front cover of 101 CHAMBERS
101 CHAMBERS
CONGRESS, STATE LEGISLATURES, & THE FUTURE OF LEGISLATIVE STUDIES
PEVERILL SQUIRE
The Ohio State University Press, 2005

Although legislative studies is thriving, it suffers from one glaring weakness: a lack of truly comparative, cross-institutional research. Instead, research focuses overwhelmingly on the U.S. Congress. This unfortunate fixation limits the way scholars approach the testing of many compelling theories of legislative organization and behavior, and it ignores the invaluable research possibilities that comparison with the 99 American state legislative chambers offers.

State legislatures are easily compared to Congress: They arise out of the same political culture and history. Their members represent the same parties and face the same voters in the same elections using the same rules. And the functions and roles are the same, with each fully capable of initiating, debating, and passing legislation. None of the methodological problems found when comparing presidential system legislatures with parliamentary system legislatures arise when comparing Congress and the state legislatures.

However, while there are great similarities, there are also important differences that provide scholars leverage for rigorously testing theories. The book compares and contrasts Congress and the state legislatures on histories, fundamental structures, institutional and organizational characteristics, and members. By highlighting the vast array of organizational schemes and behavioral patterns evidenced in state legislatures, the authors demonstrate that the potential for the study of American legislatures, as opposed to the separate efforts of Congressional and state legislative scholars, is too great to leave unexplored.

[more]

logo for University of Pittsburgh Press
Authoritarians and Democrats
Regime Transition in Latin America
James Malloy
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987

front cover of Beyond Left, Right, and Center
Beyond Left, Right, and Center
The Politics of Gender and Ethnicity in Contemporary Germany
Christina Xydias
Temple University Press, 2024
Women’s political representation is often expected to be better on “the left.” However, the reality is more complicated. Using Germany’s multi-party system as its central case study, Beyond Left, Right, and Center challenges this conventional wisdom on political ideology.

Christina Xydias shows that some right-leaning parties advocate for women’s rights and interests, while left- and right-leaning parties can be equally indifferent to lack of representation for women from marginalized groups. These findings follow from analyses of election results, transcripts from debates and speeches, and personal interviews, as well as from a close reading of intertwined military and citizenship policies that illustrate how women’s and ethnic minority groups’ rights are constructed.

Beyond Left, Right, and Center concludes with an analysis of women’s representation across OECD countries, showing that right-leaning parties are more likely to support women’s rights and interests in societies that are more egalitarian.
[more]

logo for Harvard University Press
Black Faces, Black Interests
The Representation of African Americans in Congress
Carol M. Swain
Harvard University Press, 1995
In this incisive book Carol Swain explores what strategies are most likely to lead to greater representation of black political interests. She studies the constituency relations and roll-call voting of black members of Congress from a variety of districts--historically black, newly black, heterogeneous, and primarily white--and of white members from districts with either a black majority or a significant black minority. She challenges the proposition that only African Americans can represent black interests effectively, and argues that blacks must form coalitions with white representatives to serve black needs. Swain has updated this edition with a new chapter entitled "Black Congressional Representation since 1992."
[more]

logo for University of Chicago Press
The Blue Guitar
Political Representation and Community
Nancy L. Schwartz
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Americans conceive of the process of political representation as operating like a "transmission belt." Elections convey citizens' preferences unchanged into the legislative assembly and thereby allow them to participate, through their representatives, in the political affairs of the nation. This conception stands firmly in the tradition of liberal thought, as does much theory about political representation. In that tradition, government is defined primarily in terms of power, and elections are little more than the means by which that power is transferred from the people to their representatives.

In The Blue Guitar (the title alludes to a poem by Wallace Stevens), Nancy L. Schwartz offers a radically new understanding of representation. As she sees it, representatives should be—and, in the past, have been—more than mere delegates or trustees of individual desires and interests and the process of representation more than the appropriation of power and control. Ideally, representation should transform both representative and citizen. Representatives should be caretakers of the community, not the watchdogs of special interest groups or individuals. Citizens in turn should feel increased personal responsibility for the whole that membership in the community entails. Moreover, representatives should serve as founders of their constituencies, constituting communities whose members value citizenship as an end in itself.

In her analysis, Schwartz canvasses the political experience of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance city-states to discover the communitarian meaning of citizenship, and she draws on classical political theory from Plato to Rousseau and Hegel, on the political sociology of Marx and Weber, and on such contemporary theorists as Arendt and Pitkin. Schwartz also enters the controversy over whether local, state, and national legislators should be selected by district or at-large elections. After examining a set of key Supreme Court cases on voting rights and district elections, she proposes that representatives come from single-member geographic districts.
[more]

front cover of Bringing Representation Home
Bringing Representation Home
State Legislators among Their Constituencies
Michael A. Smith
University of Missouri Press, 2003
 “What is representation?” is a question that has been raised and discussed many times. In Bringing Representation Home, Michael A. Smith strays from the norm by asking instead, “How can we discover what representation is?” In pursuing the answer to this question, Smith focuses on what representation is in practice, not what it is in theory. Over the course of two legislative sessions, Smith interviewed and observed twelve state representatives in an effort to better understand and define their approaches to representation. He offers generalizations, but only after grounding his study in descriptions of representatives performing their jobs.
The twelve representatives are divided into four categories: Burkeans, in-district advocates, advocates beyond the district, and ombudspersons. Burkeans emphasize character and experience, advocates stress “socializing the conflict,” and ombudspersons underscore listening, responding, and compromising. Smith superbly builds his argument for this classification through an assortment of illustrative examples. He also makes a strong case that home style—the symbolic presentation that a representative makes at home in seeking political support from constituents—is a product of the interaction between the legislator’s personality and progressive ambition and the district’s characteristics and politics. Smith contends that the key to an effective representational strategy is for a representative to have not only an ideology that reflects the politics of his or her community, but also an understanding of the district’s interests, informed by interactions with organized constituencies at home.
            Smith helps personalize the legislators of this study, providing a balanced, realistic view. He also offers a new treatment of the representational roles concept, drawing on recent controversies in political science. In this context, he discusses works by Donald Searing, Richard Fenno, Burdett Loomis, and Malcolm Jewell, among others.
Because the nature of representation at the state level is such an important topic—one that will become even more important as state legislatures gain greater influence—Bringing Representation Home makes a vital contribution to political science literature. Written in an accessible and engaging style, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of legislatures and state politics. 
[more]

front cover of The Budget-Maximizing Bureaucrat
The Budget-Maximizing Bureaucrat
Appraisals and Evidence
Andre Blais
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991

Thirteen scholars reexamine one of the most provocative and debated models of bureaucratic behavior, as developed by William A. Niskanen in his seminal book, Bureaucracy and Representative Government.  The essays evaluate a wide array of findings, both qualitative and quantitative, relevant to the various aspects of the model, and offer conclusions about its merits and limits, suggesting alternative explanations of bureaucratic behavior.  Niskanen provides his own reassessment and reflections on the debate.

[more]

front cover of The Challenge of Congressional Representation
The Challenge of Congressional Representation
Richard F. Fenno
Harvard University Press, 2013

At a moment when Congress is widely viewed as hyper-partisan and dysfunctional, Richard Fenno provides a variegated picture of American representational politics. The Challenge of Congressional Representation offers an up-close-and-personal look at the complex relationship between members of Congress and their constituents back home.

When not crafting policy in Washington, the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are busy assessing and building voter support in their districts. Fenno delves into the activities of five members of the House—Republicans representing Pennsylvania and New York, and Democrats from California, Florida, and Illinois. Spanning the ideological spectrum, these former and current representatives are senior lawmakers and rookie back-benchers from both urban and rural areas. Fenno travels with them in their own political territories, watching and talking with them, conducting interviews, and meeting aides and constituents. He illuminates the all-consuming nature of representational work—the complicated lives of House members shuttling back and forth between home and Capitol, building and maintaining networks, and making compromises. Agreeing to talk on the record without protective anonymity, these elected House members emerge as real personalities, at once praiseworthy and fallible.

While voting patterns and policy analysis constitute an important window into the legislative process, the nonquantifiable human element that political scientists so frequently overlook is the essence of negotiation. Fenno focuses our attention on how congressional leaders negotiate with constituents as well as with colleagues.

[more]

front cover of The Chiapas Rebellion
The Chiapas Rebellion
The Struggle for Land and Democracy
Neil Harvey
Duke University Press, 1998
In 1994 the Zapatista rebellion brought international attention to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Neil Harvey combines ten years of field work in Chiapas with extensive historical and political research to provide a comprehensive history of conflict in this region and a nuanced analysis of this rural uprising against federal bureaucracy and landed elites.
Beginning with an exploration of the history of ethnic and class conflict in Chiapas since the Conquest, Harvey moves specifically to trace the development of peasant and indigenous organizations in Chiapas since the early 1970s. He compares the struggles for agrarian rights of three grassroots movements facing hostility from both local elites and federal bureaucrats. His examination of the complexities of political change in Chiapas includes the impact of neoliberal economic policies, the origins of the Zapatista army of National Liberation (EZLN), and the political impact of the rebellion itself. Engaging with current theoretical debates on the role and significance of social movements in Mexico and Latin America, Harvey focuses on the primacy of political struggle and on the importance of these movements in the construction and meaning of citizenship. While suggesting that the Zapatista revolution has heightened awareness among the people of Chiapas of such democratic issues as ethnicity, gender, and land distribution, he concludes with an analysis of the obstacles to peace in the region today.
This unprecedented study of the Zapatista rebellion will provoke discussion among students and scholars of contemporary Mexico, political science, Latin American studies, history, sociology, and anthropology.
[more]

front cover of Citizenship in the American Republic
Citizenship in the American Republic
Brian L. Fife
University of Michigan Press, 2021

The Constitution has governed the United States since 1789, but many Americans are not aware of the structural rules that govern the oldest democracy in the world. Important public policy challenges require a knowledgeable, interested citizenry able to address the issues that represent the rich pageantry of American society. Issues such as climate change, national debt, poverty, pandemics, income inequality, and more can be addressed sufficiently if citizens play an active role in their own republic. Collectively, citizens are vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation if we place limits on our individual political knowledge. A more informed, engaged citizenry can best rise to the great policy challenges of contemporary society and beyond.

