America at Risk gathers original essays by a distinguished and bipartisan group of writers and intellectuals to address a question that matters to Americans of every political persuasion: what are some of the greatest dangers facing America today? The answers, which range from dwindling political participation to rising poverty, and religion to empire, add up to a valuable and timely portrait of a particular moment in the history of American ideas.
While the opinions are many, there is a central theme in the book: the corrosion of the liberal constitutional order that has long guided the country at home and abroad. The authors write about the demonstrably important dangers the United States faces while also breaking the usual academic boundaries: there are chapters on the family, religious polarization, immigration, and the economy, as well as on governmental and partisan issues.
America at Risk is required reading for all Americans alarmed about the future of their country.
James W. Ceaser
William A. Galston
Harvey C. Mansfield
Kay Lehman Schlozman
James Q. Wilson
Robert Faulkner is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Susan Shell is Professor of Political Science at Boston College.
"America at Risk goes well beyond the usual diagnoses of issues debated in public life like immigration, war, and debt, to consider the Republic’s founding principles, and the ways in which they have been displaced by newer thoughts and habits in contemporary America. A critical book for understanding our present condition."
—Francis Fukuyama, Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
"In this penetrating book, the nation’s finest social and political thinkers from across the spectrum take a careful and no-holds-barred look at the dangers facing the American political system. The conclusions are more unsettling than reassuring---but that is because they are honest and real."
—Norm Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
"In the midst of overwrought pundits, irate soccer moms, and outraged bloggers, it is difficult to distinguish genuine dangers from false alarms and special pleading. This book enables us to do so, in a way that helps us to actually think about, not just feel anxious about, threats to those features of American society that are worth cherishing. The authors range in ideology and expertise, but they are uniformly judicious, incisive, and informative. This is a fascinating book about issues that the political system usually ignores or exaggerates."
—Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
The nineteenth century was the heyday of furious contention between American political parties, and Joel Silbey has recaptured the drama and substance of those battles in a representative sampling of party pamphlets. The nature of political controversy, as well as the substance of politics, is embedded in these party documents which both united and divided Americans. Unlike today's party platforms, these pamphlets explicated real issues and gave insight into the society at large.
The nineteenth century was the heyday of furious contention between American political parties, and Joel Silbey has recaptured the drama and substance of those battles in a representative sampling of party pamphlets. Political parties mapped the landscape of electoral and ideological warfare, constructing images of themselves and of their adversaries that resonate and echo the basic characteristics of America's then reigning sets of ideas. The nature of political controversy, as well as the substance of politics, is embedded in these party documents which both united and divided Americans. Unlike today's party platforms, these pamphlets explicated real issues and gave insight into the society at large. Andrew Jackson's Democrats, Millard Fillmore's Whigs, Abraham Lincoln's Republicans, and other, lesser-known parties are represented here. The pamphlets demonstrate how, for this fifty-year period, political parties were surrogates for American demands and values. Broad in scope, widely circulated, catalysts for heated debate over the decades, these pamphlets are important documents in the history of American politics.
In an excellent introduction, Silbey teases out and elucidates the themes each party stressed and took as its own in its fight for the soul of the nation.
The American Voter
Angus Campbell, Philip E. Converse, Warren E. Miller, and Donald E. Stokes University of Chicago Press, 2008 Library of Congress JK1976.M5 1976 | Dewey Decimal 324.2
Here is the unabridged version of the classic theoretical study of voting behavior, originally published in 1960. It is a standard reference in the field of electoral research, presenting formulations of the theoretical issues that have been the focus of scholarly publication. No single study matches the study of The American Voter.
Banking on Reform examines the political determinants of recent reforms to monetary policy institutions in the industrial democracies. With these reforms, political parties have sought to draw on the political credibility of an independent central bank to cope with electoral consequences of economic internalization and deindustrialization.
New Zealand and Italy made the initial efforts to grant their central banks independence. More recently, France, Spain, Britain, and Sweden have reformed their central banks' independence. Additionally, members of the European Union have implemented a single currency, with an independent European central bank to administer monetary policy.
Banking on Reform stresses the politics surrounding the choice of these institutions, specifically the motivations of political parties. Where intraparty conflicts have threatened the party's ability to hold office, politicians have adopted an independent central bank. Where political parties have been secluded from the political consequences of economic change, reform has been thwarted or delayed. The drive toward a single currency also reflects these political concerns. By delegating monetary policy to the European level, politicians in the member states removed a potentially divisive issue from the domestic political agenda, allowing parties to rebuild their support constructed on the basis of other issues. William T. Bernhard provides a variety of evidence to support his argument, such as in-depth case accounts of recent central bank reforms in Italy and Britain, the role of the German Bundesbank in the policy process, and the adoption of the single currency in Europe. Additionally, he utilizes quantitative and statistical tests to enhance his argument.
This book will appeal to political scientists, economists, and other social scientists interested in the political and institutional consequences of economic globalization.
William T. Bernhard is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
It has been estimated that more than three million political ads were televised leading up to the elections of 2004. More than $800,000,000 was spent on TV ads in the race for the White House alone and presidential candidates, along with their party and interest group allies, broadcast over a million ads -- more than twice the number aired before the 2000 elections. What were the consequences of this barrage of advertising?
Were viewers turned off by political advertising to the extent that it disuaded them from voting, as some critics suggest? Did they feel more connected to political issues and the political system or were they alienated? These are the questions this book answers, based on a unique, robust, and extensive database dedicated to political advertising.
Confronting prevailing opinion, the authors of this carefully researched work find that political ads may actually educate, engage, and mobilize American voters. Only in the rarest of circumstances do they have negative impacts.
Efforts to reform the U.S. campaign finance system typically focus on the corrupting influence of large contributions. Yet, as Raymond J. La Raja and Brian F. Schaffner argue, reforms aimed at cutting the flow of money into politics have unintentionally favored candidates with extreme ideological agendas and, consequently, fostered political polarization.
Drawing on data from 50 states and the U.S. Congress over 20 years, La Raja and Schaffner reveal that current rules allow wealthy ideological groups and donors to dominate the financing of political campaigns. In order to attract funding, candidates take uncompromising positions on key issues and, if elected, take their partisan views into the legislature. As a remedy, the authors propose that additional campaign money be channeled through party organizations—rather than directly to candidates—because these organizations tend to be less ideological than the activists who now provide the lion’s share of money to political candidates. Shifting campaign finance to parties would ease polarization by reducing the influence of “purist” donors with their rigid policy stances.
La Raja and Schaffner conclude the book with policy recommendations for campaign finance in the United States. They are among the few non-libertarians who argue that less regulation, particularly for political parties, may in fact improve the democratic process.
The 2008 election was an extraordinary event that represented change at many levels. The candidates’ innovative campaigns changed how funds were raised, how voters were mobilized, and how messages were communicated through advertising and the internet. Parties and interest groups played their own important role in this historic election. In The Change Election, David Magleby assembles a team of accomplished political scientists to provide an in-depth analysis of this groundbreaking presidential election. These scholars through a set of compelling case studies examine the competition for votes in a dozen competitive House and Senate contests and for the White House in five states: Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Backed by a wealth of data, and extensive interviews, the contributors offer an up-close look at the interactions of candidates' individual skills and personalities with the larger political forces at work in the election year. The book offers insights into the rapidly evolving organizational and technical aspects of campaigning. The dramatic success Obama and other candidates had in raising money—especially from small donors—is addressed along with how money was raised and spent by the candidates, party committees, and interest groups competing for votes.
Building on a tested methodology, The Change Election explores the interplay of money and electioneering. Magleby builds on more than a decade of prior studies to show the ways participants in our electoral process have adapted to statutory and judicial decisions and how the 2008 election has the potential to transform American electoral politics.
Choices and Changes is the most comprehensive examination to date of the impact of interest groups on recent American electoral politics. Richly informed, theoretically and empirically, it is the first book to explain the emergence of aggressive interest group electioneering tactics in the mid-1990s—including “soft money” contributions, issue ads, and “527s” (IRS-classified political organizations).
Michael Franz argues that changing political and legal contexts have clearly influenced the behavior of interest groups. To support his argument, he tracks in detail the evolution of campaign finance laws since the 1970s, examines all soft money contributions—nearly $1 billion in total—to parties by interest groups from 1991-2002, and analyzes political action committee (PAC) contributions to candidates and parties from 1983-2002. He also draws on his own interviews with campaign finance leaders.
Based on this rigorous data analysis and a formidable knowledge of its subject, Choices and Changes substantially advances our understanding of the significance of interest groups in U.S. politics.
Over the last two decades, right-wing populist parties in Western Europe have gained sizable vote shares and power, much to the fascination and consternation of political observers. Meshing traditionalism and communitarian ideals, right-wing populist parties have come to represent a polar normative ideal to the New Left in Western Europe. In his dynamic study Cleavage Politics and the Populist Right, Simon Bornschier applies a cultural as well as political dimension to analyze the parties of both the right and left in six countries. He develops a theory that integrates the role of political conflict around both established cleavages and party strategies regarding new divisions to explain the varying fortunes of the populist right.
During the early part of this decade, many individuals, both policy makers and scholars, wondered about the "new look" of some communist parties as they billed themselves as potential participants in the pluralistic game of politics in many parts of the world. This image was certainly different from the old notion of dedicated revolutionaries who scornfully rejected the existing order and plotted its overflow. How genuine was the new look? Were the communists sincere when they discussed interaction with other elements of political order in which they operated? What were their tactical policies in pursuit of these strategic goals? Some of us began to examine these questions more systematically. We ran a panel at an academic conference, enjoyed the feedback from our colleagues, and began the process of writing this book. Now, several years later, it is a finished product, after many full-scale revisions and updates. The topic is still very relevant, and that shows the enduring importance of the questions asked a number of years ago. Scholars will need to return to this question in the future; perhaps the best strategy is a continuous examination of this crucial subject.
Close competition for majority party control of the U.S. House of Representatives has transformed the congressional parties from legislative coalitions into partisan fundraising machines. With the need for ever increasing sums of money to fuel the ongoing campaign for majority control, both Republicans and Democrats have made large donations to the party and its candidates mandatory for members seeking advancement within party and congressional committee hierarchies.
Eric S. Heberlig and Bruce A. Larson not only analyze this development, but also discuss its implications for American government and democracy. They address the consequences of selecting congressional leaders on the basis of their fundraising skills rather than their legislative capacity and the extent to which the battle for majority control leads Congress to prioritize short-term electoral gains over long-term governing and problem-solving.
Why have conservatives fared so much better than progressives in recent decades, even though polls show no significant move to the right in public opinion? Cultural Dilemmas of Progressive Politics highlights one reason: that progressives often adopt impoverished modes of discourse, ceding the moral high ground to their conservative rivals. Stephen Hart also shows that some progressive groups are pioneering more robust ways of talking about their issues and values, providing examples other progressives could emulate.
Through case studies of grassroots movements—particularly the economic justice work carried on by congregation-based community organizing and the pursuit of human rights by local members of Amnesty International—Hart shows how these groups develop distinctive ways of talking about politics and create characteristic stories, ceremonies, and practices. According to Hart, the way people engage in politics matters just as much as the content of their ideas: when activists make the moral basis for their activism clear, engage issues with passion, and articulate a unified social vision, they challenge the recent ascendancy of conservative discourse.
On the basis of these case studies, Hart addresses currently debated topics such as individualism in America and whether strains of political thought strongly informed by religion and moral values are compatible with tolerance and liberty.
Gutmann and Thompson show how a deliberative democracy can address some of our most difficult controversies--from abortion and affirmative action to health care and welfare--and can allow diverse groups to reason together.
Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens offer the most systematic examination to date of the origins, character, effects, and prospects of generous welfare states in advanced industrial democracies in the post—World War II era. They demonstrate that prolonged government by different parties results in markedly different welfare states, with strong differences in levels of poverty and inequality. Combining quantitative studies with historical qualitative research, the authors look closely at nine countries that achieved high degrees of social protection through different types of welfare regimes: social democratic states, Christian democratic states, and "wage earner" states. In their analysis, the authors emphasize the distribution of influence between political parties and labor movements, and also focus on the underestimated importance of gender as a basis for mobilization.
