The Great Alignment Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump Alan I. Abramowitz

Publication date:
14 Aug 2018
Yale University Press
216 pages: 210 x 140mm
17 b-w illus.

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.