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Other titles in the Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture series:
Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture #11: Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politicsby Morris P. Fiorina
Synopses & Reviews
Red states, blue states . . . are we no longer the United States? Morris P. Fiorina here examines today’s party system to reassess arguments about party polarization while offering a cogent overview of the American electorate.
Building on the arguments of Fiorina’s acclaimed Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America, this book explains how contemporary politics differs from that of previous eras and considers what might be done to overcome the unproductive politics of recent decades. Drawing on polling results and other data, Fiorina examines the disconnect between an unrepresentative “political class” and the citizenry it purports to represent, showing how politicians have become more polarized while voters remain moderate; how politicians’ rhetoric and activities reflect hot-button issues that are not public priorities; and how politicians’ dogmatic, divisive, and uncivil style of “debate” contrasts with the more civil discourse of ordinary Americans, who tend to be more polite and open to compromise than their leaders.
Disconnect depicts politicians out of touch with the larger public, distorting issues and information to appeal to narrow interest groups. It can help readers better understand the political divide between leaders and the American public—and help steer a course for change.
Book News Annotation:
Do our elected officials represent us? In one sense they do since they were duly selected in free elections. The beliefs they express, though, may not reflect the will of the voters. Studies show that current elected officials tend to have more extreme positions on issues, are focused on different issues, and are less civil than is desired by their constituents. How did this situation come about? If true, what are the implications for our government and political participation in the future? What can be done to better connect elected officials to the issues and approaches that are more in line with the electorate? This book analyzes these questions in thoughtful, articulate prose. It is interesting reading for enlightened citizens. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Examines the decline of the political center within America's party system
About the Author
Morris P. Fiorina is the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Samuel J. Abrams is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University and a Fellow at the Hamilton Center for Political Economy, New York University.
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