"Conservatism rose in the 1980s in large part because the mid to late 1970s were such an economic mess and because American had lost so much relative status internationally. Krugman won't face up to that; instead he blames the Republican manipulation of "the race card," even though at the time racial tensions arguably were lower than ever before."
Tyler Cowen on Paul Krugman's new book "The Conscience of a Liberal." Though Cowen also has positive things to say about the book. Recently I have seen the race canard advanced as the explanation for republican dominance starting in the 80s. This ignores the fact that the 70s were a miserable period from any number of vantage points, mostly associated with liberal policies (though in the case of price controls liberal policies executed by a Republican, Dick Nixon). We had record high inflation and unemployment. Wage and price controls created shortages and a full fledged energy crisis. Public order was lacking and as a result crime was rising. In essence, there was a failure of governance. High tax burdens stifled growth. Maybe these things affected a shift in public views on governance?