New Deal coalition

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New Deal coalition
Prominent membersFranklin D. Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Henry A. Wallace
Harry S. Truman
Alben W. Barkley
Lyndon B. Johnson
Estes Kefauver
John F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Adlai Stevenson II
Hubert Humphrey
Eugene McCarthy
James Farley
Wayne Morse
Edmund Muskie
W. Averell Harriman
Pat Brown
FounderFranklin D. Roosevelt
Succeeded byProgressive Party (1948)
Dixiecrats (1948)
IdeologyEarly phase:
Big tent
Social liberalism
Pro-New Deal
Later phase:
Modern liberalism
Pro-civil rights
Political positionCenter-left[1]

The New Deal coalition was an American political coalition that supported the Democratic Party beginning in 1932. The coalition is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs, and the follow-up Democratic presidents. It was composed of voting blocs who supported them. The coalition included labor unions, blue-collar workers, big city machines, racial and religious minorities (especially Jews, Catholics, and African Americans), white Southerners, and intellectuals. Besides voters the coalition included powerful interest groups: Democratic Party organizations in most states, city machines, labor unions, some third parties, universities, and foundations. It was largely opposed by the Republican Party, the business community, and rich Protestants.[2] In creating his coalition, Roosevelt was at first eager to include liberal Republicans and some radical third parties, even if it meant downplaying the "Democratic" name.[3] By the 1940s, the Republican and third-party allies had mostly been defeated. In 1948, the Democratic Party stood alone and survived the splits that created two splinter parties.

The coalition made the Democratic Party the majority party nationally for decades. Democrats lost control of the White House only in 1952 and 1956 during the broadly popular Eisenhower presidency. They typically controlled both Houses of Congress before the 1990s. The coalition began to weaken with the collapse of big city machines after 1940, the steady decline of labor unions after 1970, the bitter factionalism during the 1968 election, the turn of White Northern ethnics and Southern Whites toward conservatism on racial issues, and the rise of neoliberalism under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, with its opposition to regulation.[4][5][6]



The Great Depression in the United States began in 1929 and was often blamed on Republicans and their big business allies. Republican president Herbert Hoover opposed federal relief efforts as unwarranted, believing that market actors and local governments were better suited to address the situation.[7] As the depression worsened, voters became increasingly dissatisfied with this approach and came to view President Hoover as indifferent to their economic struggles.[7] Franklin D. Roosevelt won a landslide in 1932 and spent his time in office building a powerful nationwide coalition and keeping his partners from squabbling with each other.[8]

Over the course of the 1930s, Roosevelt forged a coalition of liberals, labor unions, Northern religious and ethnic minorities (Catholic, Jewish,and Black), and Southern Whites. These voting blocs together formed a majority of voters and handed the Democratic Party seven victories out of nine presidential elections (1932–1948, 1960, 1964), as well as control of both houses of Congress during all but four years between the years 1932–1980 (Republicans won small majorities in 1946 and 1952). Political scientists describe this realignment as the "Fifth Party System", in contrast to the Fourth Party System of the 1896–1932 era that proceeded it.[9][10]

City machines had major roles to play. Most important, the New Deal coalition had to carry entire states, not just cities. The largest possible landslide was needed, and the city machines came through in 1940, 1944, and 1948. They kept the voters by providing federal jobs aimed at the unemployed—the Civil Works Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps (where the boys' wages went to the unemployed father), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and especially the Works Progress Administration (WPA). A representative transition came in Pittsburgh, which had long been a Republican stronghold with a promise of prosperity. The worsening depression enabled the Democrats to convince some Republicans to switch parties while mobilizing large numbers of ethnics who had not voted before. Democrats capitalized on Roosevelt's popularity to win the 1933 mayoral race. The WPA then played a critical role in the consolidation of the Democratic machine. By 1936 the Democrats had a majority in the registration rolls for the first time since the Civil War. That November FDR won 70% of the Pittsburgh vote.[11]

Roosevelt moves left[edit]

The president in 1933 wanted to bring all major groups together, business and labor, banker and borrower, farms and towns, liberals and conservatives. The escalating attacks from the right, typified by the American Liberty League led by his old friend Al Smith spoiled the dream. Sensing how quickly public opinion was becoming more radical, Roosevelt moved left. He attacked big business.[12][13] His major innovations now were social security for the elderly, the WPA for the unemployed, and a new labor relations act to support and encourage labor unions.[14] Running for reelection in 1936, Roosevelt personalized the campaign and downplayed the Democratic Party name. In contrast to his 1933 position as a neutral moderator between business and workers, he now became a strong labor union supporter. He crusaded against the rich upper class, denouncing the "economic royalists". He worked with third parties on the left: the Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party, the Wisconsin Progressive Party, and the American Labor Party (ALP) in New York state.[15] In New York City he collaborated closely with Republican Fiorello La Guardia, against the conservatives of Tammany Hall who had controlled city hall. La Guardia was the candidate of the ad-hoc City Fusion Party, winning the mayoralty in 1933 and reelection in 1937 and 1941. La Guardia was also the nominee of the American Labor Party (ALP), a union-dominated left-wing group that supported Roosevelt in 1936, 1940,and 1944. The role of the ALP was to funnel socialists who distrusted the Democratic Party into the New Deal coalition. In 1940 La Guardia chaired the nationwide Committee of Independent Voters for Roosevelt; in return, the president put him in charge of the Office of Civilian Defense.[16] He retired and was replaced as mayor in 1945 by William O'Dwyer, the Tammany candidate.

