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Divided They Fell Paperback – October 1, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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In Divided They Fell, Ronald Radosh argues that the Democratic Party began unraveling because of its turn toward liberalism in the 1960s. That liberalism, argues Radosh, the Senior Okin Professor of History at Adelphi University, "ignored and ridiculed the conservative desires of white ethnic working-class Americans who once voted Democratic as a matter of ritual." Radosh traces the roots of this demise to the 1964 Democratic National Convention during which white Mississippi delegates walked out after support was shown for the Freedom Democratic Party. With evidence and anecdote, he follows this thread of liberalism through to the presidency of Bill Clinton. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Radosh, who calls himself a center-right Democrat, contends that the Democratic Party has shifted to the left in the 1990s, that it is bereft of ideas and has collapsed beyond repair because it fails to reflect post-Cold War America's support for fiscal and personal responsibility, cultural conservatism and a more limited social safety net. An Adelphi University history professor and author of The Rosenberg File: A Search for the Truth, Radosh sees the Democrats' slow decline as a tragedy of overreaching, whether in the mid-1960s when, in his view, disastrous overreactions to the civil rights movement led to the party's takeover by guilty white liberals and race-conscious black militants; or in Clinton's failed attempt to erect a vast, coercive health care bureaucracy. His hero is New Deal Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, whose loss of the 1972 presidential nomination to leftish George McGovern caused the party's center to erode. This trenchant, tightly argued political history of the unraveling of the New Deal-cemented liberal-labor coalition that sustained the Democratic Party for decades is sure to be controversial. Translation and U.K. rights: Simon & Schuster.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684863626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684863627
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Radosh traces the roots of the shift within the Democratic party from one of shared community and mutually acknowledged ethics, for the empowerment of those in need, to one of class warfare cant and socialist dreams. Just as Ronald Reagan averred that he didn't leave the Democratic party, it left him, Radosh offers his concurrence. Radosh assigns the outset of the shift as having its roots in the McGovern candidacy for president in the 1972 election campaign. He foreshadows this event with musings on the 1960's and the highpoint of its madness, the 1968 riots in Chicago at the Democratic party convention. For reference an interested reader should be encouraged to read "the Dark Side of the Left" by Richard Ellis, "America's 30 year's war" by Balint Vazsonyi, and "the Long March" by Roger Kimball. These books also traverse the same timeline as "Divided They Fell" and offer a meaty stew for the cogitative mind.
Radosh is a former red-diaper-baby from Queens, NY who suffered the "shock of recognition", re Sidney Hook in "Out of Step", during this transformative process. Radosh points out how the party has lost its former core constituency while morphing into a party of grievance for varied and sundry, one issue obstructionist, special interest groups. The entire process has been driven by progressive-socialist utopian intellectuals who, unable to create a communist style revolution in America, have engaged in what Radosh would agree to and what Roger Kimball refers to as the long march through the institutions. Radosh recounts these measures in sequence providing his readers with continuity and substance. He leads us along the way to understanding more fully why America is the politically divided nation that it is today. He's a very conversational writer who takes his readers seamlessly through events without Pretension or bombast. I enjoyed the book immensely and you will to.
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Format: Paperback
In 2000, Al Gore carried on a tradition of Democratic Presidential nominees that dates back to 1964: he failed to garner a clear majority of the popular vote (ie., 51% or better). Throughout this 36-year period, only Jimmy Carter was able to amass even 50% of the vote, a rather tepid showing, coming as it did, less than two years after the national nightmare of Watergate and Ford's wildly unpopular pardon of Nixon.
All in all, it's been a precipitous come down for the proud party of FDR and Truman and JFK.
Ronald Radosh opens a window on the problems that have plagued the national Democratic Party these many years. In an incisive history penned prior to the 1996 election, he traces the demise of the Democratic majority to the Party's capture by Far Left, or New Politics, factions that would dominate its agenda from the late 1960s to the advent of Clinton in the early 1990s.
Radosh's book is an excellent chronicle of a Party that lost touch with its core constituencies, and as it moved increasingly to placate highly vocal Radicals on its Left fringe, encouraged the en masse defection of Middle Class voters, some of whom have never returned.
The increasing Far-Left tilt of the Democractic Party in the 1970s and 1980s engendered a realignment that continues to affect the political landscape two decades later.
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Format: Paperback
It seems an appropriate time to read and review a book such as this which writes an intriguing, thoughtful, and perhaps premature obituary for the Democratic Party. The book, which covers the period between 1964 and 1996, is written by someone sympathetic to the Democratic Party but unsympathetic to the radical (and Baby Boomer-led) “New Democrats” that led the party from majority status to a collection of narrowly focused interest groups that only wins when it is able to either temporarily mask its true colors (Carter, Clinton, and Obama) or take advantage of overreach and scandal by Republicans.

The book comes to the sensible conclusion that American politics needs a change in its political system to provide a place for a party of fiscal responsibility, cultural conservatism and a limited social net. Where the book is at its fiercest and most profound, though, is in demonstrating the intensely anti-democratic and anti-pragmatic radicalism of the “New Democratic” movement, including its preference for ideological rigidity and a refusal to compromise its “purity” for the sake of gradual and meaningful gains. The end result is a picture of a generation and mindset gone awry that has validity beyond the mere scope of this well-researched and feisty book.

Whether you wish to mourn the decline of the Democrats or dance on the grave, this is a worthwhile book to read. One can better understand the reason why Pelosi and Obama are the face of present Democrats and why Blue Dog Democrats are perennially endangered by electoral trends. That sort of insight is worth a read.
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Format: Hardcover
It is 1996. Will Bill Clinton be re-elected. We know the answer now and we know that Democratic Party gains arguably were forfeited by personal misconduct on the part of the President. What we don't know is why the party was so weak between 1964 and 1996, a thirty-two year span. This book purports to tell us what happened. Ronald Radosh identifies himself as a registered member of the party who is right to center.
Mississippi had led the nation in beatings, lynching, and mysterious disappearances. African Americans were registered to vote there at the lowest rate in the United States. The Mississippi Free Democratic Party was prepared to take over the state's delegation to the 1964 national convention. The Freedom Democrats were pledged to support the convention's expected choice, Lyndon Johnson.
The arguments favoring seating of the Freedom Democrats gave rise to the New Left. The fight between the two Mississippi delegations and Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, Joseph Rauh, and Walter Reuther foreshadowed splits within the Democratic Party over Vietnam and the break-up of the old liberal-labor coalition. The Voting Rights Act passed in 1965. The danger to the Democratic Party was that demands of the most radical adherents would come to dominate its ranks.
At a Conference on the New Politics held at the Palmer House in Chicago, Martin Luther King called for a new coalition of conscience. One observer said that the convention was transformed to a morality play on race relations. Allard Lowenstein, for one, is profiled. The reform of the Democratic Party in 1972 was undertaken by New Politics types. The author takes us through problems created by the Vietnam War, the candidacies of McGovern, McCarthy, Mondale, and Dukakis, and the presidencies of Clinton and Carter.
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