Building on their previous research, Huber and Stephens show how high wages and generous welfare states are still possible in an age of globalization and trade competition.
The election of populist politicians in recent years seems to challenge the commitment to democracy, if not its ideal. This book argues that majority rule is not the problem; rather, the institutions that stabilize majorities are responsible for the suppression of minority interests. Despite the popular notion that social choice instability (or “cycling”) makes it impossible for majorities to make sound legislation, Yuhui Li argues that the best part of democracy is not the large number of people on the winning side; it is that the winners can be easily divided and realigned with the losers in the cycling process. He shows that minorities’ bargaining power depends on their ability to exploit division within the winning coalition and induce its members to defect, an institutionalized uncertainty that is missing in one-party authoritarian systems.
Dividing the Rulers theorizes why such division within the majority is important and what kind of institutional features can help a democratic system maintain such division, which is crucial in preventing the “tyranny of the majority.” These institutional solutions point to a direction of institutional reform that academics, politicians, and voters should collectively pursue.
Until now, the critical shift in Southern political allegiance from Democratic to Republican has been explained, by scholars and journalists, as a white backlash to the civil rights revolution. In this myth-shattering book, Byron Shafer and Richard Johnston refute that view, one stretching all the way back to V. O. Key in his classic book Southern Politics. The true story is instead one of dramatic class reversal, beginning in the 1950s and pulling everything else in its wake.
A parliamentary scandal that dominates the headlines. The resignation of major party figures. Commentators and citizens wondering if the British government—and the people’s faith in it—will survive. Before Brexit, another major crisis rocked the foundation of government in the country: the expenses scandal of 2009.
Featuring interviews with the members of parliament, journalists, and officials close to the center of the turmoil, An Extraordinary Scandal tells the story of what really happened. Andrew Walker, the tax expert who oversaw the parliamentary expenses system, and Emma Crewe, a social scientist specializing in the institutions of parliament, bring fascinating perspectives—from both inside and outside parliament—to this account. Far from attempting provide a defense of any the parties involved, An Extraordinary Scandal explains how the parliament fell out of step with the electorate and became a victim of its own remote institutional logic, growing to become at odds with an increasingly open, meritocratic society.
Charting the crisis from its 1990s origins—when Westminster began, too slowly, to respond to wider societal changes—to its aftermath in 2010, the authors examine how the scandal aggravated the developing crisis of trust between the British electorate and Westminster politicians that continues to this day. Their in-depth research reveals new insight into how the expenses scandal acted as a glimpse of what was to come, and they reveal where the scandal’s legacy can be traced in the new age of mistrust and outrage, in which politicians are often unfairly vulnerable to being charged in the court of public opinion by those they represent.
At first glance, campaign finance reform looks like a good idea. McCain-Feingold, for instance, regulates campaigns by prohibiting national political parties from accepting soft money contributions from corporations, labor unions, and wealthy individuals. But are such measures, or any of the numerous and similarly restrictive proposals that have circulated through Washington in recent years, really good for our democracy?
John Samples says no, and here he takes a penetrating look into the premises and consequences of the long crusade against big money in politics. How many Americans, he asks, know that there is little to no evidence that campaign contributions really influence members of Congress? Or that so-called negative political advertising actually improves the democratic process by increasing voter turnout and knowledge? Or that limits on campaign contributions make it harder to run for office, thereby protecting incumbent representatives from losing their seats of power?
Posing tough questions such as these, Samples uncovers numerous fallacies beneath proposals for campaign finance reform. He argues that our most common concerns about money in politics are misplaced because the ideals implicit in our notion of corruption are incoherent or indefensible. The chance to regulate money in politics allows representatives to serve their own interests at a cost to their constituents. And, ironically, this long crusade against the corruption caused by campaign contributions allows public officials to reduce their vulnerability by suppressing electoral competition.
Defying long-held ssumptions and conventional political wisdom, The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform is a provocative and decidedly nonpartisan work that will be essential for anyone concerned about the future of American government.
Far-Right Politics in Europe
Jean-Yves Camus Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress JC573.2.E85C3613 2017 | Dewey Decimal 320.533094
Jean-Yves Camus and Nicolas Lebourg’s critical look at the far right throughout Europe reveals a prehistory and politics more complex than the stereotypes suggest and warns of the challenges it poses to the EU’s liberal-democratic order. These movements are determined to gain power through legitimate electoral means, and they are succeeding.
Praise for Henry Paolucci: A Conservative Voice for All Seasons
“During the Conservative Party’s formative years, Henry Paolucci combined tactical advice with an uncompromising adherence to principle. He was a powerful orator, and his special blend of populist conservatism contributed to his party’s extraordinary inroads among traditional Democrats. This book adds to our knowledge of a third party that has had a profound impact on the Empire State’s politics.”
—James L. Buckley, former U.S. senator
“Before there was U.S. Senator James Buckley, there was New York City mayoral candidate William F. Buckley Jr., and before there was Bill Buckley, there was Henry Paolucci, 1964 senatorial candidate of the Conservative Party of New York State, whose unflinching stand for the right ideas and policies confounded liberals and inspired conservatives. Anne Paolucci’s clear-eyed portrait of her late husband is filled with lessons for today.”
—Lee Edwards, author of William F. Buckley Jr.: The Maker of a Movement
“An important account of the stellar role Professor Henry Paolucci played within the Conservative Party in its formative stages. . . . We owe a great debt of gratitude to Anne Paolucci for this excellent review of her husband’s life as a conservative thinker, scholar, and leader.”
—Serphin R. Maltese, former chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, former New York state senator
“When I was privileged to run for governor on the Conservative line, I used Henry Paolucci’s campaign as my guidepost. With this fiftieth-anniversary celebration, it would be wise for Conservative leaders to recall Henry’s contributions and to employ them as a standard for the party and for the nation as a whole.”
—Herbert London, president emeritus of Hudson Institute
“Fascinating. Anne Paolucci provides an important overview of the many contributions her husband made to the conservative cause in America.”
—Wayne Thorburn, author of A Generation Awakes: Young Americans for Freedom and the Creation of the Conservative Movement
Over the past fifteen years, a New Black Politics has swept black candidates into office and registered black voters in numbers unimaginable since the days of Reconstruction. Based on interviews with a representative sample of nearly 1,000 voting-age black Americans, Hope and Independence explores blacks' attitudes toward electoral and party politics and toward Jesse Jackson's first presidential bid. Viewed in the light of black political history, the survey reveals enduring themes of hope (for eventual inclusion in traditional politics, despite repeated disappointments) and independence (a strategy of operating outside conventional political institutions in order to achieve incorporation). The authors describe a black electorate that is less alienated than many have suggested. Blacks are more politically engaged than whites with comparable levels of education. And despite growing economic inequality in the black community, the authors find no serious class-based political cleavage. Underlying the widespread support for Jackson among blacks, a distinction emerges between "common fate" solidarity, which is pro-black, committed to internal criticism of the Democratic party, and conscious of commonality with other disadvantaged groups, and "exclusivist" solidarity, which is pro-black but also hostile to whites and less empathetic to other minorities. This second, more divisive type of solidarity expresses itself in the desire for a separate black party or a vote black strategy—but its proponents constitute a small minority of the black electorate and show surprisingly hopeful attitudes toward the Democratic party. Hope and Independence will be welcomed by readers concerned with opinion research, the sociology of race, and the psychology of group consciousness. By probing the attitudes of individual blacks in the context of a watershed campaign, this book also makes a vital contribution to our grasp of current electoral politics.
In recent decades, Ireland’s three major political parties have maintained over 80 percent of the vote in the face of rapidly shifting social divisions, political values, and controversial issues, though not by giving voice to particular interest groups or reacting to issues of the day. Rather, Sean D. McGraw reveals how party leaders select, or purposely sideline, pressing political and social issues in order to preserve their competitive advantage. By relegating divisive issues to extraparliamentary institutions, such as referenda or national wage bargaining systems, major parties mitigate the effects of changing environments and undermine the appeal of minor parties.
This richly textured case study of the major parties in the Republic of Ireland engages the broader comparative argument that political parties actively shape which choices are available to the electorate and—just as importantly—which are not. Additionally, McGraw sets a new standard for mixed-method research by employing public opinion surveys, party manifestos, content analysis of media coverage, the author’s own survey of nearly two-thirds of Irish parliamentarians in both 2010 and 2012, and personal interviews conducted over the course of six years.
The rise of the Tea Party redefined both the Republican Party and how we think about intraparty conflict. What initially appeared to be an anti-Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives matured into a faction that sought to increase its influence in the Republican Party by any means necessary. Tea Partiers captured the party’s organizational machinery and used it to replace established politicians with Tea Party–style Republicans, eventually laying the groundwork for the nomination and election of a candidate like Donald Trump.
In How the Tea Party Captured the GOP, Rachel Marie Blum approaches the Tea Party from the angle of party politics, explaining the Tea Party’s insurgent strategies as those of a party faction. Blum offers a novel theory of factions as miniature parties within parties, discussing how fringe groups can use factions to increase their political influence in the US two-party system. In this richly researched book, the author uncovers how the electoral losses of 2008 sparked disgruntled Republicans to form the Tea Party faction, and the strategies the Tea Party used to wage a systematic takeover of the Republican Party. This book not only illuminates how the Tea Party achieved its influence, but also provides a framework for identifying other factional insurgencies.
In Ill-Advised: Presidential Health and Public Trust, now available in paperback, noted historian Robert H. Ferrell presents powerful evidence of frightening medical scandals in the White House. Malpractice, missing public records, and politically motivated cover-ups have hidden sometimes severe presidential illnesses from the American people. Ferrell traces these often shocking incidents--from Grover Cleveland's secret surgery for cancer to the questionable reporting on the health of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People offers an up-to-date and broad analysis of the contemporary state of Malaysian politics and society. Transcending disciplinary boundaries, it offers a look at Malaysian politics not only through the lens of political science but also anthropology, cultural studies, international relations, political economy and legal studies touching on both overlooked topics in Malaysian political life as well as the emerging trends which will shape Malaysia’s future. Covering silat martial arts, Malaysia’s constitutional identity, emergency legislation, the South China Sea dilemma, ISIS discourse, zakat payment, the fallout from the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s green movement, Illusions of Democracy charts the complex and multi-faceted nature of political life in a semi-authoritarian state, breaking down the illusions which keep it functioning, to uncover the mechanisms which really underlie the paradoxical longevity of Malaysia’s political, economic and social system.
As immigration from Asia and Latin America reshapes the demographic composition of the U.S., some analysts have anticipated the decline of conservative white evangelicals’ influence in politics. Yet, Donald Trump captured a larger share of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election than any candidate in the previous four presidential elections. Why has the political clout of white evangelicals persisted at a time of increased racial and ethnic diversity? In Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change, political scientist Janelle Wong examines a new generation of Asian American and Latino evangelicals and offers an account of why demographic change has not contributed to a political realignment.
Asian Americans and Latinos currently constitute 13 percent of evangelicals, and their churches are among the largest, fastest growing organizations in their communities. While evangelical identity is associated with conservative politics, Wong draws from national surveys and interviews to show that non-white evangelicals express political attitudes that are significantly less conservative than those of their white counterparts. Black, Asian American, and Latino evangelicals are much more likely to support policies such as expanded immigration rights, increased taxation of the wealthy, and government interventions to slow climate change. As Wong argues, non-white evangelicals’ experiences as members of racial or ethnic minority groups often lead them to adopt more progressive political views compared to their white counterparts.
However, despite their growth in numbers, non-white evangelicals—particularly Asian Americans and Latinos—are concentrated outside of swing states, have lower levels of political participation than white evangelicals, and are less likely to be targeted by political campaigns. As a result, white evangelicals dominate the evangelical policy agenda and are overrepresented at the polls. Also, many white evangelicals have adopted even more conservative political views in response to rapid demographic change, perceiving, for example, that discrimination against Christians now rivals discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities.
Wong demonstrates that immigrant evangelicals are neither “natural” Republicans nor “natural” Democrats. By examining the changing demographics of the evangelical movement, Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change sheds light on an understudied constituency that has yet to find its political home.
