A New Center
A New Center
This chapter discusses how the 1972 election marked a key moment in moving the Democratic Party's center of gravity toward suburbanites on Route 128 and away from its traditional urban union base. As knowledge professionals became an ever more crucial Democratic constituency, the shift created impediments to developing both political coalitions and policies that promoted organized labor. The 1972 election results along Route 128 ultimately demonstrate that scientists and engineers, and the issues that concerned them, had moved to the center of the party's new electoral coalition. At the center of the constituencies' priorities were now not just civil rights, environmental protection, taxes, property values, and opposition to the Vietnam War, but also inflation and especially unemployment. This set of concerns revealed that neither the 1972 election nor the Route 128 area was an outlier but a portent of the economic problems and political tensions of the decade to come.
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