DEMOCRATS: Operation Reverse Coattails

As control of Congress switched back and forth by the narrowest of margins over the last decade, political managers turned increasingly to the study of state and district elections as a possible key to national hopes. One of those who pored over the state election ledgers was James Finnegan of Pennsylvania, onetime accounting student, now Adlai Stevenson's campaign manager. The result of Finnegan's studies: a Democratic campaign strategy that has been dubbed "Operation Reverse Coattails."

In the 1952 elections, Finnegan found some statistics that especially fascinated him. In state after state, Stevenson...

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