Brian L. Fife provides readers with essential information on all aspects of American politics, showing them how to use political knowledge to shape the future of the republic. Activist citizens are the key to making the United States a more vibrant democracy. Fife equips citizens and would-be citizens with the tools and understanding they need to engage fully in the political process. At the end of each chapter, he analyzes why citizenship matters and how citizens can use that chapter’s material in their own lives. Fife also provides readers with a citizen homework section that presents web links to further explore issues raised in each chapter.

[more]

front cover of The Color of Representation
The Color of Representation
Congressional Behavior and Black Interests
Kenny J. Whitby
University of Michigan Press, 2000
The central domestic issue in the United States over the long history of this nation has been the place of the people of color in American society. One aspect of this debate is how African-Americans are represented in Congress. Kenny J. Whitby examines congressional responsiveness to black interests by focusing on the representational link between African-American constituents and the policymaking behavior of members of the United States House of Representatives. The book uses the topics of voting rights, civil rights, and race- based redistricting to examine how members of Congress respond to the interests of black voters. Whitby's analysis weighs the relative effect of district characteristics such as partisanship, regional location, degree of urbanization and the size of the black constituency on the voting behavior of House members over time. Whitby explores how black interests are represented in formal, descriptive, symbolic, and substantive terms. He shows the political tradeoffs involved in redistricting to increase the number of African-Americans in Congress.
The book is the most comprehensive analysis of black politics in the congressional context ever published. It will appeal to political scientists, sociologists, historians, and psychologists concerned with minority politics, legislative politics, and the psychological, political, and sociological effects of increasing minority membership in Congress on the perception of government held by African Americans.
Kenny J. Whitby is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of South Carolina.
[more]

logo for University of Chicago Press
The Concept of Representation in the Age of the American Revolution
John Phillip Reid
University of Chicago Press, 1989
"Americans did not rebel from Great Britain because they wanted a different government. They rebelled because they believed that Parliament was violating constitutional precepts. Colonial Whigs did not fight for American rights. They fought for English rights."—from the Preface

John Phillip Reid goes on to argue that it was generally the application, not the definition, of these rights that was disputed. The sole—and critical—exception concerned the right of representation. American perceptions of the responsibility of representatives to their constituents, the necessity of equal representation, and the constitutional function of consent had diverged gradually, but significantly, from British tradition. Drawing on his mastery of eighteenth-century legal thought, Reid explores the origins and shifting meanings of representation, consent, arbitrary rule, and constitution. He demonstrates that the controversy which led to the American Revolution had more to do with jurisprudential and constitutional principles than with democracy and equality. This book will interest legal historians, Constitutional scholars, and political theorists.
[more]

logo for Harvard University Press
Constituencies and Leaders in Congress
Their Effects on Senate Voting Behavior
John E. Jackson
Harvard University Press, 1974

This study may be the most sophisticated statistical study of legislative voting now in print. The author asks why legislators, especially U.S. senators, vote as they do. Are they influenced by their constituencies, party, committee leaders, the President? By taking a relatively short time span, the years 1961 to 1963, the author is able to give us answers far beyond any we have had before, and some rather surprising ones at that.

Constituencies played a different, but more important role in senators' voting than earlier studies have shown. Senators appeared to be responding both to the opinion held by their constituents on different issues and to the intensity with which these opinions were held. On the interrelation of constituencies and party, Mr. Jackson finds that Republicans and southern Democrats were particularly influenced by their voters.

The clearest cases of leadership influence were among the non-southern members of the Democratic Party. Western Republicans, on the other hand, rejected the leadership of party members for that of committee leaders. Finally, on Presidential leadership, Mr. Jackson shows that John F. Kennedy influenced senators only during the first two years of his administration. All of these findings challenge conventional wisdom and are bound to influence future work in legislative behavior.

[more]

front cover of Constitutional Self-Government
Constitutional Self-Government
Christopher L. Eisgruber
Harvard University Press, 2001

Most of us regard the Constitution as the foundation of American democracy. How, then, are we to understand the restrictions that it imposes on legislatures and voters? Why, for example, does the Constitution allow unelected judges to exercise so much power? And why is this centuries-old document so difficult to amend? In short, how can we call ourselves a democracy when we are bound by an entrenched, and sometimes counter-majoritarian, constitution?

In Constitutional Self-Government, Christopher Eisgruber focuses directly on the Constitution's seemingly undemocratic features. Whereas other scholars have tried to reconcile these features with majority rule, or simply acknowledged them as necessary limits on democracy, Eisgruber argues that constitutionalism is best regarded not as a constraint upon self-government, but as a crucial ingredient in a complex, non-majoritarian form of democracy. In an original and provocative argument, he contends that legislatures and elections provide only an incomplete representation of the people, and he claims that the Supreme Court should be regarded as another of the institutions able to speak for Americans about justice. At a pivotal moment of worldwide interest in judicial review and renewed national controversy over the Supreme Court's role in politics, Constitutional Self-Government ingeniously locates the Constitution's value in its capacity to sustain an array of institutions that render self-government meaningful for a large and diverse people.

[more]

front cover of Creating Political Presence
Creating Political Presence
The New Politics of Democratic Representation
Edited by Dario Castiglione and Johannes Pollak
University of Chicago Press, 2018
For at least two centuries, democratic representation has been at the center of debate. Should elected representatives express the views of the majority, or do they have the discretion to interpret their constituents’ interests? How can representatives balance the desires of their parties and their electors? What should be done to strengthen the representation of groups that have been excluded from the political system? Representative democracy itself remains frequently contested, regarded as incapable of reflecting the will of the masses, or inadequate for today’s global governance. Recently, however, this view of democratic representation has been under attack for its failure to capture the performative and constructive elements of the process of representation, and a new literature more attentive to these aspects of the relationship between representatives and the represented has arisen.

In Creating Political Presence, a diverse and international group of scholars explores the implications of such a turn. Two broad, overlapping perspectives emerge. In the first section, the contributions investigate how political representation relates to empowerment, either facilitating or interfering with the capacity of citizens to develop autonomous judgment in collective decision making. Contributions in the second section look at representation from the perspective of inclusion, focusing on how representative relationships and claims articulate the demands of those who are excluded or have no voice. The final section examines political representation from a more systemic perspective, exploring its broader environmental conditions and the way it acquires democratic legitimacy.
 
[more]

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

logo for Harvard University Press
The Demands of Liberty
Civil Society in France since the Revolution
Pierre Rosanvallon
Harvard University Press, 2007

How does France reconcile the modern movement toward pluralism and decentralization with a strong central governing power? One of the country's most distinguished political historians offers a radical new interpretation of the development of democracy in France and the relationship between government and its citizens.

Since the publication of Tocqueville's Ancient Regime and the Revolution, French political structures have been viewed as the pure expression of a native Jacobinism, itself the continuation of an old absolutism. This interpretation has served as both a diagnosis of and an excuse for the inability to accept pluralism and decentralization as norms of a modern democracy, as evidenced in such policies as the persistence of the role of prefects and the ban on headscarves in schools.

Pierre Rosanvallon, by contrast, argues that the French have cherished and demonized Jacobinism at the same time; their hearts followed Robespierre, but their heads turned toward Benjamin Constant. The Demands of Liberty traces the long history of resistance to Jacobinism, including the creation of associations and unions and the implementation of elements of decentralization. Behind the ideological triumph of the state lies the conflicting creation of an active civil society.

In exploring these tensions, Rosanvallon takes the debate far beyond traditional views of liberalism versus republicanism and offers an innovative analysis of why the French system has worked despite Jacobinism.

[more]

front cover of Democracy and Disagreement
Democracy and Disagreement
Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson
Harvard University Press, 1996

The din and deadlock of public life in America—where insults are traded, slogans proclaimed, and self-serving deals made and unmade—reveal the deep disagreement that pervades our democracy. The disagreement is not only political but also moral, as citizens and their representatives increasingly take extreme and intransigent positions. A better kind of public discussion is needed, and Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson provide an eloquent argument for “deliberative democracy” today. They develop a principled framework for opponents to come together on moral and political issues.

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 separated by class, race, religion, and gender to reason together. Their work goes beyond that of most political theorists and social scientists by exploring both the principles for reasonable argument and their application to actual cases. Not only do the authors suggest how deliberative democracy can work, they also show why improving our collective capacity for moral argument is better than referring all disagreements to procedural politics or judicial institutions. Democracy and Disagreement presents a compelling approach to how we might resolve some of our most trying moral disagreements and live with those that will inevitably persist, on terms that all of us can respect.

