Thomas Ferguson and


In the White House, among journalists, and for many political practitioners, the idea of a major “political realignment” that might dramatically reshape the face of American politics remains as tantalizing as ever. But among historians and political scientists, no one needs a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing. The long-venerated “realignment” approach to election analysis developed by V. O. Key, Walter Dean Burnham, and others is falling increasingly out of fashion.1 One reason for this is internal to the theory. No realignment theorist ever defended social astronomy, in the sense of expecting realignments to come and go like comets or solar eclipses. But the theory’s communicants certainly believed their pioneering statistical studies. These indicated that since the 1820s, American politics had moved in an irregular, but broadly cyclical rhythm of roughly one generation. Realignment theorists held that this rhythm originated from the slow decay of existing “party systems” in the face

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Ferguson2005ThomasFA, title={Thomas Ferguson and}, author={Thomas Ferguson and Jian Zhi Chen}, year={2005} }