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Red State Blues
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: October 2019
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online ISBN: 9781108569187
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    Red State Blues
    • Online ISBN: 9781108569187
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Book description

Over the last quarter century, a nationalized and increasingly conservative Republican Party made unprecedented gains at the state level, winning control of twenty-four new state governments. Liberals and conservatives alike anticipated far-reaching consequences, but what has the Republican revolution in the states achieved? Red State Blues shows that, contrary to liberals' fears, conservative state governments have largely failed to enact policies that advance conservative goals or reverse prior liberal gains. Matt Grossmann tracks policies and socioeconomic outcomes across all 50 states, interviews state insiders, and considers the full issue agenda. Although Republicans have been effective at staying in power, they have not substantially altered the nature or reach of government. Where they have had policy victories, the consequences on the ground have been surprisingly limited. A sober assessment of Republican successes and failures after decades of electoral victories, Red State Blues highlights the stark limits of the conservative ascendancy.

Reviews

'In Red State Blues, Matt Grossmann, one of the nation’s most astute political scientists, challenges fundamental orthodoxy in much of academia and the media. He argues that the Republican revolution that swept over state after state at the behest of the Koch Brothers, ALEC and other architects of the insurgency was in practice of relatively minor consequence. The conservative movement ran into a brick wall the electorate’s demand for public services. Grossmann demonstrates that the twenty-year political upheaval from 1994 to 2014 produced policy change only at the margins - primarily by restricting abortion providers and union organizing - while budgets and state programs continued to grow. Grossmann goes against the grain in this wise and illuminating book.'

Thomas B. Edsall - The New York Times

'How much did the conservative and Republican electoral revolution change actual policy in the fifty American states? Maybe not as much as you think. Matt Grossmann's Red State Blues is pretty much the perfect book on this question.'

Tyler Cowen - George Mason University

'If you are a liberal who despairs about the seemingly total Republican takeover of states across the country, guess what: It might not be as bad as you think. Employing creative and original research techniques, Matt Grossmann carefully demonstrates that many of the conservative movement's apparent gains are not translating into transformative policy outcomes. This book offers a series of X-Rays of our current political and ideological impasses, revealing hidden structural factors that have frustrated the grand conservative project, while allowing for under-the-radar liberal advances you didn't know were happening.'

Greg Sargent - The Washington Post

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