WPA jobs and Democratic party organizations[edit]

Roosevelt's top aide in distributing patronage was James Farley, who served simultaneously as chair of the New York State Democratic Party, chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Postmaster General in FDR's cabinet, as well as FDR's campaign manager in 1932 and 1940.[17] He handled traditional patronage for the Post Office. He helped with the new agencies aimed at the unemployed, especially the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, as well as other job agencies. He helped state and local Democratic organizations set up systems to select likely candidates for the federal payroll. In the 1940s most of the big city machines collapsed, with a few exceptions such as Chicago and Albany, New York.[18]

Being a voter or a Democrat was not a prerequisite for a relief job. Federal law specifically prohibited any political discrimination regarding WPA workers. Vague charges were bandied about at the time.[19] The consensus of experts is that: “In the distribution of WPA project jobs as opposed to those of a supervisory and administrative nature politics plays only a minor in a comparatively insignificant role."[20] However those who were hired were reminded at election time that FDR created their job and the Republicans would take it away. The great majority voted accordingly.[21]

Decline and fall[edit]

After the end of the Great Depression around 1941, the next challenge was to keep Democratic majorities alive. It seemed impossible after the GOP landslide in 1946.[22] Journalist Samuel Lubell found in his in-depth interviews of voters after the 1948 presidential election that Democrat Harry Truman, not Republican Thomas E. Dewey, seemed the safer, more conservative candidate to the "new middle class" that had developed over the previous 20 years. He wrote that "to an appreciable part of the electorate, the Democrats had replaced the Republicans as the party of prosperity."[23][24]

In 1952 and 1956 Republican Dwight Eisenhower had been able to temporarily peel several elements of the coalition into the Republican column, notably some Northern farmers and manual workers and middle-class voters in the Border South. In the 1960 election, John F. Kennedy and his running mate Lyndon Johnson won back Southern voters.[25]

After the smashing reelection victory of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, the heavily Democratic Congress passed a raft of liberal legislation. Labor union leaders claimed credit for the widest range of liberal laws since the New Deal era, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the War on Poverty; aid to cities and education; increased Social Security benefits; and Medicare for the elderly. The 1966 elections were an unexpected disaster, with defeats for many of the more liberal Democrats. According to Alan Draper, the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Action (COPE) was the main electioneering unit of the labor movement. It ignored the White backlash against civil rights, which had become a main Republican attack point. The COPE assumed falsely that union members were interested in issues of greatest salience to union leadership, but polls showed this was not true as the members were much more conservative. The younger ones were much more concerned about taxes and crime, and the older ones had not overcome racial biases.[26] Labor unions began to lose their members and influence in the 1970s as the economy became more service-oriented and the proportion of manufacturing jobs declined. Companies began relocating manufacturing jobs to Sun Belt states, free of labor union influences, and many Americans followed suit. As a result, union membership steadily declined. Labor unions were painted as corrupt, ineffective, and outdated by the Republican Party.[27]

During the 1960s, issues as civil rights and racial integration, the Vietnam War and the counterculture of the 1960s, affirmative action, and large-scale urban riots further split the coalition and drove many Whites away, signalling that the coalition started to fall. The War in Vietnam split the liberal coalition into hawks (led by Johnson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey) and doves (led by Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy).[28][29] In addition after the John F. Kennedy assassination, the coalition lacked a leader of the stature of Roosevelt. The closest was Lyndon B. Johnson (president 1963–1969), who tried to reinvigorate the old coalition but was unable to hold together the feuding components, especially after his handling of the Vietnam War alienated the emerging New Left.[30][31] Besides Johnson, another who came closest was Robert Kennedy, the likely Democratic candidate in 1968. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, in the space of just two months, seem to have been an almost fatal blow to the New Deal coalition prospects.[citation needed]

Reagan Era and the Southern Strategy[edit]

During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–1989), Republicans took control of prosperity issues, largely because of the poor performance of Jimmy Carter (1977–1981) in dealing with stagflation. Reagan's new economic policy of neoliberalism held that regulation was bad for economic growth and that tax cuts would bring sustained prosperity.[32] In 1994 the Republicans swept control of Congress for the first time since 1952. The response of Democratic President Bill Clinton was: “We know big government does not have all the answers. We know there's not a program for every problem....The era of big government is over.”[33] Clinton went on to cut New Deal-inspired welfare programs and repeal some of the New Deal's restrictions on banks.[34][35] Clinton largely accepted the neoliberal argument, thereby abandoning the New Deal coalition's claim to the prosperity issue.[36]