Historically, most black voters in the United States have aligned themselves with one of the two major parties: the Republican Party from the time of the Civil War to the New Deal and, since the New Deal—and especially since the height of the modern civil rights movement—the Democratic Party. However, as In the Balance of Power convincingly demonstrates, African Americans have long been part of independent political movements and have used third parties to advance some of the most important changes in the United States, notably the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, and the enforcement of civil rights.
Since the early nineteenth century, there has been an undercurrent of political independence among African Americans. They helped develop the Liberty Party in the 1840s and have continued to work with third parties to challenge the policies of the two major parties. But despite the legal gains of the modern civil rights movement, elements of Jim Crow remain deeply embedded in our electoral process.
In the Balance of Power presents a history and analysis of African American third-party movements that can help us better understand the growing diversity among black voters today.
In an important social change, female Muslim political leaders in Java have enjoyed considerable success in direct local elections following the fall of Suharto in Indonesia. Indonesian Women and Local Politics shows that Islam, gender, and social networks have been decisive in their political victories. Islamic ideas concerning female leadership provide a strong religious foundation for their political campaigns. However, their approach to women's issues shows that female leaders do not necessarily adopt a woman's perspectives when formulating policies. This new trend of Muslim women in politics will continue to shape the growth and direction of democratization in local politics in post-Suharto Indonesia and will color future discourse on gender, politics, and Islam in contemporary Southeast Asia.
Indonesia’s democratic political parties developed rapidly after the end of the New Order era (1966–1998). Based on extensive fieldwork, this book provides a new and necessary perspective on the activities, administration, and membership of the local branches of four large parties. The author also addresses why some political parties in Indonesia have managed to strengthen their institutional base while others have failed to do the same. A significant contribution to understanding grassroots party organization in Indonesia, this timely volume provides insight into the state of parties in advance of the 2014 elections.
Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party in May 2001 and became an independent. Because he agreed to vote with the Democrats on organizational votes, this gave that party a 51–49 majority in the Senate.
Using the “Jeffords switch,” Chris Den Hartog and Nathan W. Monroe examine how power is shared and transferred in the Senate, as well as whether Democratic bills became more successful after the switch. They also use the data after the switch, when the Republican Party still held a majority on many Democratic Party-led committees, to examine the power of the committee chairs to influence decisions. While the authors find that the majority party does influence Senate decisions, Den Hartog and Monroe are more interested in exploring the method and limits of the majority party to achieve its goals.
Written in lucid, vigorous prose, La Follette's Autobiography is the famous Wisconsin senator's own account of his political life and philosophy. Both memoir and a history of the Progressive cause in the United States, it charts La Follette's formative years in politics, his attempts to abolish entrenched, ruthless state and corporate influences, and his embattled efforts to advance Progressive policies as Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator. With a new foreword by Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive—the magazine that La Follette himself founded—the Autobiography remains a powerful reminder of the legacies of Progressivism and reform and the enduring voice of the man who fought for them.
The La Follettes of Wisconsin—Robert, Belle, and their children, Bob Jr., Phil, Fola, and Mary—are vividly brought to life in this collective biography of an American political family. As governor of Wisconsin (1901–06) and U.S. Senator (1906–25), "Fighting Bob" battled relentlessly for his Progressive vision of democracy—an idealistic mixture of informed citizenry and enlightened egalitarianism.
By contrast, the private man suffered from intense, isolated periods of depression and relied heavily on his family for survival. Together, "Old Bob" and his beloved wife, Belle Case La Follette—a lawyer, journalist, and Progressive leader in her own right—raised their children in the distinctly uncompromising La Follette tradition of challenging social and political ills. Fola became a campaigner for women's suffrage, Phil was governor of Wisconsin, and "Young Bob" became a U.S. senator.
In recent Congresses, roughly half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives served in whip organizations and on party committees. According to Scott R. Meinke, rising electoral competition and polarization over the past 40 years have altered the nature of party participation. In the 1970s and 1980s, the participation of a wide range of members was crucial to building consensus. Since then, organizations responsible for coordination in the party have become dominated by those who follow the party line. At the same time, key leaders in the House use participatory organizations less as forums for internal deliberations over policy and strategy than as channels for exchanging information with supporters outside Congress, and broadcasting sharply partisan campaign messages to the public.
Left Legalism/Left Critique
Wendy Brown and Janet Halley, eds. Duke University Press, 2002 Library of Congress KF380.L44 2002 | Dewey Decimal 340.1
In recent decades, left political projects in the United States have taken a strong legalistic turn. From affirmative action to protection against sexual harassment, from indigenous peoples’ rights to gay marriage, the struggle to eliminate subordination or exclusion and to achieve substantive equality has been waged through courts and legislation. At the same time, critiques of legalism have generally come to be regarded by liberal and left reformers as politically irrelevant at best, politically disunifying and disorienting at worst. This conjunction of a turn toward left legalism with a turn away from critique has hardened an intellectually defensive, brittle, and unreflective left sensibility at a moment when precisely the opposite is needed. Certainly, the left can engage strategically with the law, but if it does not also track the effects of this engagement—effects that often exceed or even redound againstits explicit aims—it will unwittingly foster political institutions and doctrines strikingly at odds with its own values.
Brown and Halley have assembled essays from diverse contributors—law professors, philosophers, political theorists, and literary critics—united chiefly by their willingness to think critically from the left about left legal projects. The essays themselves vary by topic, by theoretical approach, and by conclusion. While some contributors attempt to rework particular left legal projects, others insist upon abandoning or replacing those projects. Still others leave open the question of what is to be done as they devote their critical attention to understanding what we are doing. Above all, Left Legalism/Left Critique is a rare contemporary argument and model for the intellectually exhilarating and politically enriching dimensions of left critique—dimensions that persist even, and perhaps especially, when critique is unsure of the intellectual and political possibilities it may produce.
Contributors: Lauren Berlant, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell, Richard T. Ford, Katherine M. Franke, Janet Halley, Mark Kelman, David Kennedy, Duncan Kennedy, Gillian Lester, Michael Warner
In the early 1980s both the British Labour Party and the West German Social Democrats (SPD), confronted with serious internal challenges from the political left, experienced an erosion of support that resulted in the emergence of new political parties—the British Social Democratic Party and the West German Green Party. Explicitly comparative, this study presents a theoretically innovative analysis while offering a sophisticated understanding of the political confrontations between social democrats, the new left, traditional socialists, and trade unionists in both Britain and West Germany. By focusing on the established parties rather than on external developments, Koelble departs from conventional methodology regarding the fortunes of political parties. In examining the fundamental processes of decision making and coalition building within the SPD and the Labour Party, he argues that it is the organizational structures within parties that shape political results by setting limits, creating opportunities, and determining strategies.
Left-leaning political parties play an important role as representatives of the poor and disempowered. They once did so by promising protections from the forces of capital and the market’s tendencies to produce inequality. But in the 1990s they gave up on protection, asking voters to adapt to a market-driven world. Meanwhile, new, extreme parties began to promise economic protections of their own—albeit in an angry, anti-immigrant tone.
To better understand today’s strange new political world, Stephanie L. Mudge’s Leftism Reinvented analyzes the history of the Swedish and German Social Democrats, the British Labour Party, and the American Democratic Party. Breaking with an assumption that parties simply respond to forces beyond their control, Mudgeargues that left parties’ changing promises expressed the worldviews of different kinds of experts. To understand how left parties speak, we have to understand the people who speak for them.
Leftism Reinvented shows how Keynesian economists came to speak for left parties by the early 1960s. These economists saw their task in terms of discretionary, politically-sensitive economic management. But in the 1980s a new kind of economist, who viewed the advancement of markets as left parties’ main task, came to the fore. Meanwhile, as voters’ loyalties to left parties waned, professional strategists were called upon to “spin” party messages. Ultimately, left parties undermined themselves, leaving a representative vacuum in their wake. Leftism Reinvented raises new questions about the roles and responsibilities of left parties—and their experts—in politics today.
American politics is typically a story about winners. The fading away of defeated politicians and political movements is a feature of American politics that ensures political stability and a peaceful transition of power. But American history has also been built on defeated candidates, failed presidents, and social movements that at pivotal moments did not dissipate as expected but instead persisted and eventually achieved success for the loser’s ideas and preferred policies.
With Legacies of Losing in American Politics, Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow rethink three pivotal moments in American political history: the founding, when anti-Federalists failed to stop the ratification of the Constitution; the aftermath of the Civil War, when President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the South to the Union was defeated; and the 1964 presidential campaign, when Barry Goldwater’s challenge to the New Deal order was soundly defeated by Lyndon B. Johnson. In each of these cases, the very mechanisms that caused the initial failures facilitated their eventual success. After the dust of the immediate political defeat settled, these seemingly discredited ideas and programs disrupted political convention by prevailing, often subverting, and occasionally enhancing constitutional fidelity. Tulis and Mellow present a nuanced story of winning and losing and offer a new understanding of American political development as the interweaving of opposing ideas.
Lincoln and the Abolitionists
Stanley Harrold Southern Illinois University Press, 2018 Library of Congress E457.2.H35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Winner, ISHS Best of Illinois History Award, 2019
Abraham Lincoln has often been called the “Great Emancipator.” But he was not among those Americans who, decades before the Civil War, favored immediate emancipation of all slaves inside the United States. Those who did were the abolitionists—the men and women who sought freedom and equal rights for all African Americans. Stanley Harrold traces how, despite Lincoln’s political distance from abolitionists, they influenced his evolving political orientation before and during the Civil War.
While explaining how the abolitionist movement evolved, Harrold also clarifies Lincoln’s connections with and his separation from this often fiery group. For most of his life Lincoln regarded abolitionists as dangerous fanatics. Like many northerners during his time, Lincoln sought compromise with the white South regarding slavery, opposed abolitionist radicalism, and doubted that free black people could have a positive role in America. Yet, during the 1840s and 1850s, conservative northern Democrats as well as slaveholders branded Lincoln an abolitionist because of his sympathy toward black people and opposition to the expansion of slavery.
Lincoln’s election to the presidency and the onslaught of the Civil War led to a transformation of his relationship with abolitionists. Lincoln’s original priority as president had been to preserve the Union, not to destroy slavery. Nevertheless many factors—including contacts with abolitionists—led Lincoln to favor ending slavery. After Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and raised black troops, many, though not all, abolitionists came to view him more favorably.
Providing insight into the stressful, evolving relationship between Lincoln and the abolitionists, and also into the complexities of northern politics, society, and culture during the Civil War era, this concise volume illuminates a central concern in Lincoln’s life and presidency.
Since 1932 elections and decision making in Chicago have been dominated by the Regular Democratic Organization of Cook County, led for a quarter of a century by the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. The extraordinary longevity of this Democratic machine provides the basis for this penetrating investigation into the nature of machine politics and grassroots party organization.
For three years, Thomas M. Guterbock participated in the daily activities of the Regular Democratic Organization in one North Side Chicago ward in order to discover how political machines win the support of the urban electorate. Guterbock's participant observation data, supplemented by a sample survey of ward residents' attitudes toward, and contacts with the machine, provide convincing evidence that the most widely accepted notions of how political machines work are no longer correct.
Contrary to conventional wisdom about the machine, Guterbock finds that the party does not secure votes by doing "favors" for people, nor do services rendered determine actual voting behavior. Instead, party loyalty is governed by such factors as social status, educational achievement, and bureaucratic competence. Guterbock finds that Democratic loyalists are drawn disproportionately from the ward's lowest strata. Ironically, the characteristics of these loyal Democrats contrast sharpely with the characteristics of those most likely to use party services.
What keeps the machine going, then? To answer this question, Guterbock takes us behind the scenes for a unique look inside the ward club. He shows how members develop loyalty and motivation beyond concern for their own pocketbooks. And he analyzes the public involvement of machine politicians in neighborhood affairs, describing the skillful—sometimes devious—ways in which they appeal to their constituents' sense of community. By focusing on the interplay of party loyalty and community attachments, Guterbock is able to explain the continued hegemony of Chicago's political machine and its enduring image of legitimacy.
