Prominent Political Analyst Dies

( – Long before we had digital maps that lit up on election night in blue or red, we had Kevin P. Phillips – a political analyst who studied and drew political maps for research, data, and personal enjoyment. Kevin P. Phillips died at 82 with Alzheimer’s disease listed as a cause of death. He lived in Maryland before retiring to Florida.

The Harvard Law School-educated writer and data analyst claimed he was not an elitist and sought to ensure Republicans retained their country roots. He wrote the book, “The Emerging Republican Majority,” in 1969 and was involved in racial and social issues after working as a legislative aid for New York in the 1960s. His data and message were reaching new heights as Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign advisors wanted more information and data. Nixon hired Phillips, who was able to describe human behavior and logic for voting patterns in the tumultuous 1960s.

Over the course of an extensive writing career, Phillips wrote 14 other books, published newsletters, and wrote on various topics. He remained out of politics after leaving the Nixon administration in 1970, and it was his love of data that pushed him out. He also wrote for the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and was a regular commentator on NPR. Though he viewed himself as an independent populist who abhorred country club Republicans and evangelical conservatives, he remained registered as a Republican until his death.

Phillips was a compulsive statistician who loved data and found a home in national politics for a while. “The Emerging Republican Majority” continues to find readers today both in the aftermath of the Nixon administration that historians love to recall and in the ongoing topical fight that Republicans face today. The economic divide is undoubtedly different from what faced the Nixon administration and voters of the 1960s but it shows that people continue to fight for their beliefs.

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