While most Northerners supported the original civil rights movement, many conservative blue collar voters disliked the goal of racial integration and became fearful of rising urban crime. The Republicans, first under Richard Nixon, then later under Reagan, were able to corral these voters with promises to be tough on law and order. The votes of blue-collar workers contributed heavily to the Republican landslides of 1972 and 1984, and to a lesser extent 1980 and 1988.[37][38] At the presidential level, the GOP made inroads among urban, middle-class White Southerners as early as 1928 and later in 1952. Starting in 1980, Reagan pulled together both middle-class and working-class White Southerners. At the state and local level the GOP made steady gains in both White groups until reaching majority status in most of the South by 2000.[39]

Scholars debate exactly why the New Deal coalition collapsed so completely. Most emphasize a Southern Strategy by Republicans to appeal to a backlash against Democratic national support for civil rights.[40] However, a minority of scholars consider a demographic change in addition to race. They argue that the collapse of cotton agriculture, the growth of a suburban middle class, and the large-scale arrival of Northern migrants outweighed the racist factor. Both viewpoints agree that the politicization of religious issues important to White Southern Protestants (i.e. opposition to abortion and LGBT rights) in the "Bible Belt" made for a strong Republican appeal.[41]

Components in 1930s[edit]

Third Parties[edit]

Roosevelt wanted a coalition that was broader than just the Democratic Party. He admired old Progressives now in the GOP, such as George W. Norris of Nebraska and Senator Robert M. La Follette Jr. of Wisconsin.[42] He disliked the conservativism of Wisconsin Democrats and preferred to work with the Progressive Party there.[43] The Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota made an informal alliance with FDR and supported him in 1936; the Minnesota Democrats were a weak third party.[44] The White House supported the Farmer-Labor Party (FLP) in Minnesota. Roosevelt had an informal deal with Governor Floyd B. Olson whereby the FLP would get some of the patronage, and in turn the FLP would work to block a third-party ticket against Roosevelt in 1936.[45] The radical third parties declined rapidly after 1936 and no longer played a part in the New Deal coalition.[46]

Pressure from the Left[edit]

As the economy began to improve in 1933–34, people loudly demanded faster action and pushed the New Dealers to the left. Labor strikes grew to large scale, especially in California and Minnesota. Textile workers launched the largest strike in national history in 1934.[47] Senator Huey Long in Louisiana and radio priest Charles Coughlin, had both been active Roosevelt supporters in 1932. They now broke away and set up national appeals to millions of supporters, with talk of a third party to the left of Roosevelt in 1936. Long was assassinated but his followers did set up the Union Party that polled 2% of the vote in the 1936 United States presidential election.[48] In California, Upton Sinclair, a famous novelist and socialist won the Democratic nomination for governor, on a left-wing ticket in 1934. His EPIC program promised to end poverty and unemployment by a setting up state-owned factories to hire the unemployed, and by increasing pensions for the elderly. Critics said it would flood the state with unemployed from everywhere else. Sinclair had a pension plan of his own and refused to endorse the Townsend Plan which had a strong following. The Republican candidate endorsed the Townsend Plan and won the movement's support. Sinclair was narrowly defeated by a combination of defections of prominent Democrats—including Roosevelt—as well as a massive smear campaign using Hollywood techniques and a blackout whereby all the state's newspapers opposed him and refused to cover his ideas. The Republican leadership realized the California electorate was moving left so it went along. Its 1934 platform endorsed not just the Townsend Plan but also the 30 hour work week, unemployment relief, and collective bargaining for all workers. The GOP wanted to win votes but in the process it legitimized a social welfare state as a bipartisan ideal.[49] Consequently, the California experience helped push New Deal towards social welfare legislation, especially the WPA and Social Security. Sinclair's campaign gave aspiring Democratic leaders a boost, most notably Culbert Olson, who was elected governor in 1938.[50] Needing an alternative to the New Deal's Social Security system, many Republicans around the country endorsed the Townsend Plan.[51][52]

Class ethnicity, and religion[edit]

In the North, class and ethnicity proved decisive factors in the New Deal coalition as shown by polling data in presidential and congressional elections from 1936 through 1968. Blue-collar workers average 63% Democratic. White collar workers, representing the middle class, averaged 43% Democratic. In terms of religion, northern White Protestants were 42% Democratic, White Catholics were 68% Democratic. Social class and religious affiliation added had separate effects that could add together, so that Catholic blue-collar workers were 76% Democratic, while Protestant blue-collar workers were only 52% Democratic. Throughout the period better educated higher income middle-class voters were more Republican so that the average Northern Protestant white collar voter was 69% Republican, while a Catholic counterpart was only 41% Republican.[53] A Gallup poll of listees in Who's Who in early 1936 showed that only 31% planned to vote for Roosevelt.[54] Nationwide, Roosevelt won 36% of the votes of business and professional voters in 1940, 48% of lower-level white-collar workers, 66% of blue-collar workers, and 54% of farmers.[55] The strongest component of the New Deal coalition was the ethnic groups: Here is the distribution of party identification in 1944:

Party identification
in Northern cities, 1944
Democratic Independent Republican
All 32% 32% 36%
Irish 52% 27% 21%
Black 46% 20% 34%
Jewish 54% 35% 11%
Italian 52% 21% 27%

The coalition was strongest among Jews and Catholics and weakest among White Protestants.

