Maintaining that the American political system is not working well enough to inspire confidence that it can meet the challenges o four time, H. Mark Roelofs attributes that failure, not to its practitioners, but to its very design. He sees that system as split between its legitimizing self-image, social democracy, and its operational element, liberal democracy.
Based on his novel understanding of the American political system, Roelofs presents a devastating and closely reasoned critique that traces our nation's political ills to fundamental flaws in the very design of its founding principles, the character of its major institutions, and the basic pattern of its processes. Dissecting our political and societal problems, he explains the limitations and basic contributions arising from the social democratic/liberal democratic dichotomy that result in our current political poverty.
While Roelofs's analysis remains the same as in the earlier edition, in this revised edition he has sharpened and extended the argument and expanded and updated his illustrative materials. Improved bibliographical citations and new diagrams make the book an even more useful teaching tool.