Steaks, Spirits, mAcigronicifs iinzE 111 o USE Lunch 11:30-2:00 Tues.Fri. & Sunday Brunch Dinner 5:30-10:00 Tues.Sun. 502 Dawson Rd. 474-7239 Printers Stationers Mailers Typesetters High Speed Web Offset Publication Press Counseling Designing Copy Writing Editing Trade Computer Sales and Services Complete Computer Data Processing Services *RI TWA PIUS A. I II al ” In 1G 7.1:11111:w 11-Zra 512/442-7836 1714 South Congress P.O.Box 3485 Austin, Texas 78764 1/,A ttitefi l vt ,e6 in 11 an,ic, 64\(41A :,61. ate f2 Pk\( likt-t dfritoo-ttiti ,tekat laerytailuituti vq61 -diadiAL; 0–A,LutAco /Avtde-etloft::*. \(-4 18 MAY 25, 1979 Aus t in, Tex as boo, or splatter sheep’s blood as the occasion demands. But the major American political parties have been in decline for decades, most noticeably in the post-New Deal era in which it became conventional wisdom to assert that there was no significant difference between the two of them. Nowadays, when the division between Republicans and Democrats is greater than at any time since 1940, ordinary voters still show little fondness for official party organizations. For this reason, the United States has never developed true party politics of the kind found in Western Europe. Since the days of the founding fathers, we have been far more interested in candidates and issuesincluding such musty but once-explosive single issues as free trade, abolition, unlimited coinage of silver, prohibition, and loyalty oaths. But, the gravely concerned tell us, single-issue politics is driving good people out of government. The most frequently cited example is that of U.S. Sen. Dick Clark in last year’s elections. The Iowa Democrat was defeated, so the common analysis goes, because he was for abortion and his Republican opponent, Roger Jepsen, was against it. ProLifers nationwide targeted Clark for defeat, and sure enough he lost. But surveys taken after the balloting indicated that stances on abortion determined very few percentage points in the ClarkJepsen contest. Though in a 53-47 race in a small state the activation of antiabortion forces may well have made the margin of victory for Jepsen, it is overstating the case to say that Clark was beaten on the single issue of abortion. There were other factors, such as his specializing in U.S. policy toward Africa instead of something dearer to cornhusking hearts, like agriculture. Nor should it be surprising that Jepsen would take advantage of the abortion issue when Pro-Lifers made it one. Every candidate in every race in every state in every year looks for the one issue that will devastate the foe. Sometimes that one issue encompasses a number of smaller ones, as when a challenger scores the incumbent for being district.” But almost as often the issue isn’t even one of public policy. Right here in Texas last year, a tight race for the U.S. Senate was waged in its closing days over the incumbent’s refusal to shake hands with his opponent. But the explanation for the apparent success that single-issue groups are currently enjoying springs not so much from the politicians as from the people themselves. In an era in which most eligible citizens do not vote, the way is open for any well-organized bloc to determine election outcomes. Boss Tweed and Richard Daley knew that; so do Phyllis Schlafly and Gloria Steinem today. And if the vast number of nonvoters could ever be persuaded to go to the polls, it probably would take a single issuelike
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