1940 votes by religious denomination % for FDR
All 55%
Jewish 87%
Catholic 73%
None given 51%
Protestant 45%
Source: Gallup Poll #294, #335.[57]

Labor unions[edit]

The New Dealers made a major, successful effort to build up labor unions, especially through the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. In addition, Democratic-led state governments were much more favorable to unions than the pro-business Republicans had been. In 1940 FDR won 64% of non-union manual workers, 71% of AFL members, and 79% of CIO members. Union membership grew rapidly during World War II. In 1944 FDR won 56% of non-union manual workers, 69% of AFL members, and 79% of CIO members. Truman in 1948 had similar results.[58] The more militant industrial unions, led by John L. Lewis formed the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), and split off from the more traditional American Federation of Labor in 1938. Both federations added members rapidly, but they feuded bitterly. Both supported Roosevelt and the New Deal Coalition. The nationwide wave of labor strikes in 1937–38 alienated many voters, and the split weakened the New Deal coalition. The most controversial labor leader was John L. Lewis, head of the coal miners; he headed the CIO 1938–1941. Lewis was an isolationist and broke with Roosevelt and endorsed his Republican opponent in the 1940 election, a position demanded by the pro-Soviet far left element in the CIO.[59] Nevertheless, CIO members voted for Roosevelt and Lewis was forced to leave the CIO, taking his United Mine Workers of America union along.[60]

City politics and machines[edit]

City Democratic machines had a new role to play. Traditionally the goal of winning power in the city was facilitated by keeping the vote low and under close watch. As part of the national New Deal coalition, the machines had to carry the state's electoral vote. That required turning out the largest possible majorities. They did this by converting some Republicans, mobilizing large numbers who had never voted before. Milton Rakove states: "Holding the South and delivering thumping majorities in the big cities of the North insured national hegemony for the Democratic party."[61] The new majorities did not matter in the great 1936 landslide, but they were decisive in 1940. A third of the electorate lived in the 106 cities with a population of 100,000 or more. They were 61% for FDR. The South had a sixth of the electorate and FDR won 73%. The remaining half of the electorate—the non-metropolitan North—voted 53% for the Republican Wendell Willkie.[62] The largest possible landslide was needed, and the city machines came through in 1940, 1944, and 1948.[63] In the 1920s strong big city Republican machines were common. During the Great Depression their support plunged, and they were displaced by Democratic machines in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere. Across the urban North blacks deserted the GOP and were welcomed into the Democratic machine.[64]

Ethnics and Catholics were concentrated in large cities, which gave them a more Democratic hue. The 103 largest cities with a population of 100,000 or more in 1950 were Democratic strongholds, typically with former machines that had faded away during and after World War II.[65] The largest cities averaged 66% for FDR in 1932 and 1936, compared to 58% of the rest of the country. The cities dropped 5 points to 61% for FDR in 1940 and 1944, while the rest dropped 7 points to 51%.[66]

Group voting: 1948–1964[edit]

Percentage of Democratic vote in major groups, presidency 1948–1964
Major Groups 1948 1952 1956 1960 1964
White 50 43 41 49 59
Black 71 77 61 68 94
College educated 22 34 31 39 52
High School educated 51 45 42 52 62
Grade School educated 64 52 50 55 66
Professional & Business 19 36 32 42 54
White collar 47 40 37 48 57
Manual worker 66 55 50 60 71
Farmer 60 33 46 48 53
Union member 76 51 62 77
Not union 42 35 44 56
Protestant 43 37 37 38 55
Catholic 62 56 51 78 76
Republican 8 4 5 20
Independent 35 30 43 56
Democrat 77 85 84 87
East 48 45 40 53 68
Midwest 50 42 41 48 61
West 49 42 43 49 60
South 53 51 49 51 52
All voters 50 45 42 50 61

Source: Gallup Polls in Gallup (1972)


The big-city machines faded away in the 1940s with a few exceptions that lingered a bit such as Albany and Chicago. Local Democrats in most cities were heavily dependent on the WPA for patronage; when it ended in 1943, there was full employment and no replacement patronage source was created. Furthermore, World War II brought such a surge of prosperity that the relief mechanism of the New Deal was no longer needed.[67]

Labor unions crested in size and power in the 1950s but then went into steady decline. They continue to be major backers of the Democrats, but with so few members, they have lost much of their influence.[68] From the 1960s into the 1990s, many jobs moved to the Sun Belt free of union influences, and the Republican Party frequently painted unions as corrupt and ineffective.