For much of her career Mary Louise Smith stood alone as a woman in a world of politics run by men. After devoting over two decades of her life to politics, she eventually became the first, and only, woman chairman of the Republican National Committee. Suzanne O’Dea examines Smith’s rise and fall within the party and analyzes her strategies for gaining the support of Republican Party leaders.
Smith’s leadership skills grew from the time she worked in rural precincts. During her twenty-eight months as chairman, Smith dealt with highs and lows as she blazed not only a trail of her own but also one for the Republican Party, including assembling the team that kept the party intact following the devastation of Watergate. She was present during the party’s shift from moderate leadership, as exemplified by Ford, to the increasingly conservative leadership still seen today. Smith was an advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, a supporter of the pro-choice movement, and a proponent of gay rights.
Though handpicked by President Ford, Smith still found herself struggling against the party and at times even against the president himself. At one point Smith lost months of fundraising opportunities as a result of a disagreement with the president. She and her staff developed innovative strategies, still used in the party today, to attract desperately needed dollars from major donors. Even so, people within the administration as well as unnamed party leaders regularly intimated that Smith’s days as chairman were numbered. Even after leaving the chairmanship, Smith remained loyal to the party from which she felt increasingly alienated.
O’Dea uses extensive personal interviews with Smith and her staff at the RNC to recount not only Smith’s and the GOP’s changing fortunes but also the challenges Republican women faced as they worked to gain a larger party presence. These behind-the-scenes perspectives show the tactics and strategies of the Republican Party’s power struggles along with Smith’s own opinions about leadership style. With relevance to today’s political strategies and conservative shift, O’Dea highlights Mary Louise Smith’s mark on Republican history.
Parliamentary democracy is the most common regime type in the contemporary political world, but the quality of governance depends on effective parliamentary oversight and strong political parties. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have traditionally been strongholds of parliamentary democracy. In recent years, however, critics have suggested that new challenges such as weakened popular attachment, the advent of cartel parties, the judicialization of politics, and European integration have threatened the institutions of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic region.
This volume examines these claims and their implications. The authors find that the Nordic states have moved away from their previous resemblance to a Westminster model toward a form of parliamentary democracy with more separation-of-powers features—a Madisonian model. These features are evident both in vertical power relations (e.g., relations with the European Union) and horizontal ones (e.g., increasingly independent courts and central banks). Yet these developments are far from uniform and demonstrate that there may be different responses to the political challenges faced by contemporary Western democracies.
Most research on two-party elections has considered the outcome as a single, dichotomous event: either one or the other party wins. In this groundbreaking book, James Fowler and Oleg Smirnov investigate not just who wins, but by how much, and they marshal compelling evidence that mandates-in the form of margin of victory-matter. Using theoretical models, computer simulation, carefully designed experiments, and empirical data, the authors show that after an election the policy positions of both parties move in the direction preferred by the winning party-and they move even more if the victory is large. In addition, Fowler and Smirnov not only show that the divergence between the policy positions of the parties is greatest when the previous election was close, but also that policy positions are further influenced by electoral volatility and ideological polarization.
This pioneering book will be of particular interest to political scientists, game theoreticians, and other scholars who study voting behavior and its short-term and long-range effects on public policy.
This study of the influence minority parties wield is both a major work of political science scholarship and a timely examination of an issue with real consequences for the functioning of democratic legislatures and the creation of legislation.
Challenging conventional assumptions that the majority party dominates the legislature, Jennifer Hayes Clark investigates precisely the ways in which—and under what conditions—members of the minority party successfully pursue their interests. For this study, Clark collects fine-grained data from both the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to get a close look at three key points in the legislative process: committee assignments, bill cosponsorship, and roll-call votes. She finds that minority party members are not systematically excluded throughout the policymaking process. Indeed, their capacity to shape legislative decision-making is enhanced when party polarization is low, when institutional prerogatives are broadly dispersed rather than centralized, and when staff resources are limited. Under these conditions, bipartisanship bill cosponsorship and voting coalitions are also more prevalent.
With the sharp increase of partisan polarization in state legislatures and in Congress, it is essential to understand how and when a minority party can effectively represent constituents.
Mr. Democrat tells the story of Jim Farley, Franklin D. Roosevelt's campaign manager. As party boss, Farley experienced unprecedented success in the New Deal years. And like his modern counterpart Karl Rove, Farley enjoyed unparalleled access and power. Unlike Rove, however, Farley was instrumental in the creation of an overwhelming new majority in American politics, as the emergence of the New Deal transformed the political landscape of its time.
Mr. Democrat is timely and indispensable not just because Farley was a fascinating and unduly neglected figure, but also because an understanding of his career advances our knowledge of how and why he revolutionized the Democratic Party and American politics in the age of the New Deal.
Daniel Scroop is Lecturer in American History, University of Liverpool School of History.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the West is the first comprehensive history of the relationship between the world’s largest Islamist movement and the Western powers that have dominated the Middle East for the past century: Britain and the United States.
In the decades since the Brotherhood emerged in Egypt in the 1920s, the movement’s notion of “the West” has remained central to its worldview and a key driver of its behavior. From its founding, the Brotherhood stood opposed to the British Empire and Western cultural influence more broadly. As British power gave way to American, the Brotherhood’s leaders, committed to a vision of more authentic Islamic societies, oscillated between anxiety or paranoia about the West and the need to engage with it. Western officials, for their part, struggled to understand the Brotherhood, unsure whether to shun the movement as one of dangerous “fanatics” or to embrace it as a moderate and inevitable part of the region’s political scene. Too often, diplomats failed to view the movement on its own terms, preferring to impose their own external agendas and obsessions.
Martyn Frampton reveals the history of this complex and charged relationship down to the eve of the Arab Spring. Drawing on extensive archival research in London and Washington and the Brotherhood’s writings in Arabic and English, he provides the most authoritative assessment to date of a relationship that is both vital in itself and crucial to navigating one of the world’s most turbulent regions.
In studying the effect of New Deal on urban political machines, Bruce M. Stave challenges the traditional view of declining bossism in America from the 1930s through the 1950s. Using Pittsburgh as his case study, he demonstrates how political power was transferred from a once-invincible Republican machine to the Democratic Party led by David L. Lawrence. Stave traces the consolidation of patronage control and grassroots voting support with a special emphasis on the interplay between politics and federal work relief during the depression decade.
Fronted by one of the world’s most iconic doors, 10 Downing Street is the home and office of the British Prime Minister and the heart of British politics. Steeped in both political and architectural history, this famed address was originally designed in the late seventeenth century as little more than a place of residence, with no foresight of the political significance the location would come to hold. As its role evolved, 10 Downing Street, now known simply as ‘Number 10,’ has required constant adaptation in order to accommodate the changing requirements of the premiership.
Written by Number 10’s first ever ‘Researcher in Residence,’ with unprecedented access to people and papers, No. 10: The Geography of Power at Downing Street sheds new light on unexplored aspects of Prime Ministers’ lives. Jack Brown tells the story of the intimately entwined relationships between the house and its post-war residents, telling how each occupant’s use and modification of the building reveals their own values and approaches to the office of Prime Minister. The book reveals how and why Prime Ministers have stamped their personalities and philosophies upon Number 10 and how the building has directly affected the ability of some Prime Ministers to perform the role. Both fascinating and extremely revealing, No. 10 offers an intimate account of British political power and the building at its core. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the nature and history of British politics.
“This is a fascinating book. It is one of the best studies of the ways that parties and politics get conducted in any American state. Masket shows that legislators can be perfectly content without parties that control agendas and does a terrific job of explaining the transition from free-wheeling legislators to rigidly partisan voting blocs.”
—Sam Popkin, University of California at San Diego
“No Middle Ground makes a significant contribution to the study of American parties and legislative politics.”
—Matthew Green, Catholic University of America
Despite concerns about the debilitating effects of partisanship on democratic government, in recent years political parties have gained strength in state governments as well as in Washington. In many cases these parties function as machines. Unlike machines of the past that manipulated votes, however, today’s machines determine which candidates can credibly compete in a primary.
Focusing on the history and politics of California, Seth E. Masket reveals how these machines evolved and how they stay in power by directing money, endorsements, and expertise to favored candidates, who often tend toward the ideological extreme. In a provocative conclusion, Masket argues that politicians are not inherently partisan. Instead, partisanship is thrust upon them by actors outside the government with the power to manipulate primary elections.
This book is a pioneering contribution to the history of the founding of the West German political system after the Second World War. The political cooperation between Catholics and Protestants that resulted in the formation of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in occupied and early West Germany represented a significant change from a long history of hostility in confessional relations. Given that the CDU went on to dominate politics in West Germany well into the 1960s, Maria D. Mitchell argues that an understanding of what made this interconfessional party possible is crucial to an exploration of German history in the postwar period. She examines the political history of party formation as well as the religious beliefs and motivations that shaped the party's philosophy and positions. She provides an authoritative guide to the complex processes of maneuvering and negotiation that produced the CDU during 1945-46. The full range of political possibilities is discussed, including the suppressed alternatives to the Adenauer/Erhard axis that eventually defined the party's trajectory during the 1950s and the abortive Christian Socialism associated with Jacob Kaiser.
One of the most important stories in Latin American studies today is the emergence of left-leaning social movements sweeping across Latin America includes the mobilization of militant indigenous politics. Formed in 1995 in Ecuador to advance the interests of a variety of people’s organizations and to serve as an alternative to the country’s traditional political parties, Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement (Pachakutik) is an indigenist-based movement and political party.
In this critical work, Kenneth J. Mijeski and Scott H. Beck evaluate the successes and failures experienced by Ecuador’s Indians in their quest to transform the state into a participative democracy that would address the needs of the country’s long-ignored and impoverished majority, both indigenous and nonindigenous. Using a powerful statistical technique and in-depth interviews with political activists, the authors show that the political election game failed to advance the cause of either Ecuador’s poor majority or the movement’s own indigenous base.
Pachakutik and the Rise and Decline of the Ecuadorian Indigenous Movement is an extraordinarily valuable case study that examines the birth, development, and in this case, waning of Ecuador’s indigenous movement.
The mobilization of militant indigenous politics is one of the most important stories in Latin American studies today. In this critical work, Kenneth J. Mijeski and Scott H. Beck examine the rise and decline of Ecuador’s leading indigenous party, Pachakutik, as it tried to transform the state into a participative democracy.
Using in-depth interviews with political activists, as well as a powerful statistical analysis of election results, the authors show that the political election game failed to advance the causes of Ecuador’s poor or the movement’s own indigenous supporters. Pachakutik and the Rise and Decline of the Ecuadorian Indigenous Movement is an extraordinarily valuable case study of Ecuador’s indigenous movement and the challenges it still faces.
Parties in Transition
Warren Miller Russell Sage Foundation, 1986 Library of Congress JK528.M526 1986 | Dewey Decimal 324.973
Every four years, the drama of presidential selection inspires a reassessment of our political parties. Central to this assessment are the delegates who gather at Democratic and Republican national conventions. Parties in Transition presents a richly modulated body of data of the changing attitudes and behaviors of these delegates—their ideologies and loyalties, their recruitment into presidential politics, their persistence in or disengagement from it. Covering three recent sets of conventions and involving over five thousand delegates, this comprehensive study makes an essential contribution to our understanding of American party politics. "Richer and more authoritative than most of the best works in the field." —Election Politics "A most important study of change in the American political scene....Richly deserves to be read." —John H. Kessel, Ohio State University "[A] shrewd and sophisticated analysis....Both scholars and practitioners should read this book and ponder it." —Austin Ranney, University of California, Berkeley
In this thought-provoking study, Jonathan M. Atkins provides a fresh look at the partisan ideological battles that marked the political culture of antebellum Tennessee. He argues that the legacy of party politics was a key factor in shaping Tennessee's hesitant course during the crisis of Union in 1860–61.