[more]

front cover of Democracy and the Ethical Life
Democracy and the Ethical Life
A Philosophy of Politics and Community (Second Edition, Expanded)
Claes G. Ryn
Catholic University of America Press, 1990
This study goes to the heart of ethics and politics. Strongly argued and lucidly written, the book makes a crucial distinction between two forms of democracy
[more]

front cover of Democracy, Inequality, and Representation in Comparative Perspective
Democracy, Inequality, and Representation in Comparative Perspective
Pablo Beramendi
Russell Sage Foundation, 2008
The gap between the richest and poorest Americans has grown steadily over the last thirty years, and economic inequality is on the rise in many other industrialized democracies as well. But the magnitude and pace of the increase differs dramatically across nations. A country's political system and its institutions play a critical role in determining levels of inequality in a society. Democracy, Inequality, and Representation argues that the reverse is also true—inequality itself shapes political systems and institutions in powerful and often overlooked ways. In Democracy, Inequality, and Representation, distinguished political scientists and economists use a set of international databases to examine the political causes and consequences of income inequality. The volume opens with an examination of how differing systems of political representation contribute to cross-national variations in levels of inequality. Torben Iverson and David Soskice calculate that taxes and income transfers help reduce the poverty rate in Sweden by over 80 percent, while the comparable figure for the United States is only 13 percent. Noting that traditional economic models fail to account for this striking discrepancy, the authors show how variations in electoral systems lead to very different outcomes. But political causes of disparity are only one part of the equation. The contributors also examine how inequality shapes the democratic process. Pablo Beramendi and Christopher Anderson show how disparity mutes political voices: at the individual level, citizens with the lowest incomes are the least likely to vote, while high levels of inequality in a society result in diminished electoral participation overall. Thomas Cusack, Iverson, and Philipp Rehm demonstrate that uncertainty in the economy changes voters' attitudes; the mere risk of losing one's job generates increased popular demand for income support policies almost as much as actual unemployment does. Ronald Rogowski and Duncan McRae illustrate how changes in levels of inequality can drive reforms in political institutions themselves. Increased demand for female labor participation during World War II led to greater equality between men and women, which in turn encouraged many European countries to extend voting rights to women for the first time. The contributors to this important new volume skillfully disentangle a series of complex relationships between economics and politics to show how inequality both shapes and is shaped by policy. Democracy, Inequality, and Representation provides deeply nuanced insight into why some democracies are able to curtail inequality—while others continue to witness a division that grows ever deeper.
[more]

front cover of ELECTORAL REFORM AND MINORITY REPRESENTATION
ELECTORAL REFORM AND MINORITY REPRESENTATION
LOCAL EXPERIMENTS WITH ALTERNATIVE ELECTIONS
SHAUN BOWLER
The Ohio State University Press, 2003

Questions of minority representation have long plagued the U.S. voting systems. The standard election often leaves political, racial, or ethnic minorities with little chance of being represented. Race-conscious districting remains the primary policy tool used for providing representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States—and it continues to generate tremendous conflict. Can alternatives to race-conscious, single-member districts offer benefits that extend beyond simply providing descriptive representations of minorities?

This study examines one such “semi-proportional” representation election system: Cumulative Voting (CV). For over a decade, scores of local U.S. governments have been elected by Cumulative Voting. This provides us with the ability to examine the effects of CV elections over time. Moreover, the use of CV in the United States allows us to compare politics in places that adopted CV to highly similar places that did not. Electoral Reform and Minority Representation shares evidence that CV elections can produce minority representation that matches levels generated with the drawing of race-conscious “majority-minority” districting. It also offers evidence that the quality of democratic processes in CV communities is in several ways higher that those under districts.

Given America’s growing racial and ethnic diversity, and given successful legal challenges that limit the use of race-conscious districting Electoral Reform and Minority Representation suggests that Cumulative Voting may be a better way to achieve minority representation in U.S. politics.

[more]

front cover of Governing Gaza
Governing Gaza
Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917–1967
Ilana Feldman
Duke University Press, 2008
Marred by political tumult and violent conflict since the early twentieth century, Gaza has been subject to a multiplicity of rulers. Still not part of a sovereign state, it would seem too exceptional to be a revealing site for a study of government. Ilana Feldman proves otherwise. She demonstrates that a focus on the Gaza Strip uncovers a great deal about how government actually works, not only in that small geographical space but more generally. Gaza’s experience shows how important bureaucracy is for the survival of government. Feldman analyzes civil service in Gaza under the British Mandate (1917–48) and the Egyptian Administration (1948–67). In the process, she sheds light on how governing authority is produced and reproduced; how government persists, even under conditions that seem untenable; and how government affects and is affected by the people and places it governs.

Drawing on archival research in Gaza, Cairo, Jerusalem, and London, as well as two years of ethnographic research with retired civil servants in Gaza, Feldman identifies two distinct, and in some ways contradictory, governing practices. She illuminates mechanisms of “reiterative authority” derived from the minutiae of daily bureaucratic practice, such as the repetitions of filing procedures, the accumulation of documents, and the habits of civil servants. Looking at the provision of services, she highlights the practice of “tactical government,” a deliberately restricted mode of rule that makes limited claims about governmental capacity, shifting in response to crisis and operating without long-term planning. This practice made it possible for government to proceed without claiming legitimacy: by holding the question of legitimacy in abeyance. Feldman shows that Gaza’s governments were able to manage under, though not to control, the difficult conditions in Gaza by deploying both the regularity of everyday bureaucracy and the exceptionality of tactical practice.

[more]

logo for Harvard University Press
“Here, the People Rule”
A Constitutional Populist Manifesto
Richard D. Parker
Harvard University Press, 1994

Democracy—its aspirations, its dangers—is what, most fundamentally, our Constitution is about. The question, Richard Parker argues in this powerful book, is how to imagine our democracy. Provocative in style and substance, this manifesto challenges orthodoxies of constitutional legal studies, particularly the idea that constitutionalism and populist democracy stand opposed. Parker presents a populist argument. He contends that the mission of constitutional law should be to promote, not limit, the expression of ordinary political energy—thus to extend, rather than constrain, majority rule.

At the root of the matter, Parker finds a question of “sensibility”—assumptions and attitudes about the political energy of ordinary people. He approaches this sensibility in a novel way, through a work of fiction about politics, Thomas Mann’s Mario and the Magician. Offering two “takes” on the story, Parker shows how it evokes—and elucidates—our deepest, most problematic attitudes about popular political energy in our own democracy. He goes on to elaborate these attitudes within our practice of constitutional argument. This is a book about the people, and for the people, a reimagination of constitutional law’s populist potential. It will disorient—then reorient—the thinking of everyone who is concerned about democracy and the Constitution.

[more]

front cover of Home Field Advantage
Home Field Advantage
Roots, Reelection, and Representation in the Modern Congress
Charles Hunt
University of Michigan Press, 2022

Although partisan polarization gets much of the attention in political science scholarship about Congress, members of Congress represent diverse communities around the country. Home Field Advantage demonstrates the importance of this understudied element of American congressional elections and representation in the modern era: the local, place-based roots that members of Congress have in their home districts. Charles Hunt argues that legislators’ local roots in their district have a significant and independent impact on their campaigns, election outcomes, and more broadly on the relationship between members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their constituents. Drawing on original data, his research reveals that there is considerable variation in election outcomes, performance relative to presidential candidates, campaign spending, and constituent communication styles that are not fully explained by partisanship, incumbency, or other well-established theories of American political representation. Rather, many of these differences are the result of the depth of a legislator’s local roots in their district that predate their time in Congress. Hunt lays out a detailed “Theory of Local Roots” and their influence in congressional representation, demonstrating this influence empirically using multiple original measures of local roots over a full cross-section of legislators and a significant period of time.

[more]

front cover of How Democracy Works
How Democracy Works
Political Representation and Policy Congruence in Modern Societies
Edited by Martin Rosema, Bas Denters, and Kees Aarts
Amsterdam University Press, 2011

In this book, a group of leading scholars analyzes the functioning of modern democracies by focusing on two basic principles: political representation and policy congruence. Drawing on recent survey data from a variety of national and international research projects, they demonstrate how political representation works and mostly leads to a fair degree of policy congruence between citizens and their representatives. They also present new insights on the sources of satisfaction with democracy and the impact of the economy on elections and political trust.

 This book is published on the occasion of the retirement of Jacques Thomassen as distinguished professor of political science at the University of Twente. The contributors include Russell Dalton, Hans‐Dieter Klingemann, Pippa Norris, Ola Listhaug, Hanne Marthe Narud, Jan van Deth, Peter Mair, Cees van der Eijk, Hermann Schmitt, Sören Holmberg and Rudy Andeweg.

 
Martin Rosema, Bas Denters and Kees Aarts are affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and the Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies (IGS) at the University of Twente.

[more]

front cover of Implementing Term Limits
Implementing Term Limits
The Case of the Michigan Legislature
Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson and Lyke Thompson
University of Michigan Press, 2017
Today, 70 percent of the American public supports reforms that would limit the number of terms a state legislator may serve, and the advocacy group U.S. Term Limits promotes this reform at all levels of government. But are advocates correct that term limits ensure citizens dedicated to the common good—rather than self-serving career politicians—run government? Or does the enforced high rate of turnover undermine the legislature’s ability to function?

In Implementing Term Limits, Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson and Lyke Thompson bring thirteen years of intensive research and 460 interviews to assess changes since Michigan’s implementation of term limits in 1993 and explore their implications. Paying special attention to term limits’ institutional effects, they also consider legislative representation, political accountability, and the role of the bureaucracy and interest groups in state legislatures.

Their thorough study suggests that legislators are less accessible to officials and that there is a larger gap between legislators and their voters. Moreover, legislators become much more politically ambitious after term limits and spend more time on political activities. The selection of top chamber leaders is complicated by newcomers’ lack of knowledge about and experience working with the leaders they elect before being sworn in. As a result, term limits in Michigan fail to deliver on many of the “good government” promises that appeal to citizens.

Implementing Term Limits makes a unique and valuable contribution to the debate over the best means by which to obtain truly democratic institutions.

 

[more]

front cover of Insecure Majorities
Insecure Majorities
Congress and the Perpetual Campaign
Frances E. Lee
University of Chicago Press, 2016
As Democrats and Republicans continue to vie for political advantage, Congress remains paralyzed by partisan conflict. That the last two decades have seen some of the least productive Congresses in recent history is usually explained by the growing ideological gulf between the parties, but this explanation misses another fundamental factor influencing the dynamic. In contrast to politics through most of the twentieth century, the contemporary Democratic and Republican parties compete for control of Congress at relative parity, and this has dramatically changed the parties’ incentives and strategies in ways that have driven the contentious partisanship characteristic of contemporary American politics.
           
