In 1980, Republicans used appeals to sexist and racist bigotry to win the Presidency. The party adopted an electoral strategy that included getting votes by playing on the fear and uncertainty engendered by the civil rights and women's political movements, and continued to use this strategy in the campaigns of 1984, 1988, and 1992. Under the Reagan and Bush administrations, this strategy became a crucial part of the party's governing policies. This book is not a political science treatise nor a description of political campaigns; it is a documented account of a grab for power that, as the years pass, continues to intensify antagonism between the sexes and to sow unnecessary division among the American people. As a longtime Republican activist and a delegate to the 1992 convention, Tanya Melich has observed these actions from within; and documents this takeover and the Party's ongoing practices (such as embracing the Christian right) in a devastating, factual, and often hair-raising report. A combination of history, exposÄ, reasoned polemic, and call to arms, this book has now been enriched by two completely new chapters that assesses the outcome of the 1996 election in terms of the book's thesis and realistically lays out the future: both in terms of what it will be if the right-wing elements of the Republican party continue to set the agenda, and how it can be changed if centrist women (and men) take charge of that agenda. The heart of such change lies with Independents, who now constitute a startling 39 percent of Americans (31 percent identify themselves as Democrats and 30 percent as Republicans). We are not a country of strong party loyalties, and the enormous growth of independents is the signal that change is not only possible but achievable. As a superb political pro, the author offers hardheaded strategies for such change.
From the Trade Paperback edition.