Intellectuals gave increasing support to Democrats since 1932. The Vietnam War, however, caused a serious split, with the New Left unwilling to support most of the Democratic presidential nominees.[69] Since the 1990s, the growing number of Americans with a post-graduate degree have supported Democrats. In recent years, White Americans with a college degree have tended to support the Democratic Party, especially among younger voters, while non-college graduates are more likely to support the Republican Party—a reversal of the pattern before 2000.[70]

White Southerners abandoned cotton and tobacco farming, and moved to the cities where the New Deal programs had much less impact. Beginning in the 1950s, the southern cities and suburbs started voting Republican. The White Southerners believed the support that northern Democrats gave to the Civil Rights Movement to be a direct political assault on their interests, which opened the way to protest votes for Barry Goldwater, who, in 1964, was the first Republican to carry the Deep South. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton lured many of the Southern Whites back at the level of presidential voting, but by 2000, White males in the South were 2–1 Republican and, indeed, formed a major part of the new Republican coalition.[71] Since the 2010s, younger non-evangelical White Southerners with a college degree have been trending towards the Democratic Party, such as in Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The European ethnic groups came of age after the 1960s. Ronald Reagan pulled many of the working-class social conservatives into the Republican party as Reagan Democrats. Many middle-class ethnic minorities saw the Democratic Party as a working class party, and preferred the GOP as the middle class party. In addition, while many supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act, they were generally opposed to racial integration, and also supported the Republican stance against rising urban crime. However, the Jewish community has continued to vote largely Democratic: 74% voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, 78% in 2008, and 69% in 2012.[72]