With Insecure Majorities, Frances E. Lee offers a controversial new perspective on the rise of congressional party conflict, showing how the shift in competitive circumstances has had a profound impact on how Democrats and Republicans interact. For nearly half a century, Democrats were the majority party, usually maintaining control of the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Republicans did not stand much chance of winning majority status, and Democrats could not conceive of losing it. Under such uncompetitive conditions, scant collective action was exerted by either party toward building or preserving a majority. Beginning in the 1980s, that changed, and most elections since have offered the prospect of a change of party control. Lee shows, through an impressive range of interviews and analysis, how competition for control of the government drives members of both parties to participate in actions that promote their own party’s image and undercut that of the opposition, including the perpetual hunt for issues that can score political points by putting the opposing party on the wrong side of public opinion. More often than not, this strategy stands in the way of productive bipartisan cooperation—and it is also unlikely to change as long as control of the government remains within reach for both parties.
 
[more]

front cover of John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
On Democracy, Freedom and Government & Other Selected Writings
John Stuart Mill
St. Augustine's Press, 2019
In addition to “On Liberty” and “On Representative Government,” this new selection of Mill’s writings includes, among others, a number of less known of his writings, such as: “Civilization,” “Perfectibility,” “The Negro Question,” “On Education,” “On Aristocracy,” “On Marriage,” “On Free Press,” “Socialism,” Mill’s review of Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” his letters to Tocqueville, and several other writings.

If one can use a somewhat exaggerated language, Mill’s writings are to liberal-democracy what Marx and Engels’ writings were to Communism. Both systems gave expression to 19th century man’s longing for equality and justice, both promised to liberate him from the shackles of oppression, authority and tradition. Instead of liberating man, Communism created the most brutal system in human history, and its spectacular fall in 1989 is one of history’s greatest events. Western world today shows that liberal-democracy is no longer a benign doctrine, which advocates free market, minimum state and individual liberties, but, like Communism, is an all-encompassing ideology which forces an individual to abdicate his freedom and soul in favor of a Communist-like collective.

As many critics of real Socialism could see the seeds of totalitarianism in the writings of Marx and Engels, so one can see the seeds of liberal totalitarianism in Mill’s writings. This new edition is intended to help readers to understand why democratic-liberalism came so close to its 19th century ideological rival.
[more]

front cover of Just Elections
Just Elections
Creating a Fair Electoral Process in the United States
Dennis F. Thompson
University of Chicago Press, 2002
The 2000 election showed that the mechanics of voting such as ballot design, can make a critical difference in the accuracy and fairness of our elections. But as Dennis F. Thompson shows, even more fundamental issues must be addressed to insure that our electoral system is just.

Thompson argues that three central democratic principles—equal respect, free choice, and popular sovereignty—underlie our electoral institutions, and should inform any assessment of the justice of elections. Although we may all endorse these principles in theory, Thompson shows that in practice we disagree about their meaning and application. He shows how they create conflicts among basic values across a broad spectrum of electoral controversies, from disagreements about term limits and primaries to disputes about recounts and presidential electors.

To create a fair electoral system, Thompson argues, we must deliberate together about these principles and take greater control of the procedures that govern our elections. He demonstrates how applying the principles of justice to electoral practices can help us answer questions that our electoral system poses: Should race count in redistricting? Should the media call elections before the polls close? How should we limit the power of money in elections?

Accessible and wide ranging, Just Elections masterfully weaves together the philosophical, legal, and political aspects of the electoral process. Anyone who wants to understand the deeper issues at stake in American elections and the consequences that follow them will need to read it.

In answering these and other questions, Thompson examines the arguments that citizens and their representatives actually use in political forums, congressional debates and hearings, state legislative proceedings, and meetings of commissions and local councils. In addition, the book draws on a broad range of literature: democratic theory, including writings by Madison, Hamilton, and Tocqueville, and contemporary philosophers, as well as recent studies in political science, and work in election law.
[more]

front cover of Kuxlejal Politics
Kuxlejal Politics
Indigenous Autonomy, Race, and Decolonizing Research in Zapatista Communities
By Mariana Mora
University of Texas Press, 2017

Over the past two decades, Zapatista indigenous community members have asserted their autonomy and self-determination by using everyday practices as part of their struggle for lekil kuxlejal, a dignified collective life connected to a specific territory. This in-depth ethnography summarizes Mariana Mora’s more than ten years of extended research and solidarity work in Chiapas, with Tseltal and Tojolabal community members helping to design and evaluate her fieldwork. The result of that collaboration—a work of activist anthropology—reveals how Zapatista kuxlejal (or life) politics unsettle key racialized effects of the Mexican neoliberal state.

Through detailed narratives, thick descriptions, and testimonies, Kuxlejal Politics focuses on central spheres of Zapatista indigenous autonomy, particularly governing practices, agrarian reform, women’s collective work, and the implementation of justice, as well as health and education projects. Mora situates the proposals, possibilities, and challenges associated with these decolonializing cultural politics in relation to the racialized restructuring that has characterized the Mexican state over the past twenty years. She demonstrates how, despite official multicultural policies designed to offset the historical exclusion of indigenous people, the Mexican state actually refueled racialized subordination through ostensibly color-blind policies, including neoliberal land reform and poverty alleviation programs. Mora’s findings allow her to critically analyze the deeply complex and often contradictory ways in which the Zapatistas have reconceptualized the political and contested the ordering of Mexican society along lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and class.

[more]

front cover of The Latin American Voter
The Latin American Voter
Pursuing Representation and Accountability in Challenging Contexts
Ryan E. Carlin, Matthew M. Singer, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister
University of Michigan Press, 2015
In this volume, experts on Latin American public opinion and political behavior employ region-wide public opinion studies, elite surveys, experiments, and advanced statistical methods to reach several key conclusions about voting behavior in the region’s emerging democracies. In Latin America, to varying degrees the average voter grounds his or her decision in factors identified in classic models of voter choice. Individuals are motivated to go to the polls and select elected officials on the basis of class, religion, gender, ethnicity and other demographic factors; substantive political connections including partisanship, left-right stances, and policy preferences; and politician performance in areas like the economy, corruption, and crime.

Yet evidence from Latin America shows that the determinants of voter choice cannot be properly understood without reference to context—the substance (specific cleavages, campaigns, performance) and the structure (fragmentation and polarization) that characterize the political environment. Voting behavior reflects the relative youth and fluidity of the region’s party systems, as parties emerge and splinter to a far greater degree than in long-standing party systems.  Consequently, explanations of voter choice centered around country differences stand on equal footing to explanations focused on individual-level factors.
[more]

front cover of Madison's Nightmare
Madison's Nightmare
How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy
Peter M. Shane
University of Chicago Press, 2009

The George W. Bush administration’s ambitious—even breathtaking—claims of unilateral executive authority raised deep concerns among constitutional scholars, civil libertarians, and ordinary citizens alike. But Bush’s attempts to assert his power are only the culmination of a near-thirty-year assault on the basic checks and balances of the U.S. government—a battle waged by presidents of both parties, and one that, as Peter M. Shane warns in Madison’s Nightmare, threatens to utterly subvert the founders’ vision of representative government.

Tracing this tendency back to the first Reagan administration, Shane shows how this era of "aggressive presidentialism" has seen presidents exerting ever more control over nearly every arena of policy, from military affairs and national security to domestic programs. Driven by political ambition and a growing culture of entitlement in the executive branch—and abetted by a complaisant Congress, riven by partisanship—this presidential aggrandizement has too often undermined wise policy making and led to shallow, ideological, and sometimes outright lawless decisions. The solution, Shane argues, will require a multipronged program of reform, including both specific changes in government practice and broader institutional changes aimed at supporting a renewed culture of government accountability.

From the war on science to the mismanaged war on terror, Madison’s Nightmare outlines the disastrous consequences of the unchecked executive—and issues a stern wake-up call to all who care about the fate of our long democratic experiment.

[more]

front cover of Making Constituencies
Making Constituencies
Representation as Mobilization in Mass Democracy
Lisa Jane Disch
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Public division is not new; in fact, it is the lifeblood of politics, and political representatives have constructed divisions throughout history to mobilize constituencies.

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the idea of a divided United States has become commonplace. In the wake of the 2020 election, some commentators warned that the American public was the most divided it has been since the Civil War. Political scientists, political theorists, and public intellectuals have suggested that uninformed, misinformed, and disinformed voters are at the root of this division. Some are simply unwilling to accept facts or science, which makes them easy targets for elite manipulation. It also creates a grass-roots political culture that discourages cross-partisan collaboration in Washington.
 
Yet, manipulation of voters is not as grave a threat to democracy in America as many scholars and pundits make it out to be. The greater threat comes from a picture that partisans use to rally their supporters: that of an America sorted into opposing camps so deeply rooted that they cannot be shaken loose and remade. Making Constituencies proposes a new theory of representation as mobilization to argue that divisions like these are not inherent in society, but created, and political representatives of all kinds forge and deploy them to cultivate constituencies.
[more]

logo for University of London Press
Making Institutions Work in Peru
Democracy, Development and Inequality Since 1980
Edited by John Crabtree
University of London Press, 2006

front cover of The Many Faces of Strategic Voting
The Many Faces of Strategic Voting
Tactical Behavior in Electoral Systems Around the World
Laura B. Stephenson, John H. Aldrich, and André Blais, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2018

Voters do not always choose their preferred candidate on election day. Often they cast their ballots to prevent a particular outcome, as when their own preferred candidate has no hope of winning and they want to prevent another, undesirable candidate’s victory; or, they vote to promote a single-party majority in parliamentary systems, when their own candidate is from a party that has no hope of winning. In their thought-provoking book The Many Faces of Strategic Voting, Laura B. Stephenson, John H. Aldrich, and André Blais first provide a conceptual framework for understanding why people vote strategically, and what the differences are between sincere and strategic voting behaviors. Expert contributors then explore the many facets of strategic voting through case studies in Great Britain, Spain, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and the European Union.

[more]

front cover of Mass–Elite Representation Gap in Old and New Democracies
Mass–Elite Representation Gap in Old and New Democracies
Critical Junctures and Elite Agency
Edited by Jaemin Shim
University of Michigan Press, 2024
How can we expect policy preference mismatch between voters and their representatives?
[more]

front cover of Me the People
Me the People
How Populism Transforms Democracy
Nadia Urbinati
Harvard University Press, 2019

A timely and incisive assessment of what the success of populism means for democracy.

