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eeJlzteca L.14 2.411. >7e 2600 E. 7th St. Austin, Texas 447-4701 carries al carbon cabrito 1 1 1 1 1 1 growing in the party, procedural reforms resulted in a turn away from machine politics and old systems of patronage to open primaries and caucuses. This would seam to be more egalitarian, but it resulted in much more participation of upper class Democrats in party affairs. At the same time, as Democrats reaped the post-Watergate electoral benefits, a new breed of moderate Democrats was elected from traditionally Republican districts, making the junior Democratic leaders in Congress more responsive to suburban and affluent constituents. The lack of economic growth in the seventies prevented the Democratic party from maintaining its traditional strategy of increasing benefits for those at the bottom segment of the economy. As PRICE INCREASE Subscriptions to periodicals such as the Observer became subject to the 5-1/8 percent sales tax on October 2. Confronted with the necessity of adding the tax to the $20 subscription rate which has been in effect since 1981, we also decided to catch up with inflation somewhat by raising the total price to $23. $1.12 of the $3 increase represents the new tax. The special one-year rate for fulltime students goes from $13 to $15, tax included. Others who may find it impossible to pay the full $23 should let us know at renewal time. Many Observer subscribers who can afford it renew at more than the going rate, and we record the excess in a Gift Fund ledger and decide, on the basis of the condition of the Gift Fund, to renew subscriptions of other loyal readers who might be financially burdened more severely than the rest of us. 1=1 –1 –1 U=n ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78’731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip Edsall puts it, “the party was pushed in two divergent directions. In terms of voter allegiance, it was gaining strength among those in the bottom third of the income distribution; in terms of elite control, party rules and reforms had significantly magnified the power of the affluent and the well-educated. For a party struggling to formulate economic policy at a time of severe strain, this combination was a formula for inaction.” Worse than the paralysis, however, was a “more devastating blow” the party had lost the power to set the terms of the national debate. That function had been taken over by a well-organized, well-funded and newly ascendant Republican party. The story of the Republican party in the seventies, as Edsall tells it, is the story of business elites making peace with right-wing ideologues, joining together in a host of corporate political action committees, and using money much more shrewdly to produce political dividends than the Democrats were able. Possibly a third of the new money was coming from independent oil producers. “Oil, more than any other source of money, has bridged the gap between the Republican party and its potentially conflicting constituent groups, particularly the sunbelt business community and the ideological right, providing what amounts to financial glue,” Edsall says. The Republican party organization used the money to finance not just Republican incumbents but Republican challengers who had a good shot at winning. The Democratic party, which had about the same amount of PAC money coming in, didn’t provide consistent support for Democratic challengers, as is shown by the amazing race in 1982 between Republican Robert Michel of Illinois and his Democratic challenger. G. Douglas Stephens. Stephens barely lost, 97,000 to 91,000, despite the fact that Michel raised $697,648 to Stephens’s $174,556. The Republicans were also smarter in using expensive new technologies for winning elections, such as early polling, consulting, and television advertising. The advent of the televised campaign, Edsall points out, has been a great advantage to the Republicans; it “undermines the traditional strategy of the Democratic party, a strategy of central importance to the Democrats since the formation of the New Deal coalition: the forging of a collection of minorities into an election-day majority.” The old-fashioned politics of tailoring different messages to different interests doesn’t work on television what is seen by one is seen by all. While the business elites joined together in the seventies to effectively bring about the first major reversals of social spending and tax policies since the New Deal, the power of organized labor was diminishing. Edsall paints a picture of a labor movement that got chummy with management in the early seventies and then got caught flat footed when the business community took an increasingly adversarial role. Union membership had fallen from 31.4 percent in 1960 to 23,6 percent in 1978, and in this time of retrenchment the voice of organized labor was heard mainly on a narrow set of protectionist issues. The labor movement, like the Democratic party, showed an inability to offer a comprehensive vision of what the future should hold, at a time when major issues of industrial and economic policy were being decided by the newly powerful business interests. As Edsall summarizes, “The existence of a declining labor union movement, mistrusted by the public and to some degree by its own rank and file, with a history of seeking protectionist government legislation, points to the prospect of a poorly represented working class as these debates develop.” Edsall points to other factors in the shift in power to the right. The voting rate among the poor and a working class has fallen off more sharply than that of the affluent. Thus, according to 1980 census figures, “the 40.3 percent of the population with incomes below $15,000 cast fewer votes. 24.5 million, than the 29 percent of the population with incomes of $25,000 or more, who cast 26.1 million votes.” Another factor is the huge amounts of corporate money going to conservative think-tanks, which have given intellectual legitimacy to policies that benefit the top segment of society and punish the bottom. In both The New American Poverty, and The New Politics of Inequality, the character of Ronald Reagan plays a minor role. As Edsall points out, the roots of the changes run far deeper than the election of Reagan. The power shift did not come about from some massive landslide for Reagan in 1980, he says, but from “pervasive distortions” in the political process “in which fundamental issues the distribution of the tax burden, the degree to which the government sanctions the accumulation of wealth, the role of federal regulation, the level of publicly tolerated poverty, and the relative strength of labor and management are resolved by an increasingly unrepresentative economic elite.” 44 OCTOBER 12, 1984