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Describe the political coalition that led to the domination of Republicans during the...

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calebbar | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:20 PM via web

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Describe the political coalition that led to the domination of Republicans during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 16, 2012 at 7:30 PM (Answer #1)

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This coalition has many parts.  It is based on the idea that the majority of Americans are, at heart, relatively conservative both economically and socially.

On the social side, this coalition was based on the "religious right."  These were evangelical Christians.  They were also joined by conservative Catholics and by Mormons.

On the economic side, the coalition was based both on "Reagan Democrats" and on wealthier people.  The Reagan Democrats were largely blue collar workers who disliked taxes while the wealthier people were more of "true believers" in the Republican ideas of laissez-faire capitalism.

The coalition, then, was a coalition of blue collar white workers (particularly men) along with conservative Christians and wealthier people.

The Republican coalition that led to this dominance was made up of traditional Republican constituencies and of "Reagan Democrats." 

The traditional Republican constituencies were mainly well-off people who believed in economic conservatism.  The Republicans were seen as the party of the rich.  They were also the party that was most "hawkish" in terms of foreign policy.  Republicans came to dominate, however, as they picked up "Reagan Democrats."  These were largely middle class and blue collar whites.  Many of them were in the South and the Midwest.  These voters gravitated to the Republican Party because of its opposition to things like welfare and its support for traditional social values.  

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