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The Danish Voter
Democratic Ideals and Challenges
Rune Stubager, Kasper M. Hansen, Michael S. Lewis-Beck, and Richard Nadeau
University of Michigan Press, 2021
For many international experts, politicians, and commentators, Denmark stands out as an ideal society with a well-functioning welfare state, low levels of corruption, and a high degree of social and political stability. Like other countries, however, Denmark faces challenges brought on by overall societal changes—particularly the challenges of maintaining a prosperous economy and from the growing number of immigrants with different ethnic and religious backgrounds that have left their mark on Danish society over the past 50 years. But how have Danish voters reacted to these challenges?

The authors of The Danish Voter investigate a series of interesting questions concerning voters’ reactions to these macrosocial challenges and how their reactions affect the foundations for the ideal. Indeed, due to an electoral system open to new influences, the Danish case is an important test case for theories about political development of contemporary Western societies.

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The Deadlock of Democracy in Brazil
Barry Ames
University of Michigan Press, 2002
Many countries have experimented with different electoral rules in order either to increase involvement in the political system or make it easier to form stable governments. Barry Ames explores this important topic in one of the world's most populous and important democracies, Brazil. This book locates one of the sources of Brazil's "crisis of governance" in the nation's unique electoral system, a system that produces a multiplicity of weak parties and individualistic, pork-oriented politicians with little accountability to citizens. It explains the government's difficulties in adopting innovative policies by examining electoral rules, cabinet formation, executive-legislative conflict, party discipline and legislative negotiation.
The book combines extensive use of new sources of data, ranging from historical and demographic analysis in focused comparisons of individual states to unique sources of data for the exploration of legislative politics. The discussion of party discipline in the Chamber of Deputies is the first multivariate model of party cooperation or defection in Latin America that includes measures of such important phenomena as constituency effects, pork-barrel receipts, ideology, electoral insecurity, and intention to seek reelection. With a unique data set and a sophisticated application of rational choice theory, Barry Ames demonstrates the effect of different electoral rules for election to Brazil's legislature.
The readership of this book includes anyone wanting to understand the crisis of democratic politics in Brazil. The book will be especially useful to scholars and students in the areas of comparative politics, Latin American politics, electoral analysis, and legislative studies.
Barry Ames is the Andrew Mellon Professor of Comparative Politics and Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh.

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Demanding Choices
Opinion, Voting, and Direct Democracy
Shaun Bowler and Todd Donovan
University of Michigan Press, 2000
Referenda on important public policy questions have come to play a central role in policy making in many states. Referenda, or ballot propositions, have resulted in limits on taxation and limits on the number of terms of elected officials, and have dealt with bilingual education, campaign finances, and affirmative action, in states all over the country.
Shaun Bowler and Todd Donovan present a searching and original examination of how voters make decisions in direct referenda. The authors ask if voters have some information about the issue easily at their disposal and if they make choices that seem sensible given their interests and the information they have. Looking at the way voters respond to different kinds of questions, the authors suggest that while direct democracy has its failings, the flaws do not necessarily lie with citizens being "duped," nor with voters approving propositions they do not want or do not understand at some basic level.
As cynicism about government has increased many have sought to take policy questions out of the hands of elected officials and put the questions directly before the voters for decision. And yet many are skeptical about the ability of voters to make intelligent decisions about complex policy issues. This important book demonstrates that voters are capable of responding thoughtfully to referenda questions.
This book will appeal to students of contemporary American politics and electoral politics.
Shaun Bowler is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California at Irvine. Todd Donovan is Associate Professor of Political Science, Western Washington University.

