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Why Parties

Author: John H. Aldrich
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226012751
Size: 50.21 MB
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Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system. Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how they serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Obama Health Care plan. Finally, Why Parties? A Second Look offers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why this system is necessary for effective democracy.

Why Parties Matter

Author: John H. Aldrich
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022649540X
Size: 22.10 MB
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Since the founding of the American Republic, the North and South have followed remarkably different paths of political development. Among the factors that have led to their divergence throughout much of history are differences in the levels of competition among the political parties. While the North has generally enjoyed a well-defined two-party system, the South has tended to have only weakly developed political parties—and at times no system of parties to speak of. With Why Parties Matter, John H. Aldrich and John D. Griffin make a compelling case that competition between political parties is an essential component of a democracy that is responsive to its citizens and thus able to address their concerns. Tracing the history of the parties through four eras—the Democratic-Whig party era that preceded the Civil War; the post-Reconstruction period; the Jim Crow era, when competition between the parties virtually disappeared; and the modern era—Aldrich and Griffin show how and when competition emerged between the parties and the conditions under which it succeeded and failed. In the modern era, as party competition in the South has come to be widely regarded as matching that of the North, the authors conclude by exploring the question of whether the South is poised to become a one-party system once again with the Republican party now dominant.

Strategic Party Government

Author: Gregory Koger
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022642474X
Size: 38.97 MB
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Why is Congress mired in partisan polarization? The conventional answer is that members of Congress and their constituencies fundamentally disagree with one other along ideological lines. But Gregory Koger and Matthew J. Lebo uncover a more compelling reason that today’s political leaders devote so much time to conveying their party’s positions, even at the expense of basic government functions: Both parties want to win elections. In Strategic Party Government, Koger and Lebo argue that Congress is now primarily a forum for partisan competition. In order to avoid losing, legislators unite behind strong party leaders, even when they do not fully agree with the policies their party is advocating. They do so in the belief that party leaders and voters will reward them for winning—or at least trying to win—these legislative contests. And as the parties present increasingly united fronts, partisan competition intensifies and pressure continues to mount for a strong party-building strategy—despite considerable disagreement within the parties. By bringing this powerful but underappreciated force in American politics to the forefront, Koger and Lebo provide a new interpretation of the problems facing Congress that is certain to reset the agenda for legislative studies.

No Illusions

Author: Ellen Mickiewicz
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199977852
Size: 70.89 MB
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How will the future leaders of Russia regard the world scene? How will they regard the United States, democracy, free speech, and immigration? What do they think of their current leaders? And what sorts of tactics will they bring to international negotiating tables, political and otherwise? No Illusions: The Voices of Russia's Future Leaders provides an engaging, intimate, and unprecedented window into the mindsets of the next generation of leaders in Russian politics, business, and economics. In this book, one hundred and eight students in Russia's three most elite universities, the training grounds for the nation's leadership, reveal their thoughts on international relations, neighboring countries, domestic and international media, democratic movements, and their government in focus groups; they speak candidly, passionately, and sometimes sardonically about America. As well, Ellen Mickiewicz, one of the world's foremost experts on Russian media, politics, and culture, shows how their total immersion in the world of the internet-an immersion that sets them apart from the current generation of Russian leadership and much of the rest of the country-frames the way that they think and affects their trust in their leaders, the media, and their colleagues. Their worldviews are complex and often contradictory, reflecting complicated personalities that are adaptable yet also subject to much internal strife and "splintering." For example, while many of them are planning to go into politics, they express ambivalence about voting; they have favorable views of democracy, but not of the American model; they are shrewd critics of government propaganda and yet have clearly absorbed residue of Cold War defensiveness. Mickiewicz also looks at the nation's massive protests and nascent political movements to show how they came about and to consider what promise they might hold even in times of narrowing opportunities. She profiles several of Russia's up-and-coming leaders, including charismatic and controversial activist and politician Aleksei Navalny, who, even during his legal trials and house arrest, remains the face of the opposition to the Putin regime. As this book shows, the next generation of Russian leadership promises to hold a rather different worldview from that of the current one, yet it is not a worldview that readily embraces American democracy. No Illusions is a thought-provoking and often surprising glimpse into the future of Russia's foreign relations.

The Oxford Handbook Of Legislative Studies

Author: Shane Martin
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191019070
Size: 79.41 MB
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Legislatures are political bodies essential to democracy and the rule of law. They present social scientists with numerous intriguing puzzles, with far-reaching implications for our understanding of political institutions. Why, and how, have these ancient assemblies, established in pre-democratic times, survived the transition to mass democracies? How have they adapted? How do they structure such processes as budgeting, legislation, and executive oversight? How do their members get selected, and what consequences flow from differences in these rules? What roles do committees and political parties play in contemporary legislatures? What functions do legislatures perform in autocratic, semi-democratic or recently democratized societies? What explains the similarities and differences in legislative rules, powers and recruitment? What are the policy and other consequences of variation in how legislatures are organized and function? The 33 chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Legislative Studies, written by 47 of the most distinguished legislative scholars, provide a comprehensive and up-to-date description and assessment of the state of the art in legislative studies. Key themes explored include theoretical paradigms and methodological approaches to the study of legislatures, representation and legislative careers, internal organization, the role of parties within legislatures and the role of legislatures in policy making and accountability. The Handbook also explores the emergence of parliaments in historical and contemporary contexts, including new democracies and trans-national institutions.

Still A House Divided

Author: Desmond S. King
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400839769
Size: 43.22 MB
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Why have American policies failed to reduce the racial inequalities still pervasive throughout the nation? Has President Barack Obama defined new political approaches to race that might spur unity and progress? Still a House Divided examines the enduring divisions of American racial politics and how these conflicts have been shaped by distinct political alliances and their competing race policies. Combining deep historical knowledge with a detailed exploration of such issues as housing, employment, criminal justice, multiracial census categories, immigration, voting in majority-minority districts, and school vouchers, Desmond King and Rogers Smith assess the significance of President Obama's election to the White House and the prospects for achieving constructive racial policies for America's future. Offering a fresh perspective on the networks of governing institutions, political groups, and political actors that influence the structure of American racial politics, King and Smith identify three distinct periods of opposing racial policy coalitions in American history. The authors investigate how today's alliances pit color-blind and race-conscious approaches against one another, contributing to political polarization and distorted policymaking. Contending that President Obama has so far inadequately confronted partisan divisions over race, the authors call for all sides to recognize the need for a balance of policy measures if America is to ever cease being a nation divided. Presenting a powerful account of American political alliances and their contending racial agendas, Still a House Divided sheds light on a policy path vital to the country's future.