African Americans grew stronger in their Democratic loyalties and in their numbers. From the 1930s into the 1960s, black voters in the North began trending Democrat, while those in the South were largely disenfranchised. Following the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, black voters became a much more important part of the Democrat voter base. Their Democratic loyalties have cut across all income and geographic lines to form the single most unified bloc of voters in the country, with over 87% of black voters voting for the Democratic presidential candidate since 2008.[73]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sebastian Berg, ed. (2017). Intellectual Radicalism after 1989: Crisis and Re-orientation in the British and the American Left. Transcript Verlag. p. 35. ISBN 9783839434185. Hence the center-left of U.S. politics, symbolized by the New Deal Coalition which had given the Democrats comfortable majorities in Washington for a long time, disintegrated from the mid-1960s onwards.
  2. ^ Sean J. Savage, Roosevelt: The Party Leader, 1932–1945 (2014), pp 103–128.
  3. ^ Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Roosevelt vol 3: The Politics of Upheaval (1957) p. 592.
  4. ^ Savage, Roosevelt: The Party Leader, 1932–1945 (2014). pp 183–187.
  5. ^ Michael Kazin, What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party (2022) pp. 204–244.
  6. ^ Ronald Radosh, Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964–1996 (1996).
  7. ^ a b "Herbert Hoover". June 7, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. ^ Sean J. Savage, Roosevelt: The Party Leader, 1932–1945. (University Press of Kentucky), 2014.
  9. ^ Richard J. Jensen, "The Last Party System: Decay of Consensus, 1932–1980", in The Evolution of American Electoral Systems (Paul Kleppner et al. eds.) (1981) pp. 219–225.
  10. ^ Everett Carll Ladd, Jr., with Charles D. Hadley. Transformations of the American Party System: Political Coalitions from the New Deal to the 1970s 2nd ed. (1978).
  11. ^ Stave 1966. Pp 467, 470.
  12. ^ Jean Edward Smith, FDR (2008) pp 361–363, 368.
  13. ^ H.W. Brands, Traitor to his class: the privileged life and radical presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2008) pp 345–347, 447–449.
  14. ^ Leuchtenberg, 124, 131, 150. .
  15. ^ Leuchtenberg, 124, 131, 150.
  16. ^ Thomas Kessner, "Fiorello H. LaGuardia" History Teacher 26#2 (1993), pp. 151–159 online.
  17. ^ Farley broke with FDR in 1940. Daniel Mark Scroop, Mr. Democrat: Jim Farley, the New Deal and the Making of Modern American Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2009) excerpt.
  18. ^ Political Machines, University of Colorado, Boulder, archived from the original on 2009-12-08, retrieved 2012-02-18
  19. ^ The most frequent claim is that Kentucky Democrats purchased WPA votes in the 1935 gubernatorial campaign. For a refutation see Robert J. Leupold, "The Kentucky WPA: Relief and Politics, May–November 1935," Filson Club History Quarterly (1975) 49#2 pp 152–168.
  20. ^ Donald S. Howard, The WPA and Federal Relief Policy (Russell Sage Foundation, 1943) pp.301–303.
  21. ^ Si Sheppard, “ ‘If it weren't for Roosevelt you wouldn't have this job': The Politics of Patronage and the 1936 Presidential Election in New York,” New York History 95#1 (2014), pp. 41–69.
  22. ^ Steven P. Erie, Rainbow's End: Irish-Americans and the Dilemmas of Urban Machine Politics, 1840—1985 (1988) pp 140–143.
  23. ^ Lubell, Samuel (1956). The Future of American Politics (2nd ed.). Anchor Press. pp. 62–63. OL 6193934M.
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  26. ^ Alan Draper, "Labor and the 1966 Elections." Labor History 30.1 (1989): 76–92.
  27. ^ David J. Sousa, "Organized labor in the electorate, 1960–1988." Political Research Quarterly 46.4 (1993): 741–758.
  28. ^ Michael Nelson, "The Historical Presidency: Lost Confidence: The Democratic Party, the Vietnam War, and the 1968 Election." Presidential Studies Quarterly 48.3 (2018): 570–585.
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  30. ^ Herbert S. Parmet, The Democrats: The Years Since FDR (1976) pp 248–284.
  31. ^ Ronald Radosh, Divided They Fell (1996) pp 51–132.
  32. ^ Monica Prasad, "The popular origins of neoliberalism in the Reagan tax cut of 1981." Journal of Policy History 24.3 (2012): 351–383.
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  35. ^ Kazin, p. 290.
  36. ^ Gregory Albo, "Neoliberalism from Reagan to Clinton." Monthly Review 52.11 (2001): 81–89 online.
  37. ^ Joe Merton, "The politics of symbolism: Richard Nixon's appeal to White ethnics and the frustration of realignment 1969–72." European Journal of American Culture 26.3 (2008): 181–198.
  38. ^ Richard Moss, Creating the New Right Ethnic in 1970s America: The Intersection of Anger and Nostalgia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) excerpt.
  39. ^ Earl Black and Merle Black, ‘’The Rise of Southern Republicans’’ (Harvard U.P., 2002) pp. 2–11.
  40. ^ See Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields, The long southern strategy: How chasing White voters in the South changed American politics (Oxford University Press, 2019).
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  50. ^ Donald L. Singer, "Upton Sinclair and the California Gubernatorial Campaign of 1934." Southern California Quarterly 56.4 (1974): 375–406.
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  53. ^ Seymour Martin Lipset, ed. Party Coalitions in the 1980s (1981) p79.
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  55. ^ According to Gallup polls reported in George Gallup, The Political Almanac 1952 (1952) p. 36.
  56. ^ Leo Srole, and Robert T. Bower, Voting Behavior of American Ethnic Groups, 1936–1944 (Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University, 1948); Hadley Cantril and Mildred Strunk, eds. Public Opinion, 1935–1946 (1951), p. 619.
  57. ^ AIPO (Gallup) Poll #294 (1943), #335 (1944); Cantril and Strunk, eds. Public Opinion, 1935–1946 (1951), p,591.
  58. ^ Gallup, The Political Almanac 1952 (1952) p. 37.
  59. ^ Robert H. Zieger, The CIO, 1935–1955 (Univ of North Carolina Press, 1997) pp. 108–110.
  60. ^ C.K. McFarland, C. K. "Coalition of convenience: Lewis and Roosevelt, 1933–1940." Labor History 13.3 (1972): 400–414.
  61. ^ Milton L. Rakove, Don't Make No Waves... Don't Back No Losers: An Insiders' Analysis of the Daley Machine (Indiana UP, 1976) pp 155–156.
  62. ^ Richard Jensen, "The cities reelect Roosevelt: Ethnicity, religion, and class in 1940." Ethnicity. An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Study of Ethnic Relations 8.2 (1981): 189–195.
  63. ^ Samuel J. Eldersveld, "The Influence of Metropolitan Party Pluralities in Presidential Elections Since 1920: A Study of Twelve Key Cities" American Political Science Review 43#6 (1949), pp. 1189–1206.
  64. ^ Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks (Oxford UP, 1978), pp. 88–89.
  65. ^ Steven P. Erie, Rainbow's end: Irish-Americans and the dilemmas of urban machine politics, 1840–1985 (U of California Press, 1990) pp. 140–142.
  66. ^ George Gallup, The Political Almanac; 1952 (1952) pp 32, 65,
  67. ^ Steven P. Erie, Rainbow's End: Irish-Americans and the Dilemmas of Urban Machine Politics, 1840—1985 (1988).
  68. ^ Stanley Aronowitz, From the Ashes of the Old: American Labor and America's Future (1998) ch 7.
  69. ^ Tevi Troy, Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians? (2003).
  70. ^ Nate Cohn, "How Educational Differences Are Widening America’s Political Rift: College graduates are now a firmly Democratic bloc, and they are shaping the party’s future. Those without degrees, by contrast, have flocked to Republicans." New York Times Oct. 8, 2021
  71. ^ Earl Black and Merle Black, Politics and Society in the South, 1987.
  72. ^ by William B. Prendergast, The Catholic Voter in American Politics: The Passing of the Democratic Monolith, (1999).
  73. ^ Hanes Walton, African American Power and Politics: The Political Context Variable (1997).

