alan Abramowitz is dead-on in his analysis of the deep polarization that characterizes American society. A majority of voters are dug in, with their party choice reinforced by race, gender, age, social issues, ideology, religion, even their location in the U.S. Some analysts suggest well-meaning but superficial solutions, but Abramowitz is rightly skeptical. Like it or not, polarization is probably going to define our politics for many years to come."—Larry J. Sabato, Director, UVA Center for Politics

"Nobody is better at analyzing and documenting American public opinion than Alan Abramowitz. In this invaluable book, he shows with precision, power and clarity what has happened to transform American politics over the past decades. The consequences are real, dramatic—and terrifying."—Norman Ornstein, coauthor of One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not-Yet-Deported 
The Disappearing Center
Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy

Alan I. Abramowitz

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