From Publishers Weekly
Politics by the numbers is the modus operandi of the Black brothers, twins who teach political science (Earl at Rice University, Merle at Emory University). Having focused on politics in the Southern states in three previous academic collaborations, the Blacks now divide the United States into five regions (South, Northeast, Pacific Coast, Midwest, Mountains/Plains), and explain how and why national electoral politics have become a close contest between two parties, Democrats and Republicans, that cannot claim permanent majority status. Most of the election data they examine comes from presidential elections; their analysis of races for the House of Representatives and the Senate come toward the end and are out of kilter with the results of the November 2006 House and Senate elections. Still, the Blacks' generalizations deserve consideration. They believe the Democrats are quite likely to retain advantages in the Northeast and Pacific Coast regions, while the Republicans are quite likely to win the South and Mountains/Plains regions in the 2008 election. That leaves the Midwest as the swing region. (The Blacks define the Midwest as 10 states, including Kentucky and West Virginia.) Though the book will probably fascinate politics junkies, the emphasis on statistics rather than lively anecdotes means rough going for qualitative rather than quantitative minds. 34 charts and tables. (Mar.)
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Recent presidential elections clearly show that the U.S. has no national political consensus. Instead, regional politics are cobbled together to produce a tentative consensus that barely holds until the next election, leaving Democrats and Republicans locked in a power struggle. The Blacks, twin brothers and professors at Emory and Rice, examine how regional differences account for the swings in national politics. Dividing the nation into five regions--Northeast, South, Midwest, Mountains/Plains, and Pacific Coast--the Blacks explore the social and cultural trends of the past 50 years that have shaped the regions and given them their political leanings. They also explore the factors that have contributed to the dominance of Democrats in the Northeast and Pacific Coast, Republican realignment in the Mountains/Plains and the South, and the struggle for both to dominate the Midwest. The Blacks focus on the ethnic and racial, religious and ideological differences within and among the regions that partly account for their political leanings and how those differences will continue to affect national politics for the foreseeable future. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved