053 The Two-Party System as Norm

Untangling the interplay of economic and political factors will require analysis of time-series data, rather than just cross -sectional data. And it will probably involve non-recursive causal models that go well beyond the simple types analyzed by Blalock. Thus to explore the spread of industrial development (and consequent convergence of per capita income for regions and states) one might well consider the political effects of development as well as some of the institutional opportunities for using the federal government to promote development. Figure 3-5 spells out one very simple model of some of the processes that seem to have been at work in bringing about regional convergence in per capita income. But to deal with this question adequately would require a whole book on American political development, far exceeding the suggested limits for this volume.
The overall line of argument in this essay can be summarized, a bit abruptly, as follows:

  1. Some of the basic functional problems of a one~party system have been dealt with in the Anglo-American experience, but at the national level, and in the period before 1800 for England, and before 1860 for the United States.
  2. Most literature on one-party politics in America deals only with subsystems and concentrates largely on electoral politics, The consequences of one-party politics for policy are currently under debate, but all seem agreed that one-party electoral politics is becoming rarer at the state or regional level.
  3. Manipulation of political inducements by urban (or state) „machines“ has been analyzed for decades, and this body of literature may be more useful for students of one-party systems abroad.