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The red tandem: Conservative Republicans and socialism in Contemporary America

Espinoza, MJ; (2016) The red tandem: Conservative Republicans and socialism in Contemporary America. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of contemporary American political history, examining conservative Republican rhetoric as it relates to polarisation, four-party politics and a governing philosophy. In particular, it analyses conservative Republican rhetoric and the strong emphasis associated with the socialist label, especially how the socialist label is employed as a critique against the New Deal and its ongoing political legacy – the modern American welfare state. I compare the difference in how conservative Republicans employ the socialist label in the context of being the majority party, as well as of being the minority party. I utilise James MacGregor Burns’ original four-party politics argument and reorganise it in order to best explain American domestic politics in the post-Cold War era – separating the Republican presidential party from its congressional party. The thesis examines how conservative Republican rhetoric is strategic. It is effective at casting a negative light on the opposition, but creates a false impression of a conservative Republican governing philosophy. Conservative Republican rhetoric is strongest when it opposes something, usually big government in some way, such as opposing national health care reform. On the other hand, once conservative Republicans are in a position of power, they have to scale back their anti-statist rhetoric so that it leads to lasting accomplishments, instead of railing against government and shirking the responsibilities of governing. This involves a combination of pragmatism and ideology – which becomes harder to achieve as the GOP moves further rightward. Conservative Republican rhetoric has evolved over time from its original libertarian economic-centred argument against the New Deal. In the post-Cold War era, this rhetoric still draws on the “less government” economic argument, whilst also calling for more government intervention on socio-moral issues.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The red tandem: Conservative Republicans and socialism in Contemporary America
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482196
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