Between the Jacksonian era and the outbreak of the Civil War, Atkins demonstrates, the competition between Democrats and Whigs in Tennessee was as heated as any in the country. The conflict centered largely on differing conceptions of republican liberty and each party's contention that the other posed a serious threat to that liberty. As the slavery question pushed to the forefront of national politics, Tennessee's parties absorbed the issue into the partisan tumult that already existed. Both parties pledged to defend southern interests while preserving the integrity of the Union. Appeals for the defense of liberty and Union interests proved effective with voters and profoundly influenced the state's actions during the secession crisis. The belief that a new national Union party could preserve the Union while checking the Lincoln administration encouraged voters initially to reject secession. With the outbreak of war, however, West and Middle Tennesseans chose to accept disunion to avoid what they saw as coercion and military despotism by the North. East Tennesseans, meanwhile, preferred loyalty to the Union over membership in a Southern confederacy dominated by a slaveholding aristocracy.
No previous book has so clearly detailed the role of party politics and ideology in Tennessee's early history. As Atkins shows, the ideological debate helps to explain not only the character and survival of Tennessee's party system but also the peristent strength of unionism in a state that ultimately joined the Southern cause.
The Author: Jonathan M. Atkins is assistant professor of history at Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia.
As Washington elites drifted toward ideological poles over the past few decades, did ordinary Americans follow their lead? In The Partisan Sort, Matthew Levendusky reveals that we have responded to this trend—but not, for the most part, by becoming more extreme ourselves. While polarization has filtered down to a small minority of voters, it also has had the more significant effect of reconfiguring the way we sort ourselves into political parties.
In a marked realignment since the 1970s—when partisan affiliation did not depend on ideology and both major parties had strong liberal and conservative factions—liberals today overwhelmingly identify with Democrats, as conservatives do with Republicans. This “sorting,” Levendusky contends, results directly from the increasingly polarized terms in which political leaders define their parties. Exploring its far-reaching implications for the American political landscape, he demonstrates that sorting makes voters more loyally partisan, allowing campaigns to focus more attention on mobilizing committed supporters. Ultimately, Levendusky concludes, this new link between party and ideology represents a sea change in American politics.
There’s no question that Americans are bitterly divided by politics. But in Partisans and Partners, Josh Pacewicz finds that our traditional understanding of red/blue, right/left, urban/rural division is too simplistic.
Wheels-down in Iowa—that most important of primary states—Pacewicz looks to two cities, one traditionally Democratic, the other traditionally Republican, and finds that younger voters are rejecting older-timers’ strict political affiliations. A paradox is emerging—as the dividing lines between America’s political parties have sharpened, Americans are at the same time growing distrustful of traditional party politics in favor of becoming apolitical or embracing outside-the-beltway candidates. Pacewicz sees this change coming not from politicians and voters, but from the fundamental reorganization of the community institutions in which political parties have traditionally been rooted. Weaving together major themes in American political history—including globalization, the decline of organized labor, loss of locally owned industries, uneven economic development, and the emergence of grassroots populist movements—Partisans and Partners is a timely and comprehensive analysis of American politics as it happens on the ground.
As long as far-right parties—known chiefly for their vehement opposition to immigration—have competed in contemporary Western Europe, many have worried about these parties’ acceptability to democratic voters and mainstream parties. Yet, rather than treating the far right as pariahs, major mainstream-right parties have included the far right in 15 governing coalitions from 1994 to 2017. Parties do not care equally about all issues at any given time, and Kimberly Twist demonstrates that far-right parties will agree to support the mainstream right’s goals more readily than many other parties, making them appealing partners.
Partnering with Extremists builds on existing work on coalition formation and party goals to propose a theory of coalition formation that works across countries and over time. The evidence comes from 19 case studies of coalition formation in Austria and the Netherlands, countries where far-right parties have been excluded when they could have been included and included when the mainstream right had other options. The argument is then extended to countries where coalitions are less common, France and the United Kingdom, and to cases of mainstream-right adoption of far-right themes. Twist incorporates both office and policy considerations in her argument and reimagines “policy” to be a two-dimensional factor; it matters not just where parties are located on an issue but how firmly they hold those positions.
Political party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives command greater loyalty than ever from fellow party members in roll call votes, campaign contributions, and partisan speeches. In return, leaders reward compliant members with opportunities to promote constituent interests and to advance their own political careers. Denial of such privileges as retribution against those who don’t fully support the party agenda may significantly damage a member’s prospects.
Kathryn Pearson examines the disciplinary measures that party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives employ to exact such loyalty, as well as the consequences for a democratic legislature. Drawing upon data from 1987–2010, Pearson identifies the conditions under which party leaders opt to prioritize policy control and those which induce them to prioritize majority control. She then assesses the ways in which these choices affect, on one hand, the party’s ability to achieve its goals, and on the other hand, rank-and-file members’ ability to represent their constituents. Astute party leaders recognize the need for balance, as voters could oust representatives who repeatedly support the party’s agenda over their constituents’ concerns, thereby jeopardizing the number of seats their party holds.
In her conclusion, Pearson discusses the consequences of party discipline such as legislative gridlock, stalled bills, and proposals banned from the agenda. Although party discipline is likely to remain strong as citizens become more cognizant of enforced party loyalty, their increasing dissatisfaction with Congress may spur change.
These new essays map the ways political parties remain vital components in the American political system, especially in the eleven states in the South.
As Tocqueville noted more than 100 years ago, "No countries need associations more . . . than those with a democratic social state." Although some contemporary observers see a decline in associations, especially in the political sphere, the contributors in this volume argue not only that political parties remain an essential component of the American political system but also that grassroots political groups have revitalized the political process, especially in the South.
Using data gathered from local party officials in the eleven southern states, the authors examine such key issues as: Who becomes involved in local party organizations and why? How do parties recruit and retain workers? What are the ideological and issue orientations of these activists? How does intraparty factionalism affect local party organizations? What is the connection between the party organization and its external environment?
The large regional database provides these contributors with the opportunity to extend the study of local party organization and activists, thus addressing some of the significant gaps in previous research. The additional data enable them to clarify the nature of local party organizations and, in a larger sense, the role of the parties in the contemporary American political system.
Contradicting the conventional political wisdom of the 1970s, which said state political parties were dormant and verging upon extinction, this book reveals that state party organizations actually grew stronger in the 1960s and 1970s.
Reprinted with a new preface that covers changes in the 1980s in electoral politics, Party Organizations in American Politics encourages a reappraisal of scholarly treatment of party organization in political science.
As Wisconsin governor from 1971 to 1977, Patrick J. Lucey pursued an ambitious progressive agenda, tempered by the concerns of a fiscal conservative and a pragmatic realist. He was known for bridging partisan divides, building coalitions, and keeping politics civil. His legacy, which included merging Wisconsin’s universities into one system and equalizing the funding formula for public schools, continues to impact Wisconsin residents and communities.
Preceding his service as governor, Lucey played a key role in rebuilding the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, returning a state that had been dominated by Republicans to a more moderate two-party system. As party chairman, he built coalitions between World War II veterans, remnants of the defunct Progressive Party, urban socialists, and activists in rural communities throughout the state.
Through exclusive interviews and unprecedented access to archival materials, Dennis L. Dresang shares the story of this pivotal figure in Wisconsin history, from his small-town rural roots to his wide-ranging influence.
"Paul Wellstone, we miss you. Few politicians, especially these days, are as willing to stand up and speak the truth as Wellstone was. In this era of flaccid rhetoric and pre-approved sound bites, he had the rare ability to ignite a fire in his audiences. Bill Lofy's excellent biography rekindles that fire and reminds us just how much politicians of Wellstone's honesty, character, and spine are needed---now more than ever. This book should inspire a new generation of voters and political leaders alike."
---Arianna Huffington, columnist and editor of HuffingtonPost.com
"This book captures the vibrant spirit of my friend Paul Wellstone---the fierce commitment to justice that defined his life, and that shapes his enduring legacy."
---U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
"Paul Wellstone was a great leader because he fused progressive idealism with a stubbornly pragmatic politics. Bill Lofy's book captures that dual commitment in his story of Wellstone's life, and also shows us the extraordinary human appeal that Wellstone emanated in his relationships with people in all walks of life. This book is an engaging read that also tells us a lot about the political practice to which we should aspire."
---Frances Fox Piven, author of The War at Home
"This vividly written book captures the life and personal qualities of the late Senator Paul Wellstone. In so doing it provides an illuminating gloss on Max Weber's seminal exposition of the political vocation. It is a jewel of a book."
-Fred Greenstein, Princeton University
Bill Lofy's fast-paced and readable biography tells the inspirational story of one of the most compelling figures in the history of American politics---Senator Paul Wellstone.
Yet Lofy's book is more than just the chronicle of Wellstone's life and political career; it's also an indispensable guide to what ails political life today. Readers politically inclined or not will find in its pages a handbook to the uncertain and often treacherous business of politics and a stirring example for living a courageous and honest life---whether as public servant or private individual.
Politicians and pundits alike have complained that the divided governments of the last decades have led to legislative gridlock. Not so, argues Keith Krehbiel, who advances the provocative theory that divided government actually has little effect on legislative productivity. Gridlock is in fact the order of the day, occurring even when the same party controls the legislative and executive branches. Meticulously researched and anchored to real politics, Krehbiel argues that the pivotal vote on a piece of legislation is not the one that gives a bill a simple majority, but the vote that allows its supporters to override a possible presidential veto or to put a halt to a filibuster. This theory of pivots also explains why, when bills are passed, winning coalitions usually are bipartisan and supermajority sized. Offering an incisive account of when gridlock is overcome and showing that political parties are less important in legislative-executive politics than previously thought, Pivotal Politics remakes our understanding of American lawmaking.
Even in this most partisan and dysfunctional of eras, we can all agree on one thing: Washington is broken. Politicians take increasingly inflexible and extreme positions, leading to gridlock, partisan warfare, and the sense that our seats of government are nothing but cesspools of hypocrisy, childishness, and waste. The shocking reality, though, is that modern polarization was a deliberate project carried out by Democratic and Republican activists.
In The Polarizers, Sam Rosenfeld details why bipartisanship was seen as a problem in the postwar period and how polarization was then cast as the solution. Republicans and Democrats feared that they were becoming too similar, and that a mushy consensus imperiled their agendas and even American democracy itself. Thus began a deliberate move to match ideology with party label—with the toxic results we now endure. Rosenfeld reveals the specific politicians, intellectuals, and operatives who worked together to heighten partisan discord, showing that our system today is not (solely) a product of gradual structural shifts but of deliberate actions motivated by specific agendas. Rosenfeld reveals that the story of Washington’s transformation is both significantly institutional and driven by grassroots influences on both the left and the right.
The Polarizers brilliantly challenges and overturns our conventional narrative about partisanship, but perhaps most importantly, it points us toward a new consensus: if we deliberately created today’s dysfunctional environment, we can deliberately change it.
"The most comprehensive textbook I have read on American political parties. Written before the current partisan impasse, the book does much to clarify the extremely fluid and often fragile structure of our two major parties--parties that, in comparison with their European counterparts, have relatively weak ties to social classes and religious groups."
--New York Review of Books
It is often thought that small party survival or failure is a result of institutional constraints, the behavior of large parties, and the choices of individual politicians. Jae-Jae Spoon, in contrast, argues that the decisions made by small parties themselves determine their ability to balance the dual goals of remaining true to their ideals while maximizing their vote and seat shares, thereby enabling them to survive even in adverse electoral systems.
Spoon employs a mixed-methods approach in order to explore the policy, electoral, and communication strategies of West European Green Parties from 1980 to the present. She combines cross-national data on these parties with in-depth comparative case studies of two New Politics parties, the French and British Green Parties, that have survived in similar national-level plurality electoral systems. Both of these parties have developed as organizations which run candidates in elections at the local, national, and European levels in their respective countries. The parties’ survival, Spoon asserts, results from their ability to balance their competing electoral, policy, and communication goals.
Nineteenth-century Serbia was an economically and socially backward country with an urban population of approximately 3 percent and a literacy rate in the countryside of less than 10 percent. Still, during that century it created a functioning democracy with a constitution, independent courts, political parties, and civil liberties. The Serbian experience challenges the view that political structures fundamentally depend on socioeconomic ones, since Serbia created a modern political system without developing economically. Politics as Development analyzes one aspect of that process, the emergence of political parties in the 1870s and the 1880s, especially the creation of the Serbian Radical Party under the leadership of Nikola Pasic. By mobilizing the peasantry through organizing the countryside, the Radicals proved themselves the most original nineteenth-century Balkan political movement. Based on thorough research of primary documents, Stokes’s study supports the view that the state and its attending class constitute an independent variable in the developmental process.
