Elections and Activist Coalitions in the United States

Authors


  • Norman Schofield is professor of political science, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 (schofield.norman@gmail.com). Gary Miller is professor of political science, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 (gjmiller@artsci.wustl.edu).

  • We appreciate the support of the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University and the National Science Foundation (under grant SES 0241732). We received very helpful comments from two anonymous referees. Figure 1 is adapted from Schofield and Sened (2006) with permission from Cambridge University Press.

Abstract

Formal models of voting have emphasizd the mean voter theorem, that all parties should rationally adopt identical positions at the electoral mean. The lack of evidence for this assertion is a paradox or contradiction in need of resolution. This article attempts to resolve this paradox by considering an electoral model that includes “valence” or nonpolicy judgements by voters of party leaders. The theorem is used to suggest that Republican success depends on balancing the opposed demands of economic and social conservatives. Democrat success in future elections resides in overcoming the policy demands of economic liberals and gaining support from cosmopolitans—the socially liberal but economically conservative potential supporters of the party.

Ancillary