Public Opinion and the Political Future of the Nation's Capital
by Edward M. Meyers
Georgetown University Press, 1996
Paper: 978-0-87840-623-4
Library of Congress Classification JK2716.M49 1996
Dewey Decimal Classification 975.304


Despite widespread agreement that the District of Columbia's political system has collapsed, there is a serious lack of thoughtful proposals addressing the political future of the nation's capital. In this book, Edward M. Meyers examines the opinions of average Americans about Washington, D.C., in order to understand how many Americans are likely to approach the question of what reforms are needed.

Meyers first explores the political, economic, and social conditions of the District, providing an informed context for understanding and evaluating its political options. Presenting the results of in-depth qualitative research with focus groups held across the country, Meyers reveals that regardless of the participants' knowledge about the District, their beliefs in six basic concepts or schemata—such as respect for democratic rights, attitudes about race, and aversion to an intrusive federal government—molded their opinions about various options for District self-governance. The book concludes with insights into the District by local and national political leaders, including OMB Director Alice Rivlin, Jesse Jackson, Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton, Thomas Davis, and James Walsh, and Marion Barry.

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