Cover image for America's forgotten majority : why the white working class still matters
America's forgotten majority : why the white working class still matters
Teixeira, Ruy A.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 215 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A new republic book."
Reading Level:
1490 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD8076 .T49 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Ruy Teixeira and Joel Rogers tackle a central mystery of twentieth-century electoral politics--how did the Democratic party lose the vote of the white working class, which today constitutes roughly 55 percent of the electorate? And why do both parties continue to ignore the wants and needs of this critical mass of American voters?This "forgotten majority" has played a decisive role in federal elections and policy over the past thirty years, but its experience of declining prosperity and party neglect over the last several decades has left its loyalties unstable. Teixeira and Rogers argue that it is time for politicians to realize that this group will shape the nation's political fortunes in 2000 and beyond.

Author Notes

Joel Rogers is Professor of Law, Political Science, and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As the quadrennial presidential elections approach, books about politics roll off the presses. For all the talk about soccer moms and wired Gen Xers, veteran analysts Teixeira and Rogers remind us that the white working class constitutes some 55 percent of voters and that issues critically important to this class, in the face of what the authors call globalization's "New Insecurity," are being ignored. They examine the group's characteristics and impact on '90s national elections and suggest how each party could take on the key concerns of this majority--health care, education, retirement, and balancing work and family life--to establish a winning electoral coalition. To build universal programs that make real changes in the lives of this forgotten majority, any party will need to overcome the truisms of austere conservative policies and insist that the U.S. is rich enough to build a prosperity that serves all Americans. Nuanced analysis of the current state of the nation and how it could be improved. Political scientists White and Shea explore how political parties have changed and are likely to change in a new, wired millennium. They identify distinguishing characteristics of U.S. political parties, examine their rise (to 1912) and decline (since the Progressive era), and review recent developments. They discuss party functioning in presidential elections, state and local contests, campaign finance, voter "brand loyalty," and the roles of elected officials and third parties. Structured like a textbook, the volume contains enough sidebars, quotes, and fascinating statistics to intrigue nonstudents curious about where parties fit in a wired world. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

The future of American politics belongs to the party best able to win the hearts and votes of the white working class: that is Teixera and Rogers's thesis in a well-documented analysis of the current American political landscape that is coherent, insightful and refreshingly contrary to the prevailing views of Sunday morning pundits and politicos of both major parties. Citing enough exit polls and opinion polls to satisfy the most ardent political junkies, the authors (Teixera is a fellow at the Century Foundation, and Rogers is a professor of law, political science and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) build a convincing case that white working-class voters, not the recently fabled suburban soccer moms, were, and will be again, the true swing voters. The straightforwardly presented data indicate that, so far, the swinging has inclined toward the Republicans. But departing from conventional political wisdom, the electorate's swing to the right is less an embrace of traditional conservative values (less government is better government) than a reflection of the voters' loss of faith in government's effectiveness. Government, according to Teixera and Rogers's white working-class voters, no longer responds to real people's problems. The authors are not shy about offering suggestions to Democrats and Republicans on how they can capture the support of this crucial segment of American society. Teixera and Rogers reject what they see as the Democratic Leadership Council's abandonment of the traditional party commitment to government programs responsive to the white working class. They reject even more strongly the minimalist Republican view of government. Instead, the authors predict that the party that can fashion effective government programsÄwhich ensure health-care benefits, educational opportunities and retirement security, for exampleÄwill be the party of the 21st century. First serial to the Atlantic Monthly. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Texeira (Century Foundation) and Rogers (Univ. of Wisconsin) challenge conventional wisdom about US electoral politics, which identifies soccer moms and wired workers as the new swing voters of the new economy. The authors marshal an impressive array of statistical evidence to show that the real swing vote is still a white working class that constitutes 55 percent of the potential electorate but has largely withdrawn from the electoral process. The book reviews electoral statistics and poll results from the last 30 years to show that the white working class has concerns such as health insurance, retirement, education, job training, the balance between work and family life, and the impact of economic globalization on standards of living. The authors suggest that these concerns can be welded into a class-based party platform that challenges the Republicans' free-market conservative agenda and the Democrats' pro-market neoliberalism, since addressing these concerns will require government action. Importantly, Texeira and Rogers draw on numerous polls to show that, contrary to received opinion, the white working class is not philosophically opposed to government action but has merely lost confidence in the Democratic Party. This persuasive volume is clear and to the point; it should command widespread attention from academic and general readers. All levels. C. W. Barrow; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 Introducing America's Forgotten Majority--And Why It Is the Key to Our Political Futurep. 1
2 How the Forgotten Majority Enriches the Conventional Wisdom on U.S. Politicsp. 23
3 Did the Forgotten Majority Matter in the 1990s? Part 1: The Elections of 1992 and 1994p. 67
4 Did the Forgotten Majority Matter in the 1990s? Part 2: The Elections of 1996 and 1998p. 95
5 Does the Forgotten Majority Still Matter?p. 129
6 Mobilizing the Forgotten Majorityp. 147
Afterwordp. 175
Appendixp. 187
Notesp. 193
Acknowledgmentsp. 217
Indexp. 219