GOVERNMENT by a strong executive, by Cabinet, by legislature —these are the terms most often used in assessing the two-party system. Less frequently discussed is the question of cohesive party rule. Given their fragmented condition, neither major U.S. party today is cemented to a clearly defined constituency of region or class; both grope for a majority among shifting factions. In a recent speech, Richard Nixon argued that there is an alternative, that in fact a first-of-its-kind "new alignment for American unity" has been forming.

"The new majority is not a grouping of power blocs, but an alliance of ideas," said Nixon. It...

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