One dimension of party realignment – party position change – has been debated extensively in recent political science literature. This article reviews recent evidence presented to explain position change: candidates, politically active groups, and ideology. Based on historical case studies, I make the case for treating politically active groups as the most important factor in party change. A clear understanding of these factors can help us understand whether recent changes in both parties are harbingers of long term trends.
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This journal provides a forum for professionally informed commentary on issues affecting contemporary American politics. This includes but is not limited to issues engaging parties, elections, and political participation; the news media, interest groups, Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts; trends in public finance, presidential popularity, congressional productivity; in contemporary, historical, or comparative perspective.