Populist movements have recently appeared in nearly every democracy around the world. Yet our grasp of this disruptive political phenomenon remains woefully inadequate. Politicians of all stripes appeal to the interests of the people, and every opposition party campaigns against the current establishment. What, then, distinguishes populism from run-of-the-mill democratic politics? And why should we be concerned by its rise?

In Me the People, Nadia Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as a new form of representative government, one based on a direct relationship between the leader and those the leader defines as the “good” or “right” people. Populist leaders claim to speak to and for the people without the need for intermediaries—in particular, political parties and independent media—whom they blame for betraying the interests of the ordinary many. Urbinati shows that, while populist governments remain importantly distinct from dictatorial or fascist regimes, their dependence on the will of the leader, along with their willingness to exclude the interests of those deemed outside the bounds of the “good” or “right” people, stretches constitutional democracy to its limits and opens a pathway to authoritarianism.

Weaving together theoretical analysis, the history of political thought, and current affairs, Me the People presents an original and illuminating account of populism and its relation to democracy.

[more]

front cover of Minority Report
Minority Report
Evaluating Political Equality in America
John D. Griffin and Brian Newman
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Are the views of Latinos and African Americans underrepresented in our federal government?  For that matter, what does it mean to be represented equitably? Rather than taking for granted a single answer to these complex questions, John Griffin and Brian Newman use different measures of political equality to reveal which groups get what they want from government and what factors lead to their successes.
 
One of the first books to compare the representation of both African Americans and Latinos to that of whites, Minority Report shows that congressional decisions and federal policy tend to mirror the preferences of whites as a group and as individuals better than the preferences of either minority group, even after accounting for income disparities. This is far from the whole story, though, and the authors’ multifaceted approach illustrates the surprising degree to which group population size, an issue’s level of importance, the race or ethnicity of an office holder, and electoral turnout can affect how well government action reflects the views of each person or group. Sure to be controversial, Minority Report ultimately goes beyond statistical analyses to address the root question of what equal representation really means.
[more]

front cover of Mixed-Member Electoral Systems in Constitutional Context
Mixed-Member Electoral Systems in Constitutional Context
Taiwan, Japan, and Beyond
Edited by Nathan F. Batto, Chi Huang, Alexander C. Tan, and Gary W. Cox
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Reformers have promoted mixed-member electoral systems as the “best of both worlds.” In this volume, internationally recognized political scientists evaluate the ways in which the introduction of a mixed-member electoral system affects the configuration of political parties. The contributors examine several political phenomena, including cabinet post allocation, nominations, preelectoral coalitions, split-ticket voting, and the size of party systems and faction systems. Significantly, they also consider various ways in which the constitutional system—especially whether the head of government is elected directly or indirectly—can modify the incentives created by the electoral system.

Part I of the book provides an in-depth comparison of Taiwan and Japan, both of which moved from single nontransferable vote systems to mixed-member majoritarian systems. These cases demonstrate that the higher the payoffs of attaining the executive office and the greater the degree of cross-district coordination required to win it, the stronger the incentives for elites to form and stay in the major parties. In such a context, a country will move rapidly toward a two-party system. In Part II, the contributors apply this theoretical logic to other countries with mixed-member systems and find that executive competition has the same effect on legislative electoral rules in countries as disparate as Thailand, the Philippines, New Zealand, Bolivia, and Russia.

The findings presented here demonstrate that the success of electoral reform depends not only on the specification of new electoral rules per se but also on the political context—and especially the constitutional framework—within which such rules are embedded.

[more]

front cover of Negotiating in Civil Conflict
Negotiating in Civil Conflict
Constitutional Construction and Imperfect Bargaining in Iraq
Haider Ala Hamoudi
University of Chicago Press, 2013
In 2005, Iraq drafted its first constitution and held the country’s first democratic election in more than fifty years. Even under ideal conditions, drafting a constitution can be a prolonged process marked by contentious debate, and conditions in Iraq are far from ideal: Iraq has long been racked by ethnic and sectarian conflict, which intensified following the American invasion and continues today. This severe division, which often erupted into violence, would not seem to bode well for the fate of democracy. So how is it that Iraq was able to surmount its sectarianism to draft a constitution that speaks to the conflicting and largely incompatible ideological view of the Sunnis, Shi’ah, and Kurds?
 
Haider Ala Hamoudi served in 2009 as an adviser to Iraq’s Constitutional Review Committee, and he argues here that the terms of the Iraqi Constitution are sufficiently capacious to be interpreted in a variety of ways, allowing it to appeal to the country’s three main sects despite their deep disagreements. While some say that this ambiguity avoids the challenging compromises that ultimately must be made if the state is to survive, Hamoudi maintains that to force these compromises on issues of central importance to ethnic and sectarian identity would almost certainly result in the imposition of one group’s views on the others. Drawing on the original negotiating documents, he shows that this feature of the Constitution was not an act of evasion, as is sometimes thought, but a mark of its drafters’ awareness in recognizing the need to permit the groups the time necessary to develop their own methods of working with one another over time.

[more]

front cover of The New Science of Politics
The New Science of Politics
An Introduction
Eric Voegelin
University of Chicago Press, 1987
"Thirty-five years ago few could have predicted that The New Science of Politics would be a best-seller by political theory standards. Compressed within the Draconian economy of the six Walgreen lectures is a complete theory of man, society, and history, presented at the most profound and intellectual level. . . . Voegelin's [work] stands out in bold relief from much of what has passed under the name of political science in recent decades. . . . The New Science is aptly titled, for Voegelin makes clear at the outset that a 'return to the specific content' of premodern political theory is out of the question. . . . The subtitle of the book, An Introduction, clearly indicates that The New Science of Politics is an invitation to join the search for the recovery of our full humanity."—From the new Foreword by Dante Germino

"This book must be considered one of the most enlightening essays on the character of European politics that has appeared in half a century. . . . This is a book powerful and vivid enough to make agreement or disagreement with even its main thesis relatively unimportant."—Times Literary Supplement

"Voegelin . . . is one of the most distinguished interpreters to Americans of the non-liberal streams of European thought. . . . He brings a remarkable breadth of knowledge, and a historical imagination that ranges frequently into brilliant insights and generalizations."—Francis G. Wilson, American Political Science Review

"This book is beautifully constructed . . . his erudition constantly brings a startling illumination."—Martin Wright, International Affairs

"A ledestar to thinking men who seek a restoration of political science on the classic and Christian basis . . . a significant accomplishment in the retheorization of our age."—Anthony Harrigan, Christian Century
[more]

front cover of Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy
Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy
Erik J. Engstrom
University of Michigan Press, 2016

Erik J. Engstrom offers a historical perspective on the effects of gerrymandering on elections and party control of the U.S. national legislature. Aside from the requirements that districts be continuous and, after 1842, that each select only one representative, there were few restrictions on congressional districting. Unrestrained, state legislators drew and redrew districts to suit their own partisan agendas. With the rise of the “one-person, one-vote” doctrine and the implementation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, however, redistricting became subject to court oversight.

Engstrom evaluates the abundant cross-sectional and temporal variation in redistricting plans and their electoral results from all the states, from 1789 through the 1960s, to identify the causes and consequences of partisan redistricting. His analysis reveals that districting practices across states and over time systematically affected the competitiveness of congressional elections, shaped the partisan composition of congressional delegations, and, on occasion, determined party control of the House of Representatives.

[more]

logo for Harvard University Press
The Personal Vote
Constituency Service and Electoral Independence
Bruce Cain, John Ferejohn, and Morris Fiorina
Harvard University Press, 1987

Modern legislators are increasingly motivated to serve their constituents in personal ways. Representatives act like ultimate ombudsmen: they keep in close touch with their constituents and try to cultivate a relationship with them based on service and accessibility. The Personal Vote describes the behavior of representatives in the United States and Great Britain and the response of their constituents as well. It shows how congressmen and members of Parliament earn personalized support and how this attenuates their ties to national leaders and parties.

The larger significance of this empirical work arises from its implications for the structure of legislative institutions and the nature of legislative action. Personalized electoral support correlates with decentralized governing institutions and special-interest policy making. Such systems tend to inconsistency and stalemate. The United States illustrates a mature case of this development, and Britain is showing the first movements in this direction with the decline of an established two-party system, the rise of a centrist third party, greater volatility in the vote, growing backbench independence and increasing backbench pressure for committees and staff.

This book is essential for specialists in American national government, British politics, and comparative legislatures and comparative parties.

[more]

front cover of The Phantom Respondents
The Phantom Respondents
Opinion Surveys and Political Representation
John Brehm
University of Michigan Press, 1993
Polls and surveys pervade political and social life in ways that are both conspicuous and subtle. We gauge the success of presidential aspirants by how well they score in polls broadcast on the nightly news. Our political leaders and candidates for every major office study the polls to identify the public’s preferences on controversial policies. The Phantom Respondent’s develops the simple premise that public opinion surveys and polls have become a modern vehicle for political representation, and that, therefore, we must attend to the quality of representation that surveys and polls provide.
[more]

front cover of Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century Peru
Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century Peru
The Rise of the Partido Civil
Ulrich Muecke
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004

In the mid-nineteenth century, Peru underwent a profound transformation. As the world economy became increasingly integrated, a new trade-based ruling class emerged. Elections led to political mobilization, and those in positions of national authority found themselves forced to negotiate with regional power brokers and lower social classes.

Central to this transformation was the creation of the Partido Civil, the country’s first modern political party. Tracing its development, Ulrich Muecke revisits virtually every aspect of nineteenth-century Peruvian society.

By exploring the different forms of political action and their symbolic meanings, Muecke offers a new interpretation of the legitimization and construction of political power in Latin America of the 1800s. Using sophisticated theory and based on a wealth of primary research, the book provides insights into elections, the voting process, and power relations throughout the region.