Further reading[edit]

  • Allswang, John M. New Deal and American Politics (1978).
  • Braik, Fethia. "New Deal for Minorities During the Great Depression." Journal of Political Science and International Relations 1.1 (2018): 20–24. online
  • Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (1956); a standard scholarly biography emphasizing politics; vol 1 online
    • Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: the soldier of freedom (1970) covers 1940–1945 vol 2 online
  • Caughey, Devin, Michael C. Dougal, and Eric Schickler. "Policy and Performance in the New Deal Realignment: Evidence from old data and new methods." Journal of Politics 82.2 (2020): 494–508. online
  • Caughey, Devin, Michael Dougal, and Eric Schickler. "The Policy Bases of the New Deal Realignment: Evidence from Public Opinion Polls, 1936–1952." Journal of Politics (2018).
  • Caughey, Devin, and Christopher Warshaw. "The dynamics of state policy liberalism, 1936–2014." American Journal of Political Science 60.4 (2016): 899–913. online
  • Chafe, William H. ed. Achievement of American Liberalism: The New Deal and Its Legacies 2003) 12 essays focusing on the issues
  • Critchlow, Donald T. In Defense of Populism: Protest and American Democracy (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).
  • Davies, Gareth, and Julian E. Zelizer, eds. America at the Ballot Box: Elections and Political History (2015) pp. 153–66, New Deal as issue in 1940 election.
  • Gerstle, Gary, and Steve Fraser, eds. The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930–1980 (Princeton University Press, 1989); 10 scholarly essays focused on the coalition online
  • Howard, Donald S. WPA and federal relief policy (1943), 880pp; highly detailed report by the independent Russell Sage Foundation. online
  • Isserman, Maurice, and Michael Kazin. America divided: The civil war of the 1960s (6th ed. Oxford UP, 2020).
  • Janeway, Michael. The Fall of the House of Roosevelt: Brokers of Ideas and Power from FDR to LBJ (Columbia University Press, 2004). online
  • Jeffries, John W. Testing the Roosevelt coalition: Connecticut society and politics, 1940–1946 (Yale University, 1973).
  • Jensen, Richard. "The Last Party System, 1932–1980," in Paul Kleppner, ed. Evolution of American Electoral Systems (1981).
  • Kazin, Michael. What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party (2022)excerpt
  • Lipset, Seymour Martin, ed. Party Coalitions in the 1980s (1981).
  • Ladd Jr., Everett Carll with Charles D. Hadley. Transformations of the American Party System: Political Coalitions from the New Deal to the 1970s 2nd ed. (1978).
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. "Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932–1940." (1963), a standard scholarly survey online
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to George W. Bush (2001).
  • Manza, Jeff and Clem Brooks; Social Cleavages and Political Change: Voter Alignments and U.S. Party Coalitions, (1999).
  • Mason, Robert. "Political Realignment." in A Companion to Richard M. Nixon (2011) pp: 252–269. online
  • Milkis, Sidney M. and Jerome M. Mileur, eds. The New Deal and the Triumph of Liberalism (2002).
  • Milkis, Sidney M. The President and the Parties: The Transformation of the American Party System Since the New Deal (1993).
  • Mott, James Clinton. "The fate of an alliance: The Roosevelt coalition, 1932–1952" (PhD thesis,  University of Illinois at Chicago ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1988. 8821023) statistical reanalysis of Gallup polls.
  • Nelson, Bruce. "'Give Us Roosevelt'--Workers and the New Deal Coalition." History Today 40.1 (1990): 40–48., popular history
  • Nelson, Michael. "The Historical Presidency: Lost Confidence: The Democratic Party, the Vietnam War, and the 1968 Election." Presidential Studies Quarterly 48.3 (2018): 570–585.
  • Norpoth, Helmut, Andrew H. Sidman, and Clara H. Suong. "Polls and Elections: The New Deal Realignment in Real Time." Presidential Studies Quarterly 43.1 (2013): 146–166. online
  • Parmet, Herbert S. The Democrats: The years after FDR (1976) online
  • Patterson, James. Congressional Conservatism and the New Deal: The Growth of the Conservative Coalition in Congress, 1933–39 (1967). online
  • Patterson, James T. Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 (Oxford University Press, 1996), a standard scholarly survey.
  • Radosh, Ronald. Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party: 1964–1996 (Oxford University Press, 1996). online
  • Reed Jr, Adolph. "Race and the Disruption of the New Deal Coalition." Urban Affairs Quarterly 27.2 (1991): 326–333.
  • Riccards, Michael P., and Cheryl A. Flagg eds. Party Politics in the Age of Roosevelt: The Making of Modern America (2022) excerpt
  • Rubin, Richard L. Party Dynamics, the Democratic Coalition and the Politics of Change (1976). online
  • Savage, Sean J. Roosevelt: The Party Leader, 1932–1945 (University Press of Kentucky, 2014). online
  • Savage, Sean J. Truman and the Democratic Party (1997) online
  • Schickler, Eric, and Devin Caughey, "Public Opinion, Organized Labor, and the Limits of New Deal Liberalism, 1936–1945," Studies in American Political Development, 25 (2011), 162–89. online
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. The Age Of Roosevelt, The Politics Of Upheaval (1957) online a major scholarly survey
  • Scroop, Daniel Mark. Mr. Democrat: Jim Farley, the New Deal and the Making of Modern American Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2009). exderpt
  • Singleton, Jeff. The American Dole: Unemployment Relief and the Welfare State in the Great Depression (2000)
  • Sitkoff, Harvard. A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue, Vol. I: The Depression Decade (Oxford UP, 1979) online
  • Smith, Jason Scott. Building New Deal Liberalism: the Political Economy of Public Works, 1933–1956 (2005)
  • Sundquist, James L. Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States (1983)
  • Taylor, Nick. American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work (2008) comprehensive history; 640pp excerpt
  • Trende, Sean (2012). The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs–and Who Will Take It. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0230116467.
  • Weiss, Nancy J. Farewell to the party of Lincoln: Black politics in the age of FDR (1983) online