Politics in Manitoba is the first comprehensive review of the Manitoba party system that combines history and contemporary public opinion data to reveal the political and voter trends that have shaped the province of Manitoba over the past 130 years. The book details the histories of the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals, and the New Democratic Party from 1870 to 2007. Adams looks in particular at the enduring influence of political geography and political culture, as well as the impact of leadership, campaign strategies, organizational resources, and the media on voter preferences. Adams also presents here for the first time public opinion data based on more than 25,000 interviews with Manitobans, conducted between 1999 and 2007. He analyzes voter age, gender, income, education, and geographic location to determine how Manitobans vote. In the process Adams dispels some commonly held beliefs about party supporters and identifies recurring themes in voter behaviour.
Although the U.S. Constitution requires that the House of Representatives and the Senate pass legislation in identical form before it can be sent to the president for final approval, the process of resolving differences between the chambers has received surprisingly little scholarly attention. Hong Min Park, Steven S. Smith, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen document the dramatic changes in intercameral resolution that have occurred over recent decades, and examine the various considerations made by the chambers when determining the manner in which the House and Senate pursue conciliation. Politics Over Process demonstrates that partisan competition, increasing party polarization, and institutional reforms have encouraged the majority party to more creatively restructure post-passage processes, often avoiding the traditional standing committee and conference processes altogether.
How is Donald Trump’s presidency likely to affect the reputation and popular standing of the Republican Party? Profoundly, according to Gary C. Jacobson. From Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, every postwar president has powerfully shaped Americans’ feelings, positive or negative, about their party. The effect is pervasive, influencing the parties’ reputations for competence, their perceived principles, and their appeal as objects of personal identification. It is also enduring, as presidents’ successes and failures continue to influence how we see their parties well beyond their time in office.
With Presidents and Parties in the Public Mind, Gary C. Jacobson draws on survey data from the past seven administrations to show that the expansion of the executive branch in the twentieth century that gave presidents a greater role in national government also gave them an enlarged public presence, magnifying their role as the parties’ public voice and face. As American politics has become increasingly nationalized and president-centered over the past few decades, the president’s responsibility for the party’s image and status has continued to increase dramatically. Jacobson concludes by looking at the most recent presidents’ effects on our growing partisan polarization, analyzing Obama’s contribution to this process and speculating about Trump’s potential for amplifying the widening demographic and cultural divide.
Reflecting on 2016, it might seem that the national parties have little control over how the presidential nominations unfold and who becomes their presidential candidate. Yet the parties wield more influence than voters in determining who prevails at the National Conventions. Although the reforms of the late 1960s and 1970s gave rank-and-file party members a clear voice in the selection of presidential candidates, the parties retain influence through their ability to set the electoral rules. Despite this capability, party elites do not always fully understand the consequences of the rules and therefore often promote a system that undermines their goals. The Primary Rules illuminates the balance of power that the parties, states, and voters assert on the process. By utilizing an original, comprehensive data set that details the electoral rules each party employed in each state during every nomination from 1976 to 2016, Caitlin E. Jewitt uncovers the effects of the rules on the competitiveness of the nomination, the number of voters who participate, and the nomination outcomes. This reveals how the parties exert influence over their members and limit the impact of voters. The Primary Rules builds on prior analyses and extends work highlighting the role of the parties in the invisible primary stage, as it investigates the parties’ influence once the nominations begin. The Primary Rules provides readers with a clearer sense of what the rules are, how they have changed, their consequences, and practical guidance on how to modify the rules of the nomination system to achieve their desired outcomes in future elections.
Reformers argue that public financing of campaigns will help rescue American democracy from the corruptive influence of money in elections. Public Financing in American Elections evaluates this claim and aims to remove much of the guesswork from the discussion about public finance.
Featuring some of the most senior scholars in political science and electoral studies, this book provides an up-to-date treatment of campaign finance research and thinking about public campaign financing reforms. Exploring proposals at the local, state, and federal levels, the contributors provide a comprehensive overview of public financing initiatives in the United States and discuss their impact. Focused analyses of several current public programs are also presented.
This is the story of a revolution without fanfare, a hidden struggle for party reform that produced a new era in national politics. From this struggle emerged the greatest deliberately planned and centrally imposed change in the mechanics of delegate selection, and hence presidential nomination, in all of American history. The success of this revolution heralded the arrival of new political coalitions that would alter the very character of presidential politics, from campaign organization to grass-roots participation. The battle for reform raged within the Democratic party from 1968 to 1972, although it would quickly affect the Republican party as well. It was intense, intricate—and nearly invisible. Yet its chronicle is essential background for political practitioners, professional commentators, and interested citizens alike. And it is the basis for understanding the subsequent course of national politics and the current shape of presidential politics. Quiet Revolution provides the first definitive account of this struggle for reform, an account that is at once modern political history and an illuminating analysis of contemporary American politics. Based on candid interviews with numerous key participants and on extensive archival material, this compelling narrative offers the fascination of political maneuvers closely observed, the drama of momentous events unfolding, and the challenge of a new politics newly interpreted.
As he systemically studies the barriers that Asian Americans face in the electoral and legislative processes, Thomas Kim shows how racism is embedded in America's two-party political system.Here Kim examines the institutional barriers that Asian Americans face in the electoral and legislative processes. Utilizing approaches from ethnic studies and political science, including rational choice theory, he demonstrates how the political logic of two-party competition actually works against Asian American political interests. According to Kim, political party leaders recognize that Asian Americans are tagged with "ethnic markers" that label them as immutably "foreign," and as such, parties cannot afford to be too closely associated with (racialized) Asian Americans. In publicly repudiating Asian American efforts to gain political power, Kim asserts, party elites are making rational, strategic calculations.Although other commentators have blamed the diversity of the Asian American population for its lack of political success, Kim argues convincingly that race itself is the chief barrier to political participation—and it will not be overcome simply by electing or appointing more Asian Americans to political office.
Concentrated in states outside the Northeast and the South, state-level third-party radical politics has been more widespread than many realize. In the 1920s and 1930s, American political organizations strong enough to mount state-wide campaigns, and often capable of electing governors and members of Congress, emerged not only in Minnesota but in Wisconsin and Washington, in Oklahoma and Idaho, and in several other states.
Richard M. Valelly treats in detail the political economy of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party (1918-1944), the most successful radical, state-level party in American history. With the aid of numerous interviews of surviving organizers and participants in the party's existence, Valelly recreates the party's rise to power and subsequent decline, seeking answers to some broad, developmental questions. Why did this type of politics arise, and why did it collapse when it did? What does the party's history tell us about national political change? The answers lie, Valelly argues, in America's transition from the political economy of the 1920s to the New Deal. Combining case study and comparative state politics, he reexamines America's political economy prior to the New Deal and the scope and ironies of the New Deal's reorganization of American politics. The results compellingly support his argument that the federal government's increasing intervention in the economy profoundly transformed state politics. The interplay between national economy policy-making and federalism eventually reshaped the dynamics of interest-group politics and closed off the future of "state-level radicalism." The strength of this argument is highlighted by Valelly's cross-national comparison with Canadian politics. In vivid contrast to the fate of American movements, "province level radicalism" thrived in the Canadian political environment.
In the course of analyzing one of the "supressed alternatives" of American politics, Valelly illuminates the influence of the national political economy on American political development. Radicalism in the States will interest students of economic protest, of national policy-making, of interest-group politics and party politics.
During his winning presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to counter rising economic inequality and revitalize America's middle-class through a series of wide-ranging reforms. His transformational agenda sought to ensure affordable healthcare; reform the nation's schools and make college more affordable; promote clean and renewable energy; reform labor laws and immigration; and redistribute the tax burden from the middle class to wealthier citizens. The Wall Street crisis and economic downturn that erupted as Obama took office also put U.S. financial regulation on the agenda. By the middle of President Obama's first term in office, he had succeeded in advancing major reforms by legislative and administrative means. But a sluggish economic recovery from the deep recession of 2009, accompanied by polarized politics and governmental deadlock in Washington, DC, have raised questions about how far Obama's promised transformations can go. Reaching for a New Deal analyzes both the ambitious domestic policy of Obama's first two years and the consequent political backlash—up to and including the 2010 midterm elections. Reaching for a New Deal opens by assessing how the Obama administration overcame intense partisan struggles to achieve legislative victories in three areas—health care reform, federal higher education loans and grants, and financial regulation. Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol examine the landmark health care bill, signed into law in spring 2010, which extended affordable health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans after nearly 100 years of failed legislative attempts to do so. Suzanne Mettler explains how Obama succeeded in reorienting higher education policy by shifting loan administration from lenders to the federal government and extending generous tax tuition credits. Reaching for a New Deal also examines the domains in which Obama has used administrative action to further reforms in schools and labor law. The book concludes with examinations of three areas—energy, immigration, and taxes—where Obama's efforts at legislative compromises made little headway. Reaching for a New Deal combines probing analyses of Obama's domestic policy achievements with a big picture look at his change-oriented presidency. The book uses struggles over policy changes as a window into the larger dynamics of American politics and situates the current political era in relation to earlier pivotal junctures in U.S. government and public policy. It offers invaluable lessons about unfolding political transformations in the United States.
If liberalism is premised on inclusion, pluralism, and religious neutrality, can the separation of church and state be said to have a unitary and rational foundation? If we accept that there are no self-evident principles of morality or politics, then doesn't any belief in a rational society become a sort of faith? And how can liberalism mediate impartially between various faiths—as it aims to do—if liberalism itself is one of the competing faiths?
J. Judd Owen answers these questions with a remarkable critical analysis of four twentieth-century liberal and postliberal thinkers: John Dewey, John Rawls and, most extensively, Richard Rorty and Stanley Fish. His unique readings of these theorists and their approaches to religion lead him to conclusions that are meticulously constructed and surprising, arguing against the perception of liberalism as simple moral or religious neutrality, calling into question the prevailing justifications for separation of church and state, and challenging the way we think about the very basis of constitutional government.
The Republican party has always been fascinating to those who subscribe to its principles, as well as to those who take an alternative stand on the issues. In The Republicans: From Lincoln to Bush, Robert Allen Rutland has brought a clear and concise understanding of this political party to the general reader. The book is a lucid and fast-paced overview of the Republican party from its beginnings in the 1850s through the 1994 congressional elections, which saw the Democratic domination of the House and Senate come to an abrupt end.
In a crisp, highly readable style, Rutland begins by explaining how the "obnoxious" Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 overturned the Missouri Compromise, inflamed the North, and caused the collapse of the Whig and American parties. The result was the birth of the Republican party, whose purpose was to oppose the Democrats and stop the spread of slavery. Abraham Lincoln was elected the first Republican president in 1860.
The Republicans suggests that a major shift in voting strength took place twice during the twentieth century, first in the New Deal years, and again after 1968 when the GOP made an appeal to southern voters and finally took control of the area that had previously been dominated by the Democrats. With the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan as the fortieth president of the United States, the Republicans gained support from many first-time voters, middle-class whites, and labor unions-- groups not previously expected to vote Republican. In the companion volume, The Democrats: From Jefferson to Clinton, Rutland provides an honest and straightforward assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Democratic presidents. Here he presents an evenhanded look at the good and not-so-good Republicans. By skillfully using stories and anecdotes from various administrations to enliven this narrative of political history, Rutland gives Republicans and Democrats alike a deeper appreciation for the two-party system.
The transformation of Southern politics over the past fifty years has been one of the most significant developments in American political life. The emergence of formidable Republican strength in the previously solid Democratic South has generated a novel and highly competitive national battle for control of Congress. Tracing the slow and difficult rise of Republicans in the South over five decades, Earl and Merle Black tell the remarkable story of political upheaval.
The Rise of Southern Republicans provides a compelling account of growing competitiveness in Southern party politics and elections. Through extraordinary research and analysis, the authors track Southern voters' shifting economic, cultural, and religious loyalties, black/white conflicts and interests during and after federal civil rights intervention, and the struggles and adaptations of congressional candidates and officials.