[more]

front cover of Politicians Don't Pander
Politicians Don't Pander
Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness
Lawrence R. Jacobs and Robert Y. Shapiro
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Public opinion polls are everywhere. Journalists report their results without hesitation, and political activists of all kinds spend millions of dollars on them, fueling the widespread assumption that elected officials "pander" to public opinion—that they tailor their policy decisions to the results of polls.

In this provocative and engagingly written book, the authors argue that the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, when not facing election, contemporary presidents and members of Congress routinely ignore the public's policy preferences and follow their own political philosophies, as well as those of their party's activists, their contributors, and their interest group allies. Politicians devote substantial time, effort, and money to tracking public opinion, not for the purposes of policymaking, but to change public opinion—to determine how to craft their public statements and actions to win support for the policies they and their supporters want.

Taking two recent, dramatic episodes—President Clinton's failed health care reform campaign, and Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America"—as examples, the authors show how both used public opinion research and the media to change the public's mind. Such orchestrated displays help explain the media's preoccupation with political conflict and strategy and, the authors argue, have propelled levels of public distrust and fear of government to record highs.

Revisiting the fundamental premises of representative democracy, this accessible book asks us to reexamine whether our government really responds to the broad public or to the narrower interests and values of certain groups. And with the 2000 campaign season heating up, Politicians Don't Pander could not be more timely.

"'Polling has turned leaders into followers,' laments columnist Marueen Dowd of The New York Times. Well, that's news definitely not fit to print say two academics who have examined the polls and the legislative records of recent presidents to see just how responsive chief executives are to the polls. Their conclusion: not much. . . . In fact, their review and analyses found that public opinion polls on policy appear to have increasingly less, not more, influence on government policies."—Richard Morin, The Washington Post
[more]

front cover of Politics of Democratic Inclusion
Politics of Democratic Inclusion
Christina Wolbrecht
Temple University Press, 2005
The issue of political participation has been central to American politics since the founding of the United States. The Politics of Democratic Inclusion addresses the ways traditionally underrepresented groups have and have not achieved political incorporation, representation, and influence—or "democratic inclusion"—in American politics. Each chapter provides a "state of the discipline" essay that addresses the politics of diversity from a range of perspectives and in a variety of institutional arenas. Taken together, the essays in The Politics of Democratic Inclusion evaluate and advance our understanding of the ways in which the structure, processes, rules, and context of the American political order encourage, mediate, and hamper the representation and incorporation of traditionally disadvantaged groups.
[more]

logo for The Ohio State University Press
POWER OF THE PEOPLE
CONGRESSIONAL COMPETITION, PUBLIC ATTENT $ VOTER RETRIBUTION
SEAN THERIAULT
The Ohio State University Press, 2005

logo for Pluto Press
Power-Sharing
Institutional and Social Reform in Divided Societies
Ian O'Flynn & David Russell, Editors
Pluto Press, 2005
It is widely assumed that internal power-sharing is a viable democratic means of managing inter-communal conflict in divided societies. In principle, this form of government enables communities that have conflicting identities to remedy longstanding patterns of discrimination and to co-exist peacefully. Key arguments in support of this view can be found in the highly influential works of Arend Lijphart and Donald Horowitz.

Power-Sharing seeks to explore the unintended consequences of power-sharing for the communities themselves, their individual members, and for others in society. More specifically, it is distinctive in questioning explicitly whether power sharing: perpetuates inter-communal conflict by institutionalising difference at the political level; inhibits conflict resolution by encouraging extremism; stifles internal diversity; and fails to leave sufficient space for individual autonomy.

This book not only provides a theoretical exploration and critique of these questions, but comprehensively examines specific test cases where power-sharing institutions have been established, including in Northern Ireland, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Lebanon. It also explores such issues as the role of political leaders, human rights
instruments, the position of women, and the prospects for reconciliation within such societies.

Furthermore it provides a detailed set of policy recommendations to meet the challenges of transition in deeply-divided societies.

[more]

front cover of The Price of Democracy
The Price of Democracy
How Money Shapes Politics and What to Do about It
Julia Cagé
Harvard University Press, 2020

Why and how systems of political financing and representation in Europe and North America give outsized influence to the wealthy and undermine democracy, and what we can do about it.

One person, one vote. In theory, everyone in a democracy has equal power to decide elections. But it’s hardly news that, in reality, political outcomes are heavily determined by the logic of one dollar, one vote. We take the political power of money for granted. But does it have to be this way? In The Price of Democracy, Julia Cagé combines economic and historical analysis with political theory to show how profoundly our systems in North America and Europe, from think tanks and the media to election campaigns, are shaped by money. She proposes fundamental reforms to bring democracy back into line with its egalitarian promise.

Cagé shows how different countries have tried to develop legislation to curb the power of private money and to develop public systems to fund campaigns and parties. But these attempts have been incoherent and unsystematic. She demonstrates that it is possible to learn from these experiments in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere to design a better system that would increase political participation and trust. This would involve setting a strict cap on private donations and creating a public voucher system to give each voter an equal amount to spend in support of political parties. More radically, Cagé argues that a significant fraction of seats in parliamentary assemblies should be set aside for representatives from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.

At a time of widespread political disenchantment, The Price of Democracy is a bracing reminder of the problems we face and an inspirational guide to the potential for reform.

[more]

front cover of The Quality of Divided Democracies
The Quality of Divided Democracies
Minority Inclusion, Exclusion, and Representation in the New Europe
Licia Cianetti
University of Michigan Press, 2019
The Quality of Divided Democracies contemplates how democracy works, or fails to work, in ethnoculturally divided societies. It advances a new theoretical approach to assessing quality of democracy in divided societies, and puts it into practice with the focused comparison of two divided democracies—Estonia and Latvia. The book uses rich comparative data to tackle the vital questions of what determines a democracy’s level of inclusiveness and the ways in which minorities can gain access to the policy-making process. It uncovers a “presence–polarization dilemma” for minorities’ inclusion in the democratic process, which has implications for academic debates on minority representation and ethnic politics, as well as practical implications for international and national institutions’ promotion of minority rights.
[more]

front cover of Race, Redistricting, and Representation
Race, Redistricting, and Representation
The Unintended Consequences of Black Majority Districts
David T. Canon
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Since the creation of minority-dominated congressional districts eight years ago, the Supreme Court has condemned the move as akin to "political apartheid," while many African-American leaders argue that such districts are required for authentic representation.

In the most comprehensive treatment of the subject to date, David Canon shows that the unintended consequences of black majority districts actually contradict the common wisdom that whites will not be adequately represented in these areas. Not only do black candidates need white votes to win, but this crucial "swing" vote often decides the race. And, once elected, even the black members who appeal primarily to black voters usually do a better job than white members of walking the racial tightrope, balancing the needs of their diverse constituents.

Ultimately, Canon contends, minority districting is good for the country as a whole. These districts not only give African Americans a greater voice in the political process, they promote a politics of commonality—a biracial politics—rather than a politics of difference.
[more]

front cover of Reconstituting the American Renaissance
Reconstituting the American Renaissance
Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation
Jay Grossman
Duke University Press, 2003
Challenging the standard periodization of American literary history, Reconstituting the American Renaissance reinterprets the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman and the relationship of these two authors to each other. Jay Grossman argues that issues of political representation—involving vexed questions of who shall speak and for whom—lie at the heart of American political and literary discourse from the revolutionary era through the Civil War. By taking the mid-nineteenth-century period, traditionally understood as marking the advent of literary writing in the United States, and restoring to it the ways in which Emerson and Whitman engaged with eighteenth-century controversies, rhetorics, and languages about political representation, Grossman departs significantly from arguments that have traditionally separated American writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Reconstituting the American Renaissance describes how Emerson and Whitman came into the period of their greatest productivity with different conceptions of the functions and political efficacy of the word in the world. It challenges Emerson’s position as Whitman’s necessary precursor and offers a cultural history that emphasizes the two writers’ differences in social class, cultural experience, and political perspective. In their writings between 1830 and 1855, the book finds contrasting conceptions of the relations between the “representative man” and the constituencies to whom, and for whom, he speaks. Reconstituting the American Renaissance opens up the canonical relationship between Emerson and Whitman and multiplies the historical and discursive contexts for understanding their published and unpublished works.

[more]

front cover of Reinventing the Austin City Council
Reinventing the Austin City Council
Ann O'M. Bowman
Temple University Press, 2020
Until recently, Austin, the progressive, politically liberal capital of Texas, elected its city council using a not-so-progressive system. Candidates competed citywide for seats, and voters could cast ballots for as many candidates as there were seats up for election. However, this approach disadvantages the representation of geographically-concentrated minority groups, thereby—among other things—preventing the benefits of growth from reaching all of the city’s communities. 

Reinventing the Austin City Council explores the puzzle that was Austin’s reluctance to alter its at-large system and establish a geographically-based, single-member district system. Ann Bowman chronicles the repeated attempts to change the system, the eventual decision to do so, and the consequences of that change. In the process, she explores the many twists and turns that occurred in Austin as it struggled to design a fair system of representation. Reinventing the Austin City Council assesses the impact of the new district system since its inception in 2014. 

Austin’s experience ultimately offers a political lesson for creating institutional change.
[more]

front cover of Representation Rights and the Burger Years
Representation Rights and the Burger Years
Nancy Maveety
University of Michigan Press, 1991
In Representation Rights and the Burger Years, political scientist Nancy Maveety tackles the constitutional meaning of "fair and effective" representation rights and evaluates the specific contributions that the Supreme Court made to this definition during the Burger era.
 
The Court of Chief Justice Warren Burger has been described as one that made no distinctive jurisprudential contributions.  It has been dismissed as a court overshadowed by both its predecessor and its successor.  By contrast, Maveety argues that the Burger Court in fact revolutionized constitutional understandings of political representation, expanding, in particular, the judicial scrutiny of political institutions.  Moving beyond the "one person, one vote" reapportionment initiated by the Warren Court, it opened the way for the articulation of group-based constitutional representation rights.
 
