by Greenberg, Stanley B.
Publisher:St. Martin's Griffin
Having spent a career closely watching the numbers, veteran Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who advised Bill Clinton in his 1992 victory, sees a nation entrenched into two opposing ideological camps, neither side getting much done. And so he presents solutions, of course to Democrats but also Republicans if they care to read the book, on how to break the gridlock and solidify power. Greenberg offers a history lesson, showing how for the last 50 years, neither party has had a solid grip on power and, as a result, lacked the mandate to lead. Instead, both fire up their base of supporters and scrap for small electoral groups in order to give them a tiny majority among national office holders. Armed with history and voluminous statistical data, Greenberg identifies the core constituencies of each party and assigns them catchy names in order to make his analysis more entertaining and easier to follow. The Republicans' base includes such groups as the "F-You Old Men," white blue-collar seniors with no college education, while over on the left side, the Democrats are anchored by groups like the "Secular Warriors," people who rarely attend church and don't own guns. Extensive polling took place in three communities that are battlegrounds on the electoral map and all three receive catchy nicknames as well: "Tampa Blue" (working class Florida), "The Heartland" (Iowa farm country), and "Eastside Tech" (the white-collar tech-heavy suburbs east of Seattle). After reading the pulse of these representative voters, Greenberg recommends the GOP offer up a second-generation Reagan campaign, emphasizing hope, independence, and industriousness. For the Democrats, his suggestions include taking classic Democratic themes of opportunity and equality and updating to encompass modern issues like environmental and health care concerns. This book was released in the early stages of the 2004 Democratic primaries and in the early going, the successful candidates seemed to be embracing Greenberg's notions, hoping to unseat a President Bush a second time. --John Moe