A newly competitive South, the authors argue, means a newly competitive and revitalized America. The story of how the South became a two-party region is ultimately the story of two-party politics in America at the end of the twentieth century. Earl and Merle Black have written a bible for anyone who wants to understand regional and national congressional politics over the past half-century. Because the South is now at the epicenter of Republican and Democratic strategies to control Congress, The Rise of Southern Republicans is essential to understanding the dynamics of current American politics.
Table of Contents:
1. The Southern Transformation 2. Confronting the Democratic Juggernaut 3. The Promising Peripheral South 4. The Impenetrable Deep South 5. The Democratic Smother 6. The Democratic Domination 7. Reagan's Realignment of White Southerners 8. A New Party System in the South 9. The Peripheral South Breakthrough 10. The Deep South Challenge 11. The Republican Surge 12. Competitive South, Competitive America
Reviews of this book: These two leading scholars of Southern politics present a rigorous investigation of how voting in the peripheral South (Florida, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee) and the Deep South (Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina) was realigned since Ronald Reagan was first elected president in 1980. --Karl Helicher, Library Journal
With publication of their latest book, The Rise of Southern Republicans the Blacks, both 60, have produced a trilogy that traces an almost geologic-style evolution in the South's political landscape. They've analyzed the whys and what-fors of a region, that in the past 50 years, has gone from impenetrably Democratic to competitively Republican. Their overarching conclusion: the two-party warfare that defines the South defines the nation...The Blacks' work--a mix of political wonkery and historical perspective, cut with the deliciously illuminating anecdote--is read by academics in various disciplines and political junkies of all stripes. The books are valued for their coolly dissecting insights...Because their writing swells beyond the data-crunching lab work of most political scientists--though new readers beware: The books are littered with scary-looking charts and graphs--it travels beyond academia. Party strategists are steeped in the work. "The Blacks wrote the book on how academic political science can illuminate practical politics," says Republican pollster Whit Ayers. --Drew Jubera, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The South's political identity has been transformed in the last half-century from a region of Democratic hegemony to a region of Republican majority. Earl and Merle Black...sedulously examine this remarkable change...This is a work of serious scholarship that lacks any hint of a partisan purpose. Committed readers will increase their understanding of both Southern and national politics. The Blacks' effort may well be the definitive statement on Southern politics over the 20th century. --Publishers Weekly
Not since 1872, Earl Black and Merle Black point out in their third book on Southern politics, had the Republicans constructed majorities from both the North and the South in both houses, and it was the national character of their victory that made the 1994 election such a landmark...In The Rise of Southern Republicans, the Black brothers chronicle the party's history from the 1930s to the present, election by election. They illuminate the economic, racial and political dynamics that gradually moved the South toward the Republican Party, while also warning that the Republicans do not by any means own the region in the way the Democrats once did. --Kevin Sack, New York Times Book Review
In The Rise of Southern Republicans brothers Earl and Merle Black explain the partisan realignment that has brought the South into the national political mainstream. The Blacks...focus most of their attention on the congressional arena, where voting patterns reflect long-term partisan loyalty more closely than at the presidential level...[T]he story the authors of The Rise of Southern Republicans tell is a fascinating one, with implications for American politics that are both profound and uncertain. --David Lowe, Weekly Standard
The rise of southern Republicans is one of the most consequential stories in modern American politics. For political reporters of a certain generation...the Democratic dominance of Southern congressional politics is barely understood. The Black brothers make it all very clear. --Major Garrett, Washington Monthly
This superb analysis of Southern politics by Earl Black...and his brother Merle Black...not only tracks the recent rise of Republicans in the South but explains why party realignment along ideological lines was so long in coming to that region...The Rise of Southern Republicans is already being rightly hailed as a political science classic. Its strength is the thorough and systematic manner in which it examines the changing ways a wide variety of factors have affected Southern voting patterns over the past four decades. The data and the rigor of the analysis are truly impressive. --James D. Fairbanks, Houston Chronicle
This extraordinary book by the country's two leading scholarly experts on the politics of the American South could accurately have been titled "Everything you wanted to know about Southern politics, as well as everything you could ever imagine asking about it"...Their knowledge of the intricacies of particular congressional districts across the region is amazing, and their analysis of the larger partisan trends in the region makes this the most important book on Southern politics. --Stephen J. Farnsworth, Richmond Times-Dispatch
The Black brothers have done it again. The Rise of Southern Republicans is without question the most important book ever written on the role of the South in Congress and the partisan consequences for our national legislature. Far and away the most comprehensive updating of the V.O. Key classic Southern Politics. This is a major work by extremely talented scholars. --Charles S. Bullock, University of Georgia
The dramatic rise of the Republican Party in the South is the single most important factor in the transformation of American politics since the 1960s. Earl and Merle Black have described this process in a book that is witty, always filled with insight, and readable to the last page. The Rise of Southern Republicans is indispensable reading for anyone interested in American politics - past, present or future. --Dan T. Carter, author of The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics
This marvelous book captures - with authority and readability - the big story of post-New Deal party politics in the United States. It is a surefire classic of political science and politics. --Richard F. Fenno, Jr., author of Congress at the Grassroots: Representational Change in the South, 1970-1998
Russian-American Dialogue on the History of U.S. Political Parties is the fourth volume in the Russian-American Dialogues series—a series that brings together scholars in the former Soviet Union and the United States who share an interest in the study of America's heritage and its importance to contemporary Russia.
In this valuable work, Russian scholars such as N. V. Sivachev, Alexander S. Manykin, and Vladimir V. Sogrin examine the history of American political parties and the role they played across two centuries. The Russians draw their own conclusions about the durability of the two-party system, giving careful consideration to historical crises—the secessionist movement and the Civil War, the reform era of the Populists and Progressives at the turn of the twentieth century, the Great Depression and the New Deal—in which the two-party structure was tested. Russian perspectives are also applied in analyzing the evolution of particular parties, from the rise and fall of the nineteenth-century Whigs to the shifting balance between twentieth-century Democrats and Republicans. The dialogue is then developed through commentaries by American historians such as Allan G. Bogue and Theodore J. Lowi and through counter-responses, often strongly expressed, by the Russian authors.
This lively exchange of ideas helps advance an understanding of key aspects of American party history and offers thought-provoking discussions of comparative international studies and historiography. Because the book provides unique perspectives on the American partisan experience by non-American specialists, it will be welcomed by all historians, as well as by anyone with an interest in the American-Russian connection.
With this book, Richard A. Epstein provides a spirited and systematic defense of classical liberalism against the critiques mounted against it over the past thirty years. One of the most distinguished and provocative legal scholars writing today, Epstein here explains his controversial ideas in what will quickly come to be considered one of his cornerstone works.
He begins by laying out his own vision of the key principles of classical liberalism: respect for the autonomy of the individual, a strong system of private property rights, the voluntary exchange of labor and possessions, and prohibitions against force or fraud. Nonetheless, he not only recognizes but insists that state coercion is crucial to safeguarding these principles of private ordering and supplying the social infrastructure on which they depend. Within this framework, Epstein then shows why limited government is much to be preferred over the modern interventionist welfare state.
Many of the modern attacks on the classical liberal system seek to undermine the moral, conceptual, cognitive, and psychological foundations on which it rests. Epstein rises to this challenge by carefully rebutting each of these objections in turn. For instance, Epstein demonstrates how our inability to judge the preferences of others means we should respect their liberty of choice regarding their own lives. And he points out the flaws in behavioral economic arguments which, overlooking strong evolutionary pressures, claim that individual preferences are unstable and that people are unable to adopt rational means to achieve their own ends. Freedom, Epstein ultimately shows, depends upon a skepticism that rightly shuns making judgments about what is best for individuals, but that also avoids the relativistic trap that all judgments about our political institutions have equal worth.
A brilliant defense of classical liberalism, Skepticism and Freedom will rightly be seen as an intellectual landmark.
Reformers lament that, with every effort to regulate the sources of campaign funding, candidates creatively circumvent the new legislation. But in fact, political fundraisers don't need to look for loopholes because, as Raymond J. La Raja proves, legislators intentionally design regulations to gain advantage over their partisan rivals.
La Raja traces the history of the U.S. campaign finance system from the late nineteenth century through the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002. Then, using the 2004 presidential election as a case study, he compares the ways in which Democrats and Republicans adapted their national fund-raising and campaigning strategies to satisfy BCRA regulations. Drawing upon this wealth of historical and recent evidence, he concludes with recommendations for reforming campaign finance in ways that promote fair competition among candidates and guarantee their accountability to voters.
Small Change offers an engaging account of campaign finance reforms' contradictory history; it is a must-read for anyone concerned about influence of money on democratic elections.
This fresh look at southern politics clarifies the recent and dramatic development of party competition in the South.
Southern politics has changed dramatically during the past half century. While new developments have touched virtually every aspect of the region's politics, change has been especially marked in the South's political party and electoral systems. Southern Parties and Elections explores the contemporary developments in party realignment and examines the relationship between regional party change and electoral behavior and the larger patterns in national politics.
The collection's first group of essays examines some of the key legal issues in contemporary southern politics: the legal battle over majority-minority districting, the electoral consequences of such districting, the practice-fairly widespread in the South-of separating presidential elections from state and local elections, and the connections between the electorate and party change.
The second section of essays focuses on nominations, elections, and partisan developments in the South, including the recent surge of voter participation in southern Republican primaries, the comparative importance of the South and selected states with large blocks of electoral votes in presidential election outcomes, and the southern contribution to patterns of voting in Congress. The final two chapters examine changes in southern state legislatures-one a case study of the Virginia General Assembly and the other an analysis of state legislatures in the region as a whole.
Collectively these essays add important pieces to the enduring puzzle of "southern politics."
Since the Reagan Revolution of the early 1980s, Republicans have consistently championed tax cuts for individuals and businesses, regardless of whether the economy is booming or in recession or whether the federal budget is in surplus or deficit. In Starving the Beast, sociologist Monica Prasad uncovers the origins of the GOP’s relentless focus on tax cuts and shows how this is a uniquely American phenomenon.
Drawing on never-before seen archival documents, Prasad traces the history of the 1981 tax cut—the famous “supply side” tax cut, which became the cornerstone for the next several decades of Republican domestic economic policy. She demonstrates that the main impetus behind this tax cut was not business group pressure, racial animus, or a belief that tax cuts would pay for themselves.
Rather, the tax cut emerged because in America--unlike in the rest of the advanced industrial world—progressive policies are not embedded within a larger political economy that is favorable to business. Since the end of World War II, many European nations have combined strong social protections with policies to stimulate economic growth such as lower taxes on capital and less regulation on businesses than in the United State. Meanwhile, the United States emerged from World War II with high taxes on capital and some of the strongest regulations on business in the advanced industrial world. This adversarial political economy could not survive the economic crisis of the 1970s.
Starving the Beast suggests that taking inspiration from the European model of progressive policies embedded in market-promoting political economy could serve to build an American economy that works better for all.
In this incisive look at early modern views of party politics, Harvey C. Mansfield examines the pamphlet war between Edmund Burke and the followers of Henry St. John, First Viscount Bolingbroke during the mid-eighteenth century. In response to works by Bolingbroke published posthumously, Burke created his most eloquent advocacy of the party system. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the material, Mansfield shows that present-day parties must be understood in the light of the history of party government. The complicated organization and the public actions of modern parties are the result, he contends, and not the cause of a great change in opinion about parties.
Mansfield points out that while parties have always existed, the party government that we know today is possible only because parties are now considered respectable. In Burke’s day, however, they were thought by detractors to be a cancer in a free polity. Even many supporters of the parties viewed them as a dangerous instrument, only to be used cautiously by statesmen in dire times. Burke, however, was an early champion of the party system in Britain and made his arguments with a clear-eyed realism. In Statesmanship and Party Government, Mansfield provides a skillful evaluation of Burke’s writings and sheds light present-day party politics through a profound understanding of the historical background of the their inception.
The Strategy of Campaigning explores the political careers of Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin, two of the most galvanizing and often controversial political figures of our time. Both men overcame defeat early in their political careers and rose to the highest elected offices in their respective countries.