This group-based approach to representation questions broadened groups' constitutional claims to equal political influence.  Yet, as Maveety perceptively shows, this broader interpretation of "representable interests" was grounded in mainstream American conceptions of political representation.  The great value of Maveety's study is the presentation of a "typology of group representation," which explains and validates the Burger Court's work on representation rights.  This typology, drawn from American history, political theory, and political practice, offers a new approach for evaluating the precedental record of the Burger years and a sophisticated framework for understanding the interaction between constitutional law and politics.
[more]

front cover of Representative Democracy
Representative Democracy
Principles and Genealogy
Nadia Urbinati
University of Chicago Press, 2006
It is usually held that representative government is not strictly democratic, since it does not allow the people themselves to directly make decisions. But here, taking as her guide Thomas Paine’s subversive view that “Athens, by representation, would have surpassed her own democracy,” Nadia Urbinati challenges this accepted wisdom, arguing that political representation deserves to be regarded as a fully legitimate mode of democratic decision making—and not just a pragmatic second choice when direct democracy is not possible.
As Urbinati shows, the idea that representation is incompatible with democracy stems from our modern concept of sovereignty, which identifies politics with a decision maker’s direct physical presence and the immediate act of the will. She goes on to contend that a democratic theory of representation can and should go beyond these identifications. Political representation, she demonstrates, is ultimately grounded in a continuum of influence and power created by political judgment, as well as the way presence through ideas and speech links society with representative institutions. Deftly integrating the ideas of such thinkers as Rousseau, Kant, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, Paine, and the Marquis de Condorcet with her own, Urbinati constructs a thought-provoking alternative vision of democracy.
[more]

front cover of Republic of Signs
Republic of Signs
Liberal Theory and American Popular Culture
Anne Norton
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Norton examines the enactment of liberal ideas in popular culture; in the possessions of ordinary people and the habits of everyday life. She sees liberalism as the common sense of the American people: a set of conventions unconsciously adhered to, a set of principles silently taken for granted.

The author ranges over a wide expanse of popular activities (e.g. wrestling, roller derby, lotteries, shopping sprees, and dining out), as well as conventional political topics (e.g., the Constitution, presidency, news media, and centrality of law). Yet the argument is pointed and probling, never shallow or superficial. Fred and Wilma Flintstone are as vital to the republic as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"In discussions that range from the Constitution and the presidency to money and shopping, voting, lotteries, and survey research, Norton discerns and imaginatively invents possibilities that exceed recognized actualities and already approved opportunities."—Richard E. Flathman, American Political Science Review

"[S]timulating and stylish exploration of political theory, language, culture, and shopping at the mall . . . popular culture at its best, informed by history and theory, serious in purpose, yet witty and modest in tone."—Bernard Mergen, American Studies International
[more]

front cover of The Return of Civil Society
The Return of Civil Society
The Emergence of Democratic Spain
Víctor Pérez-Díaz
Harvard University Press, 1993
Víctor Pérez-Díaz examines the return of civil society in Spain. He covers the transition of Spain from a preindustrial economy, an authoritarian government, and a Roman Catholic-dominated culture to a modern state based on the interaction of economic and class interests, on a market society, on voluntary associations such as trade unions and political parties, and on a culture of moral autonomy and rationality.
[more]

front cover of The Right of Instruction and Representation in American Legislatures, 1778 to 1900
The Right of Instruction and Representation in American Legislatures, 1778 to 1900
Peverill Squire
University of Michigan Press, 2021
The Right of Instruction and Representation in American Legislatures, 1778 to 1900 provides a comprehensive analysis of the role constituent instructions played in American politics for more than a hundred years after its founding. Constituent instructions were more widely issued than previously thought, and members of state legislatures and Congress were more likely to obey them than political scientists and historians have assumed. Peverill Squire expands our understanding of constituent instructions beyond a handful of high-profile cases, through analyses of two unique data sets: one examining more than 5,000 actionable communications (instructions and requests) sent to state legislators by constituents through town meetings, mass meetings, and local representative bodies; the other examines more than 6,600 actionable communications directed by state legislatures to their state’s congressional delegations. He draws the data, examples, and quotes almost entirely from original sources, including government documents such as legislative journals, session laws, town and county records, and newspaper stories, as well as diaries, memoirs, and other contemporary sources. Squire also includes instructions to and from Confederate state legislatures in both data sets. In every respect, the Confederate state legislatures mirrored the legislatures that preceded and followed them.
[more]

logo for Duke University Press
Spain at the Polls, 1977, 1979 and 1982
Penniman
Duke University Press, 1985

front cover of Spain's First Democracy
Spain's First Democracy
The Second Republic, 1931–1936
Stanley G. Payne
University of Wisconsin Press, 1993
The significance of Spain’s Second Republic has been largely overshadowed by the cataclysmic Civil War that immediately followed it.  Stanley Payne brings his immense knowledge of Spanish history to bear on the five-year span of the Second Republic as a historic entity in its own right.  In Spain’s First Democracy, he argues that the Republic was one of the major national attempts at political democratization and reform in Europe between the World Wars and represented the most important effort to swim against the tide during Europe’s “era of fascism.”
    Payne’s detailed study places the Republic within the historical framework of Spanish liberalism and the rapid modernization of interwar Europe, which was unlike any other period in Spain’s history.  Payne discusses the Republicans’ efforts to establish Spain’s first democratic political systems and to institute major reforms within the Republic.  In highlighting reforms in politics and government, church-state relations, education and culture, public works, military affairs, and society as a whole, he assesses the successes and failures of these reforms as well as the reasons for their limitations.  He also examines the economic and foreign policy issues of the period.
    Focusing particularly on political conflict and social cleavage, Payne brilliantly explores the sources and character of the political polarization that developed as a result of the assaults on the Republic from the Left and the Right.  He identifies the main political actors in this schism and their role in the eventual breakdown of the Republic.  Tracing the progressive collapse of the Republican polity in the first half of 1936, Payne stresses the importance of political violence in the democracy’s downfall.
    In restoring perspectives that have been ignored or bypassed, Payne presents a consistent and detailed interpretation of Spain’s Second Republic, demonstrating its striking parallels to the Weimar Republic in Germany.
[more]

front cover of Struggles of Voice
Struggles of Voice
The Politics of Indigenous Representation in the Andes
Jose Antonio Lucero
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008
Over the last two decades, indigenous populations in Latin America have achieved a remarkable level of visibility and political effectiveness, particularly in Ecuador and Bolivia. In Struggles of Voice, José Antonio Lucero examines these two outstanding examples in order to understand their different patterns of indigenous mobilization and to reformulate the theoretical model by which we link political representation to social change.

Building on extensive fieldwork, Lucero considers Ecuador's united indigenous movement and compares it to the more fragmented situation in Bolivia.  He analyzes the mechanisms at work in political and social structures to explain the different outcomes in each case. Lucero assesses the intricacies of the many indigenous organizations and the influence of various NGOs to uncover how the conflicts within social movements, the shifting nature of indigenous identities, and the politics of transnationalism all contribute to the success or failure of political mobilization.

Blending philosophical inquiry with empirical analysis, Struggles of Voice is an informed and incisive comparative history of indigenous movements in these two Andean countries. It helps to redefine our understanding of the complex intersections of social movements and political representation.
[more]

front cover of Trust
Trust
Representatives and Constituents
William T. Bianco
University of Michigan Press, 1994

Why do constituents sometimes defer to their representative's judgment, rewarding her for acting as she thinks best, even when she ignores their demands? By making decisions about trust, constituents determine whether their representative is rewarded for implementing their demands or for using her judgment. These decisions shape legislator behavior and, through behavior, policy outcomes. Therefore, any attempt to explain or evaluate representative institutions such as the modern Congress requires an answer to a simple question: When do constituents trust their representative, and what is the basis of that trust?

This book is the first systematic analysis of constituent trust. It assumes that elected officials and ordinary citizens are rational actors. However, the book moves beyond the standard rational choice framework in three ways. It avoids narrow, unrealistic assumptions about motivations and information. It shows that many kinds of behavior not usually thought of as rational choices, such as a voter's desire to be represented by "someone like them," are the product of a systematic, predictable calculus---a calculus aimed at securing favorable policy outcomes. Finally, the book uses interviews with ninety-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives to test its predictions about trust.

[more]

front cover of Tyranny of the Minority
Tyranny of the Minority
The Subconstituency Politics Theory of Representation
Benjamin G. Bishin
Temple University Press, 2009

Why do politicians frequently heed the preferences of small groups of citizens over those of the majority? Breaking new theoretical ground, Benjamin Bishin explains how the desires of small groups, which he calls “subconstituencies,” often trump the preferences of much larger groups.

Tyranny of the Minority provides a “unified theory of representation,” based in social psychology and identity theory, to explain how citizens’ intensity fosters knowledge and participation and drives candidates’ behavior in campaigns and legislators' behavior in Congress. Demonstrating the wide applicability of the theory, Bishin traces politicians' behavior in connection with a wide range of issues, including the Cuban trade embargo, the extension of hate-crimes legislation to protect gay men and lesbians, the renewal of the assault-weapons ban, abortion politics, and Congress's attempt to recognize the Armenian genocide. He offers a unique explanation of when, why, and how special interests dominate American national politics.

[more]

front cover of Unexpected Outcomes
Unexpected Outcomes
Electoral Systems, Political Parties, and Representation in Russia
Robert G. Moser
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001

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.

[more]

logo for University of Chicago Press
Urban Reform and Its Consequences
A Study in Representation
Susan Welch and Timothy Bledsoe
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Throughout this century, reformers have fought to eliminate party control of city politics. As a result, the majority of American cities today elect council members in at-large and nonpartisan elections. This result of the turn-of-the-century Progressive movement, which worked for election rules that eliminated the power of the urban machine and the working class on which it was based, is today still a subject of lively debate. For example, in the mid-1980s, regular Democrats in Chicago sought to institute a nonpartisan mayoral election. Supporters thought that reform would make the electoral process more democratic, while opponents charged that it was meant to dilute the voting powers of blacks. Clearly, the effect of urban reform remains an important issue for scholars and politicians alike.

