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The Case For Polarized Politics

Author: Jeffrey Bell
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594035784
Size: 40.40 MB
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Because no movement resembling American social conservatism exists in any other affluent democracy, it is widely seen as a “retro” phenomenon soon to disappear, a sure casualty of globalization. Author and political activist Jeffrey Bell argues that social conservatism is uniquely American precisely because it’s an outgrowth of American exceptionalism. It exists here because our founding principles, centering on the belief that we receive equal rights from God rather than from government, remain popular among American voters—if not at elite institutions. Bell argues that upheavals of the 1960s set the stage for social conservatism’s rise. The left’s agenda, particularly the sexual revolution, triumphed among elite opinion in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and elsewhere. This happened after the left sidelined its century-long drive for socialism and returned to its roots in the 18th-century thought of Rousseau and the revolutionary Jacobins, radicals who sought to break free from civilizing institutions, particularly religion and the family. American social conservatism derives from a branch of the Enlightenment that Bell analyzes as the “conservative enlightenment.” The ability of this optimistic belief system, which dominated the American founding and transformed the English-speaking world, to spread its natural-law-centered vision of democracy will affect the shape of politics in the decades ahead.

Populism And Elitism

Author: Jeffrey Bell
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
ISBN:
Size: 18.19 MB
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Traces the development of populism and elitism in American history, examines how they have defined American democracy, and argues that the clash between the two will determine the future of American politics

The Fractured Republic

Author: Yuval Levin
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465093256
Size: 36.64 MB
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Americans today are frustrated and anxious. Our economy is sluggish, and leaves workers insecure. Income inequality, cultural divisions, and political polarization increasingly pull us apart. Our governing institutions often seem paralyzed. And our politics has failed to rise to these challenges. No wonder, then, that Americans--and the politicians who represent them--are overwhelmingly nostalgic for a better time. The Left looks back to the middle of the twentieth century, when unions were strong, large public programs promised to solve pressing social problems, and the movements for racial integration and sexual equality were advancing. The Right looks back to the Reagan Era, when deregulation and lower taxes spurred the economy, cultural traditionalism seemed resurgent, and America was confident and optimistic. Each side thinks returning to its golden age could solve America's problems. In The Fractured Republic, Yuval Levin argues that this politics of nostalgia is failing twenty-first-century Americans. Both parties are blind to how America has changed over the past half century--as the large, consolidated institutions that once dominated our economy, politics, and culture have fragmented and become smaller, more diverse, and personalized. Individualism, dynamism, and liberalization have come at the cost of dwindling solidarity, cohesion, and social order. This has left us with more choices in every realm of life but less security, stability, and national unity. Both our strengths and our weaknesses are therefore consequences of these changes. And the dysfunctions of our fragmented national life will need to be answered by the strengths of our decentralized, diverse, dynamic nation. Levin argues that this calls for a modernizing politics that avoids both radical individualism and a centralizing statism and instead revives the middle layers of society-families and communities, schools and churches, charities and associations, local governments and markets. Through them, we can achieve not a single solution to the problems of our age, but multiple and tailored answers fitted to the daunting range of challenges we face and suited to enable an American revival.

Judicial Politics In Polarized Times

Author: Thomas M. Keck
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022618241X
Size: 78.37 MB
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When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, some saw the decision as a textbook example of neutral judicial decision making, noting that a Republican Chief Justice joined the Court’s Democratic appointees to uphold most provisions of the ACA. Others characterized the decision as the latest example of partisan justice and cited the actions of a bloc of the Court’s Republican appointees, who voted to strike down the statute in its entirety. Still others argued that the ACA’s fate ultimately hinged not on the Court but on the outcome of the 2012 election. These interpretations reflect larger stories about judicial politics that have emerged in polarized America. Are judges neutral legal umpires, unaccountable partisan activists, or political actors whose decisions conform to—rather than challenge—the democratic will? Drawing on a sweeping survey of litigation on abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, and gun rights across the Clinton, Bush, and Obama eras, Thomas M. Keck argues that, while each of these stories captures part of the significance of judicial politics in polarized times, each is also misleading. Despite judges’ claims, actual legal decisions are not the politically neutral products of disembodied legal texts. But neither are judges “tyrants in robes,” undermining democratic values by imposing their own preferences. Just as often, judges and the public seem to be pushing in the same direction. As for the argument that the courts are powerless institutions, Keck shows that their decisions have profound political effects. And, while advocates on both the left and right engage constantly in litigation to achieve their ends, neither side has consistently won. Ultimately, Keck argues, judges respond not simply as umpires, activists, or political actors, but in light of distinctive judicial values and practices.