Machines and localities[edit]

  • Andersen, Kristi. The Creation of a Democratic Majority, 1928–1936 (1979), on Chicago.
  • Boulay, Harvey, and Alan DiGaetano. "Why did political machines disappear?" Journal of Urban History 12.1 (1985): 25–49.
  • DiGaetano, Alan. "Urban political reform: Did it kill the machine?" Journal of urban history 18.1 (1991): 37–67.
  • Dorsett, Lyle W. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the City Bosses (1977), short survey of major machines online
  • Eldersveld, Samuel J. "The Influence of Metropolitan Party Pluralities in Presidential Elections Since 1920: A Study of Twelve Key Cities" American Political Science Review 43#6 (1949), pp. 1189–1206 online
  • Erie, Steven P. Rainbow's end: Irish-Americans and the dilemmas of urban machine politics, 1840–1985 (U of California Press, 1990).
  • Gamm, Gerald H. The making of the New Deal Democrats: Voting behavior and realignment in Boston, 1920–1940 (U of Chicago Press, 1989).
  • Gosnell, Harold. Machine politics: Chicago model (1937) online.
  • Heineman, Kenneth J. Catholic New Deal: Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh (Penn State Press, 2010).
  • Jones, Gene Delon. "The Origin of the Alliance between the New Deal and the Chicago Machine" Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 67#3 (1974), pp. 253–274 online
  • Lewis, Michael. "No Relief From Politics: Machine Bosses and Civil Works." Urban Affairs Quarterly 30.2 (1994): 210–226.
  • Lubell, Samuel. The Future of American Politics (2nd ed. 1956). online
  • Luconi, Stefano. "Machine politics and the consolidation of the Roosevelt majority: The case of Italian Americans in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia." Journal of American Ethnic History (1996): 32–59. online
  • MacKay, Malcolm. In With Flynn, The Boss Behind the President (2020), popular biography. excerpt
  • Sheppard, Si. The Buying of the Presidency? Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the Election of 1936 (ABC-CLIO, 2014). excerpt
  • Sheppard, Si. " 'If it wasn't for Roosevelt you wouldn't have this job': The Politics of Patronage and the 1936 Presidential Election in New York." New York History 95.1 (2014): 41–69. excerpt
  • Shover, John L. "The emergence of a two-party system in Republican Philadelphia, 1924–1936." Journal of American History 60.4 (1974): 985–1002. online
  • Stave, Bruce. The New Deal and the Last Hurrah: Pittsburgh Machine Politics (U of Pittsburgh Press, 1970).
  • Stave, Bruce. "The New Deal, The Last Hurrah, and the Building of an Urban Political Machine" Pennsylvania History 33.4 (1966): 460–483. online[permanent dead link]
  • Sugrue, Thomas J. "Crabgrass-roots politics: Race, rights, and the reaction against liberalism in the urban north, 1940–1964." Journal of American History 82.2 (1995): 551–578. online[permanent dead link]
  • Trout, Charles H. Boston, the Great Depression, and the New Deal (1977).
  • Williams, Mason B. City of Ambition: FDR, LaGuardia, and the Making of Modern New York (WW Norton, 2013).
  • Zeitz, Joshua M. White Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics, and the Shaping of Postwar Politics (2007).


  • Blake, William. "The New Deal: Retrospection, Realignment, or a Reconstituted Polity?." (2020). online
  • Salvatore, Nick, and Jefferson Cowie. "The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History." International Labor and Working Class History 74 (Fall 2008) : 3‐32. online
  • Shafer, Byron E., ed. The End of Realignment?: Interpreting American Electoral Eras (U of Wisconsin Press, 1991).
  • Sitkoff, Harvard, ed. Fifty Years Later: The New Deal Evaluated (Temple University Press, 1985).
  • Sternsher, Bernard. "The New Deal party system: A reappraisal." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 15.1 (1984): 53–81. online

Primary sources[edit]

  • Cantril, Hadley and Mildred Strunk, eds.; Public Opinion, 1935–1946 (1951), massive compilation of many public opinion polls online
  • Flynn, Edward J. You're the boss (1947); Edward J. Flynn was a boss in New York City and, with Farley, FDR's patronage advisor. online
  • Gallup, George. The Gallup Poll: Public opinion, 1935–1971 (3 vol 1972) vol 1 online 1935–1948).
  • Robinson, Edgar Eugene. They Voted for Roosevelt: The Presidential Vote, 1932–1944 (1947) tables of votes by county.

External links[edit]