Susan Welch and Timothy Bledsoe clarify a portion of the debate by investigating how election structures affect candidates and the nature of representation. They examine the different effects of district versus at-large elections and of partisan versus nonpartisan elections. Who gets elected? Are representatives' socioeconomic status and party affiliation related to election form? Are election structures related to how those who are elected approach their jobs? Do they see themselves as representatives concerned with the good of the city as a whole?

Urban Reform and Its Consequences reports an unprecedented wealth of data drawn from a sample of nearly 1,000 council members and communities with populations between 50,000 and 1 million across 42 states. The sample includes communities that use a variety of election procedures. This study is therefore the most comprehensive and accurate to date.

Welch and Bledsoe conclude that nonpartisan and at-large elections do give city councils a more middle- and upper-middle-class character and have changed the way representatives view their jobs. Reform measures have not, however, produced councils that are significantly more conservative or more prone to conflict. Overall, the authors conclude that partisan and district elections are more likely to represent the whole community and to make the council more accountable to the electorate.
[more]

logo for Georgetown University Press
The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process
Second Edition
David K. Ryden, Editor
Georgetown University Press, 2002

The U.S. Supreme Court—at least until Bush v. Gore—had seemed to float along in an apolitical haze in the mind of the electorate. It was the executive branch and the legislative branch that mucked about in politics getting dirty, the judicial branch kept its robes—and nose—clean. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process makes it abundantly clear however that before, during, and after the judicial decision that made George W. Bush the President of the United States, everything was, is, and will likely be, politics-including the decisions handed down by the highest court in the land.

This revised and updated edition takes into account not only the recent famous (or infamous, depending on the reader's point of view) judicial decision on the Presidency, but a myriad of others as well in which the U.S. Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of a wide range of issues involving voting and elections, representation, and political participation. Practitioners and academics in both law and political science examine a number of court actions that directly affect how we choose those who govern us, and how those decisions have affected our electoral politics, constitutional doctrine, and the fundamental concepts of democracy, including: racial redistricting, term limits, political patronage, campaign finance regulations, third-party ballot access, and state ballot initiatives limiting civil liberties.

Of the first edition, CHOICE said, The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process "plumbs the Supreme Court's constitutive apolitical role as 'primary shaper of the electoral system' and reveals the pervasive involvement of the Court in the political process."

[more]

front cover of Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy
Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy
Participation, Politics, and Culture under Chávez
David Smilde and Daniel Hellinger, eds.
Duke University Press, 2011
Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy brings together a variety of perspectives on participation and democracy in Venezuela. An interdisciplinary group of contributors focuses on the everyday lives of Venezuelans, examining the forms of participation that have emerged in communal councils, cultural activities, blogs, community media, and several other forums. The essays validate many of the critiques of democracy under Chávez, as well as much of the praise. They show that while government corporatism and clientelism are constant threats, the forms of political and cultural participation discussed are creating new discourses, networks, and organizational spaces—for better and for worse. With open yet critical minds, the contributors seek to analyze Venezuela’s Bolivarian democratic experience through empirical research. In doing so, they reveal a nuanced process, a richer and more complex one than is conveyed in international journalism and scholarship exclusively focused on the words and actions of Hugo Chávez.

Contributors
Carolina Acosta-Alzuru
Julia Buxton
Luis Duno Gottberg
Sujatha Fernandes
María Pilar García-Guadilla
Kirk A. Hawkins
Daniel Hellinger
Michael E. Johnson
Luis E. Lander
Margarita López-Maya
Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols
Coraly Pagan
Guillermo Rosas
Naomi Schiller
David Smilde
Alejandro Velasco

[more]

front cover of Where Women Run
Where Women Run
Gender and Party in the American States
Kira Sanbonmatsu
University of Michigan Press, 2010
Why don’t more women run for office? Why are certain states more likely to have female candidates and representatives? Would strengthening political parties narrow the national gender gap? Where Women Run addresses these important questions through a rare and incisive look at how candidates are recruited. Drawing on surveys and case studies of party leaders and legislators in six states, political scientist Kira Sanbonmatsu analyzes the links between parties and representation, exposing the mechanism by which parties’ informal recruitment practices shape who runs—or doesn’t run—for political office in America.
 
“Kira Sanbonmatsu has done a masterful job of linking the representation of women in elective office to the activities of party organizations in the states. She combines qualitative and quantitative data to show how women are navigating the campaign process to become elected leaders and the changing role of party organizations in their recruitment and election. It is a significant contribution to the study of representative democracy.”
--Barbara Burrell, Northern Illinois University
 
“Sanbonmatsu has produced an excellent study that will invigorate research on the role of political parties and the recruitment of women candidates. Using a variety of methods and data sources, she has crafted a tightly constructed, clearly argued, and exceedingly well-written study. A commendable and convincing job.”
--Gary Moncrief, Boise State University
 
“Sanbonmatsu offers important insights in two neglected areas of American politics: the role of political parties in recruiting candidates and the continued under-representation of women in elected office. Connecting the two subjects through careful qualitative and statistical methods, insightful interpretation of the literature and interesting findings, the book is a significant new addition to scholarship on parties, gender, and political recruitment.”
--Linda Fowler, Dartmouth College
 
Kira Sanbonmatsu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Senior Scholar at the Eagleton Institute of Politics’ Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). She was previously associate professor at Ohio State University. She is the author of Democrats, Republicans, and the Politics of Women’s Place.
[more]

front cover of White-Collar Government
White-Collar Government
The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making
Nicholas Carnes
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Eight of the last twelve presidents were millionaires when they took office. Millionaires have a majority on the Supreme Court, and they also make up majorities in Congress, where a background in business or law is the norm and the average member has spent less than two percent of his or her adult life in a working-class job. Why is it that most politicians in America are so much better off than the people who elect them— and does the social class divide between citizens and their representatives matter?

With White-Collar Government, Nicholas Carnes answers this question with a resounding—and disturbing—yes. Legislators’ socioeconomic backgrounds, he shows, have a profound impact on both how they view the issues and the choices they make in office. Scant representation from among the working class almost guarantees that the policymaking process will be skewed toward outcomes that favor the upper class. It matters that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without. And while there is no one cause for this crisis of representation, Carnes shows that the problem does not stem from a lack of qualified candidates from among the working class. The solution, he argues, must involve a variety of changes, from the equalization of campaign funding to a shift in the types of candidates the parties support.

If we want a government for the people, we have to start working toward a government that is truly by the people. White-Collar Government challenges long-held notions about the causes of political inequality in the United States and speaks to enduring questions about representation and political accountability.

[more]

front cover of Who Gets Represented?
Who Gets Represented?
Peter K. Enns
Russell Sage Foundation, 2011
An investigation of policy preferences in the U.S. and how group opinion affects political representation.  While it is often assumed that policymakers favor the interests of some citizens at the expense of others, it is not always evident when and how groups' interests differ or what it means when they do. Who Gets Represented? challenges the usual assumption that the preferences of any one group—women, African Americans, or the middle class—are incompatible with the preferences of other groups. The book analyzes differences across income, education, racial, and partisan groups and investigates whether and how differences in group opinion matter with regard to political representation. Part I examines opinions among social and racial groups. Relying on an innovative matching technique, contributors Marisa Abrajano and Keith Poole link respondents in different surveys to show that racial and ethnic groups do not, as previously thought, predictably embrace similar attitudes about social welfare. Katherine Cramer Walsh finds that, although preferences on health care policy and government intervention are often surprisingly similar across class lines, different income groups can maintain the same policy preferences for different reasons. Part II turns to how group interests translate into policy outcomes, with a focus on differences in representation between income groups. James Druckman and Lawrence Jacobs analyze Ronald Reagan's response to private polling data during his presidency and show how different electorally significant groups—Republicans, the wealthy, religious conservatives—wielded disproportionate influence on Reagan's policy positions. Christopher Wlezien and Stuart Soroka show that politicians' responsiveness to the preferences of constituents within different income groups can be surprisingly even-handed. Analyzing data from 1876 to the present, Wesley Hussey and John Zaller focus on the important role of political parties, vis-à-vis constituents' preferences, for legislators' behavior. Who Gets Represented? upends several long-held assumptions, among them the growing conventional wisdom that income plays in American politics and the assumption that certain groups will always—or will never—have common interests. Similarities among group opinions are as significant as differences for understanding political representation. Who Gets Represented? offers important and surprising answers to the question it raises.
[more]

front cover of Youth without Representation
Youth without Representation
The Absence of Young Adults in Parliaments, Cabinets, and Candidacies
Daniel Stockemer and Aksel Sundström
University of Michigan Press, 2022

Officeholders in contemporary parliaments and cabinets are more likely than not to be male, wealthy, middle-aged or older, and from the dominant ethnicity, whereas young adults have an insufficient presence in political office. Young adults—those aged 35 years or under—comprise a mere ten percent of all parliamentarians globally, and three percent of all cabinet members. Compared to their presence in the world’s population, this age group faces an underrepresentation of one to three in parliament and one to ten in cabinet. In this book, Stockemer and Sundström provide a holistic account of youths’ marginalization in legislatures, cabinets, and candidacies for office through a comparative lens. They argue that youths’ underrepresentation in political office constitutes a democratic deficit and provide ample evidence for why they think that youth must be present in politics at much higher rates. They further embed this book within what they label a vicious cycle of political alienation, which involves the declining political sophistication of the young, their waning electoral participation, and their insufficient of representation in office. Empirically, the authors combine a global focus with in-depth studies, discussing the country-level, party-level, and individual-level factors that bar young adults’ entry to positions of political power. This is the first comprehensive book on youth representation and it has relevance for those broadly interested in issues of representation, democracy, inequality, and comparative politics.

[more]


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter