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The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americansby Mickey Edwards
Synopses & Reviews
America's political system is dysfunctional. While this is a widely held view, it is a problem that—so far—has proved intractable. After every election, voters discover yet again that political "leaders" are simply quarreling in a never-ending battle between the two warring tribes, the Republicans and Democrats. In this critically important book, a distinguished statesman and thinker identifies exactly how our political and governing systems reward intransigence, discourage compromise, and undermine our democracy. He then describes exactly what must be done to banish the negative effects of partisan warfare from our political system.
As a former congressman, Mickey Edwards witnessed firsthand how important legislative battles can devolve into struggles not over principle but over party advantage. He offers graphic examples of how this problem has intensified and reveals how political battles have become nothing more than conflicts between party machines. Edwards's solutions—specific, practical, fair, and original—show the way to break the stranglehold of the political party system. The Parties Versus the People offers hope for a fundamental renewal of American democracy.
"Frustration with bipartisan politics is given lucid voice and direction in former congressman Edwards's (Reclaiming Conservatism) latest: an examination of how the nation can move past party affiliation in order to move forward. The electoral system has changed, Edwards argues, into a self-perpetuating political machine with 'permanent factions whose primary focus is on gaining and retaining political power.' Moving toward something more representative of a community's beliefs would allow legislators to think outside of party affiliation and grapple with the issues individually. In a nation where an increasing number of voters register as independent, and many citizens feel misrepresented by both parties, this is a wise choice. In 10 steps, Edwards illustrates how the government can release partisanship's political chokehold on the system. Edwards's suggestions include ensuring that elected officials don't sign special interest pledges to gain party support before to election; changing the seating arrangement in the Senate and eliminating the aisle separating Democrats from Republicans in both Houses; and arranging bipartisan retreats to ensure cross pollination between party members. The book provides compelling hope for reform." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A penetrating analysis of American democracys most urgent threat: a political system so paralyzed by partisanship it is almost incapable of placing national interest ahead of the blind pursuit of political advantage
About the Author
Mickey Edwards, a congressman for sixteen years and a faculty member at Harvard and Princeton for the subsequent sixteen years, is a vice president of the Aspen Institute. He has been a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers, and he broadcasts a weekly commentary on National Public Radios All Things Considered. He writes an online column for the Atlantic.
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