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Democracy After Pinochet
Politics, Parties, and Elections in Chile
Alan Angell
University of London Press, 2007

This book explores how democracy has developed in Chile since the end of the military dictatorship in 1990. It brings together an examination of international influences on the country's political development with empirically based analyses of Chilean political institutions and change. Chapters one and two examine international aspects of the 1973 coup and how these influenced the development of politics inside Chile. Chapters three, four, and five provide empirical analyses of the 1989, 1993, and 1999/2000 presidential elections, respectively. Chapter six investigates how the Pinochet factor influenced developments after 1990 and the Chilean reaction to Pinochet's arrest in London in 1998. Chapter seven assesses changes in the Chilean party system and links these to similar processes elsewhere. The final chapter examines the paradox that despite economic and social advances, opinion polls report a low level of attachment to democracy and very low levels of confidence in political institutions.


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Democracy for Busy People
Kevin J. Elliott
University of Chicago Press, 2023
Advances an alternative approach to democratic reform that focuses on building institutions that empower people who have little time for politics.
How do we make democracy more equal? Although in theory, all citizens in a democracy have the right to participate in politics, time-consuming forms of participation often advantage some groups over others. Where some citizens may have time to wait in long lines to vote, to volunteer for a campaign, to attend community board meetings, or to stay up to date on national, state, and local news, other citizens struggle to do the same. Since not all people have the time or inclination to devote substantial energy to politics, certain forms of participation exacerbate existing inequalities.
Democracy for Busy People takes up the very real challenge of how to build a democracy that empowers people with limited time for politics. While many plans for democratic renewal emphasize demanding forms of political participation and daunting ideals of democratic citizenship, political theorist Kevin J. Elliott proposes a fundamentally different approach. He focuses instead on making democratic citizenship undemanding so that even busy people can be politically included. This approach emphasizes the core institutions of electoral democracy, such as political parties, against deliberative reforms and sortition. Timely and action-focused, Democracy for Busy People is necessary reading.

front cover of The Dictator's Dilemma at the Ballot Box
The Dictator's Dilemma at the Ballot Box
Electoral Manipulation, Economic Maneuvering, and Political Order in Autocracies
Masaaki Higashijima
University of Michigan Press, 2022

Contrary to our stereotypical views, dictators often introduce elections in which they refrain from employing blatant electoral fraud. Why do electoral reforms happen in autocracies? Do these elections destabilize autocratic rule? The Dictator’s Dilemma at the Ballot Box argues that strong autocrats who can garner popular support become less dependent on coercive electioneering strategies. When autocrats fail to design elections properly, elections backfire in the form of coups, protests, and the opposition’s stunning election victories. The book’s theoretical implications are tested on a battery of cross-national analyses with newly collected data on autocratic elections and in-depth comparative case studies of the two Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.


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Dilemmas of Political Change in Mexico
Edited by Kevin J. Middlebrook
University of London Press, 2004

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The Dimensions of Political Conflict
Elections and Social Inequalities in France, 1789–2019
Thomas Piketty
Harvard University Press

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Dynamic Democracy
Public Opinion, Elections, and Policymaking in the American States
Devin Caughey and Christopher Warshaw
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A new perspective on policy responsiveness in American government.
Scholars of American politics have long been skeptical of ordinary citizens’ capacity to influence, let alone control, their governments. Drawing on over eight decades of state-level evidence on public opinion, elections, and policymaking, Devin Caughey and Christopher Warshaw pose a powerful challenge to this pessimistic view. Their research reveals that although American democracy cannot be taken for granted, state policymaking is far more responsive to citizens’ demands than skeptics claim.
Although governments respond sluggishly in the short term, over the long term, electoral incentives induce state parties and politicians—and ultimately policymaking—to adapt to voters’ preferences. The authors take an empirical and theoretical approach that allows them to assess democracy as a dynamic process. Their evidence across states and over time gives them new leverage to assess relevant outcomes and trends, including the evolution of mass partisanship, mass ideology, and the relationship between partisanship and ideology since the mid-twentieth century; the nationalization of state-level politics; the mechanisms through which voters hold incumbents accountable; the performance of moderate candidates relative to extreme candidates; and the quality of state-level democracy today relative to state-level democracy in other periods.

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