Polarized

Author: James E. Campbell
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400889278
Size: 50.74 MB
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Many continue to believe that the United States is a nation of political moderates. In fact, it is a nation divided. It has been so for some time and has grown more so. This book provides a new and historically grounded perspective on the polarization of America, systematically documenting how and why it happened. Polarized presents commonsense benchmarks to measure polarization, draws data from a wide range of historical sources, and carefully assesses the quality of the evidence. Through an innovative and insightful use of circumstantial evidence, it provides a much-needed reality check to claims about polarization. This rigorous yet engaging and accessible book examines how polarization displaced pluralism and how this affected American democracy and civil society. Polarized challenges the widely held belief that polarization is the product of party and media elites, revealing instead how the American public in the 1960s set in motion the increase of polarization. American politics became highly polarized from the bottom up, not the top down, and this began much earlier than often thought. The Democrats and the Republicans are now ideologically distant from each other and about equally distant from the political center. Polarized also explains why the parties are polarized at all, despite their battle for the decisive median voter. No subject is more central to understanding American politics than political polarization, and no other book offers a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the subject than this one.

Political Polarization In American Politics

Author: John Sides
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1501306286
Size: 19.13 MB
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Political Polarization in American Politics provides short, accessible chapters about the nature and extent of political polarization within the American public and in American political institutions. These chapters capture the central ideas and debates in political science research on polarization, and are written by leading scholars in this subfield. Each chapter is accompanied by discussion questions and a guide to further reading, making this a great addition to any course looking at issues of polarization.

Why Washington Won T Work

Author: Marc J. Hetherington
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022629935X
Size: 10.67 MB
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Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity. In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment. Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong.

Unstable Majorities

Author: Morris Fiorina
Publisher: Hoover Press
ISBN: 0817921168
Size: 21.46 MB
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America is "currently fighting its second Civil War." Partisan politics are "ripping this country apart." The 2016 election "will go down as the most acrimonious presidential campaign of all." Such statements have become standard fare in American politics. In a time marked by gridlock and incivility, it seems the only thing Americans can agree on is this: we're more divided today than we've ever been in our history. In Unstable Majorities Morris P. Fiorina surveys American political history to reveal that, in fact, the American public is not experiencing a period of unprecedented polarization. Bypassing the alarmism that defines contemporary punditry, he cites research and historical context that illuminate the forces that shape voting patterns, political parties, and voter behavior. By placing contemporary events in their proper context, he corrects widespread misconceptions and gives reasons to be optimistic about the future of American electoral politics.

Religion Politics And Polarization

Author: William V. D'Antonio
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN: 1442221089
Size: 24.64 MB
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In Religion, Politics, and Polarization, three esteemed scholars trace the confluence of religion and party in the US Congress over time. The authors examine several issues of contemporary relevance as they trace the increasing polarization in Congress.

Predisposed

Author: John R. Hibbing
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136281215
Size: 77.15 MB
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Buried in many people and operating largely outside the realm of conscious thought are forces inclining us toward liberal or conservative political convictions. Our biology predisposes us to see and understand the world in different ways, not always reason and the careful consideration of facts. These predispositions are in turn responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that marks human history. With verve and wit, renowned social scientists John Hibbing, Kevin Smith, and John Alford—pioneers in the field of biopolitics—present overwhelming evidence that people differ politically not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information. Despite the oft-heard longing for consensus, unity, and peace, the universal rift between conservatives and liberals endures because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. These biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics. Political disputes typically spring from the assumption that those who do not agree with us are shallow, misguided, uninformed, and ignorant. Predisposed suggests instead that political opponents simply experience, process, and respond to the world differently. It follows, then, that the key to getting along politically is not the ability of one side to persuade the other side to see the error of its ways but rather the ability of each side to see that the other is different, not just politically, but physically. Predisposed will change the way you think about politics and partisan conflict. As a bonus, the book includes a "Left/Right 20 Questions" game to test whether your predispositions lean liberal or conservative.