The authors demonstrate how and why Reagan and Yeltsin succeeded in their political aspirations, despite—or perhaps because of—their apparent “policy extremism”: that is, their advocacy of policy positions far from the mainstream. The book analyzes the viability of policy extremism as a political strategy that enables candidates to forge new coalitions and outflank conventional political allegiances.
Kiron K. Skinner is Associate Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Carnegie Mellon University, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel and the National Security Education Board.
Serhiy Kudelia is Lecturer of Politics at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine and advisor to Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is Julius Silver Professor and Director of the Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy at New York University and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Condoleezza Rice is on a leave of absence from Stanford University, where she was a Professor of Political Science and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is currently serving as U.S. Secretary of State.
The march to the Trump presidency began in 1988, when Rush Limbaugh went national. Brian Rosenwald charts the transformation of AM radio entertainers into political kingmakers. By giving voice to the conservative base, they reshaped the Republican Party and fostered demand for a president who sounded as combative and hyperbolic as a talk show host.
"A significant contribution to our understanding of minor parties and party system change. The authors develop a new theory and provide strong empirical evidence in support of it. They show that the Perot's candidacy has had a strong and lasting impact on partisan competition in elections.
---Paul Herrnson, Director, Center for American Politics and Citizenship Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland
"Powerfully persuasive in its exhaustive research, Three's a Crowd may surprise many by revealing the long- ignored but pivotal impact of Perot voters on every national election since 1992."
---Clay Mulford, Jones Day and General Counsel to the 1992 Perot Presidential Campaign and to the Reform Party.
"Rapaport and Stone have written an engaging and important book. They bring fresh perspectives, interesting data, and much good sense to this project. Three's a Crowd is fundamentally about political change, which will, in turn, change how scholars and pundits think of Ross Perot in particular, and third parties in general."
---John G. Geer, Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and Editor of The Journal of Politics
"The definitive analysis of the Perot movement, its role in the 1994 GOP victory, and the emergence of an enduring governing majority."
---L. Sandy Maisel, Director, Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, Colby College
Three's a Crowd begins with the simple insight that third parties are creatures of the American two-party system, and derive their support from the failures of the Democratic and Republican parties.
While third parties flash briefly in the gaps left by those failures, they nevertheless follow a familiar pattern: a sensation in one election, a disappointment in the next. Rapoport and Stone conclude that this steep arc results from one or both major parties successfully absorbing the third party's constituency. In the first election, the third party raises new issues and defines new constituencies; in the second, the major parties move in on the new territory. But in appropriating the third party's constituents, the major parties open themselves up to change. This is what the authors call the "dynamic of third parties."
The Perot campaign exemplified this effect in 1992 and 1996. Political observers of contemporary electoral politics missed the significance of Perot's independent campaign for the presidency in 1992. Rapoport and Stone, who had unfettered-and unparalleled-access to the Perot political machine, show how his run perfectly embodies the third-party dynamic. Yet until now no one has considered the aftermath of the Perot movement through that lens.
For anyone who seeks to understand the workings of our stubbornly two-party structure, this eagerly awaited and definitive analysis will shed new light on the role of third parties in the American political system.
Can democratization be promoted by “getting the institutions right?” In Unexpected Outcomes, Robert G. Moser offers a compelling analysis of the extent to which institutions can be engineered to promote desired political outcomes. The introduction of democracy in Eastern Europe and the former USSR has enabled scholars to bring new perspectives to the debate about electoral systems. Russia is arguably the most important of the postcommunist states and its mixed electoral system provides an interesting controlled experiment for testing the impact of different electoral systems.
Moser examines the effects of electoral systems on political parties and representation in Russia during the 1990s. Moser’s study is not only a highly original contribution to our understanding of contemporary Russian politics, but also a significant step forward in the comparative study of electoral systems. Through his comprehensive empirical analysis of Russian elections, Moser provides the most detailed examination of a mixed electoral system to date. This system was introduced in Russia to encourage party formation and benefit reformist parties allied with President Yeltsin. However, the effects were contrary to what the creators of the system expected and also defied the most well-established hypotheses in electoral studies. Parties proliferated under both the PR and plurality halves of the election and patterns of women and minority representation ran counter to prevailing theory and international experience.
With an epilogue that updates the study through the December 1999 elections, Unexpected Outcomes makes an important and timely contribution to the ongoing debate over the ability and inability of elites to fashion preferred political outcomes through institutional design.
The Union Divided
Mark E. NEELY Harvard University Press, 2002 Library of Congress JK2260.N445 2002 | Dewey Decimal 320.97309034
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Mark E. Neely, Jr. vividly recounts the surprising story of political conflict in the North during the Civil War. Examining party conflict as viewed through the lens of the developing war, the excesses of party patronage, the impact of wartime elections, the highly partisan press, and the role of the loyal opposition, Neely deftly dismantles the argument long established in Civil War scholarship that the survival of the party system in the North contributed to its victory.
Teodoro Petkoff and the other members of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) in Venezuela had aroused the ire of the orthodox communist leaders by claiming to be both authentic communists and true nationalists, not bound by the dictates of either the Moscow or Maoist/Beijing wings of the party. To infuriate the traditionalists even further, Petkoff and his associates succeeded in being more than isolated critics, as MAS quickly eclipsed the traditional Venezuelan Communist Party and became that country's leading leftist group.
The author places MAS in its international national, and historical contexts in order to determine the extent to which it is a unique communist party, as it claims to be. He traces the theory of "national democratic revolution, " which MAS rejects, back to Lenin, and discusses the Latin American left's reevaluation of that thesis. Ellner examines the guerrilla movement in Venezuela, the student movement of the late 1960s, and the emergence of the "New Left" in other countries, especially noting their influence on the formation of MAS. He also discusses the group's role in Venezuelan elections and it's relations with the other parties.
In What’s Left of the Left, distinguished scholars of European and U.S. politics consider how center-left political parties have fared since the 1970s. They explore the left’s responses to the end of the postwar economic boom, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the erosion of traditional party politics, the expansion of market globalization, and the shift to a knowledge-based economy. Their comparative studies of center-left politics in Scandinavia, France, Germany, southern Europe, post–Cold War Central and Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States emphasize differences in the goals of left political parties and in the political, economic, and demographic contexts in which they operate. The contributors identify and investigate the more successful center-left initiatives, scrutinizing how some conditions facilitated them, while others blocked their emergence or limited their efficacy. In the contemporary era of slow growth, tight budgets, and rapid technological change, the center-left faces pressing policy concerns, including immigration, the growing population of the working poor, and the fate of the European Union. This collection suggests that such matters present the left with daunting but by no means insurmountable challenges.
Contributors. Sheri Berman, James Cronin, Jean-Michel de Waele, Arthur Goldhammer, Christopher Howard, Jane Jenson, Gerassimos Moschonas, Sofia Pérez, Jonas Pontusson, George Ross, James Shoch, Sorina Soare, Ruy Teixeira
It doesn’t take a pundit to recognize that the Democratic Party has changed. With frustrating losses in the national elections of 2000 and 2004 and the erosion of its traditional base, the party of Jefferson and Jackson has become something neither would recognize.
In this intriguing book, Jeff Taylor looks beyond the shortcomings of individual candidates to focus on the party’s real problem: its philosophical underpinnings have changed in ways that turn off many Americans. Rank-and-file party members may still hold to traditional views, but Taylor argues that those who finance, manage, and represent the party at the national level have become nothing less than Hamiltonian elitists—a stance that flies in the face of the party’s bedrock Jeffersonian principles.
Where Did the Party Go? is a prodigious work of scholarship that converts extensive research into an accessible book. Taylor offers up a unique twelve-point model of Jefferson’s thought—as relevant to our time as to his—and uses it to appraise competing views of liberalism in the party during two key eras. Bypassing the well-worn assessments of high-profile Democratic presidents, he shows instead how liberalism from 1885 to 1925 was distinctly Jeffersonian as exemplified by the populism of William Jennings Bryan, while from 1938 to 1978 it became largely elitist under national leaders such as Hubert Humphrey who embraced a centralized state and economy, as well as imperial intervention abroad.
In the first book to look closely at the ideologies of these two midwestern liberals, Taylor chronicles Bryan’s battles with the conservative wing of the party—putting today’s conflicts in sharp historical perspective—and then tells how Humphrey followed those who rejected Jeffersonian principles. By demonstrating how Jefferson’s legacy has gradually weakened, Taylor clearly shows why the party has lost its place in Middle America and how its transformation has led to widespread confusion. His provocative look at the post-Humphrey era considers why so many of today’s voters on both the Left and the Right agree on issues such as economic policy, foreign relations, and political reform—united against elitists of the Center while rarely recognizing their common kinship in Jeffersonian ideals.
If party leaders have wondered where their traditional supporters have gone, they might well consider that those very voters have asked what became of the party they once knew. Taylor’s book forces many to question where the party of Jefferson has gone . . . and whether it can ever come back.
The party whips are essential components of the U.S. legislative system, responsible for marshalling party votes and keeping House and Senate party members in line. In The Whips, C. Lawrence Evans offers a comprehensive exploration of coalition building and legislative strategy in the U.S. House and Senate, ranging from the relatively bipartisan, committee-dominated chambers of the 1950s to the highly polarized congresses of the 2000s. In addition to roll call votes and personal interviews with lawmakers and staff, Evans examines the personal papers of dozens of former leaders of the House and Senate, especially former whips. These records allowed Evans to create a database of nearly 1,500 internal leadership polls on hundreds of significant bills across five decades of recent congressional history.
The result is a rich and sweeping understanding of congressional party leaders at work. Since the whips provide valuable political intelligence, they are essential to understanding how coalitions are forged and deals are made on Capitol Hill.
Recent research on the U.S. House of Representatives largely focuses on the effects of partisanship, but the strikingly less frequent studies of the Senate still tend to treat parties as secondary considerations in a chamber that gives its members far more individual leverage than congressmen have. In response to the recent increase in senatorial partisanship, Why Not Parties? corrects this imbalance with a series of original essays that focus exclusively on the effects of parties in the workings of the upper chamber.
Illuminating the growing significance of these effects, the contributors explore three major areas, including the electoral foundations of parties, partisan procedural advantage, and partisan implications for policy. In the process, they investigate such issues as whether party discipline can overcome Senate mechanisms that invest the most power in individuals and small groups; how parties influence the making of legislation and the distribution of pork; and whether voters punish senators for not toeing party lines. The result is a timely corrective to the notion that parties don’t matter in the Senate—which the contributors reveal is far more similar to the lower chamber than conventional wisdom suggests.
Why Parties?: A Second Look
John H. Aldrich University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress JK2261.A458 2011 | Dewey Decimal 324.273
Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system.
Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how they serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Obama Health Care plan. Finally, Why Parties? A Second Look offers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why this system is necessary for effective democracy.
Since the founding of the American Republic, the North and South have followed remarkably different paths of political development. Among the factors that have led to their divergence throughout much of history are differences in the levels of competition among the political parties. While the North has generally enjoyed a well-defined two-party system, the South has tended to have only weakly developed political parties—and at times no system of parties to speak of.
With Why Parties Matter, John H. Aldrich and John D. Griffin make a compelling case that competition between political parties is an essential component of a democracy that is responsive to its citizens and thus able to address their concerns. Tracing the history of the parties through four eras—the Democratic-Whig party era that preceded the Civil War; the post-Reconstruction period; the Jim Crow era, when competition between the parties virtually disappeared; and the modern era—Aldrich and Griffin show how and when competition emerged between the parties and the conditions under which it succeeded and failed. In the modern era, as party competition in the South has come to be widely regarded as matching that of the North, the authors conclude by exploring the question of whether the South is poised to become a one-party system once again with the Republican party now dominant.
Why did the United States develop political parties? How and why do party alignments change? Are the party-centered elections of the past better for democratic politics than the candidate-centered elections of the present? In this landmark book, John Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system.
Surveying three critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how parties serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office; how to mobilize voters; and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Overcoming these obstacles, argues Aldrich, is possible only with political parties.
Aldrich brings this innovative account up to date by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II. In the 1960s, he shows, parties started to become candidate-centered organizations that are servants to their office seekers and officeholders. Aldrich argues that this development has revitalized parties, making them stronger, and more vital, with well-defined cleavages and highly effective governing ability.