Most histories of modern American politics tell a similar story: that the Sunbelt, with its business friendly environment, right-to-work laws, and fierce spirit of frontier individualism, provided the seedbed for popular conservatism. Stacie Taranto challenges this narrative by positioning New York State as a central battleground. In 1970, under the governorship of Republican Nelson Rockefeller, New York became one of the first states to legalize abortion. By 1980, however, conservative, antifeminist Republicans with broad suburban appeal--symbolized by figures such as Ronald Reagan--had usurped power from these so-called Rockefeller Republicans. What happened during the intervening decade? In Kitchen Table Politics, Taranto investigates the role that middle-class, mostly Catholic women played both in the development of conservatism in New York State and in the national shift toward a conservative politics of "family values."
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