EVERGREEN Rice Professor book on Polarization of American electorate

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Rice University
Office of News & Media Relations

Press Advisory

CONTACT: Franz Brotzen
PHONE: 713-348-6775
E-MAIL: franz.brotzen@rice.edu

"Divided America" looks at political polarization in U.S.

HOUSTON — (March 19, 2007) — Rice University Political Science Professor Earl Black and his brother Merle, a professor of Politics and Government at Emory University, have written a new book that analyzes the polarization that characterizes politics in the United States today.
Titled "Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics," the book, published by Simon & Schuster, will be released on March 20.
Earl and Merle Black will be at Rice University to discuss their book Tuesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. The event, co-sponsored by the Houston World Affairs Council and Rice University's department of political science, will be held in Herring Hall, Room 100. For directions, go to http://www.rice.edu/maps/maps.html.
"Divided America" describes how the regional strengths of the two main parties have split the electorate evenly and produced the current situation, in which either party could sweep the presidency and legislature or be swept aside. The result, according to the Blacks, is a type of uneasy equilibrium that accentuates the influence of specific geographic regions on the Democrats and Republicans and fuels greater ideological fervor.
The book employs survey data over the last half century to analyze the latest trends. Those trends include the dramatic shift from a once solidly Democratic South to the most reliably Republican political base, and the corresponding change from a Republican-dominated Northeast to the current Democratic stronghold. The Pacific Coast has evolved into Democratic territory in recent years, while the Mountains/Plains region remains, for the most part, Republican. That leaves the Midwest as the battleground where the two parties wage a continuing struggle for supremacy.
"Divided America" is the fourth book the Black brothers have co-authored. They also collaborated on "The Rise of Southern Republicans," "The Vital South" and "Politics and Society in the South."
Members of the news media who want to attend the March 20 event should R.S.V.P. to Franz Brotzen at franz.brotzen@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.
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