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Why have the Democrats lost five of the last seven presidential elections, even though polls consistently show that more Americans identify with that party than with the Republican party? And why are Democratic presidential nomination races usually so much more bitter and fractious than those held by the Republicans?The answer, argues William Mayer, lies in an important but too often ignored feature of American politics: The Democrats are a more ideologically diverse, less cohesive party than the Republicans and thus have greater difficulty maintaining party unity. After extensively documenting the Democrats' traditional problems of division and disagreement, Mayer presents evidence suggesting that in recent years the Republican advantage over the Democrats has finally started to narrow—raising important questions about the future of the Republican coalition.

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