The Realities of Redistricting: Following the Rules and Limiting Gerrymandering in State Legislative Redistricting

Lexington Books
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Allowing legislators to pick the voters that make up their districts is a fundamental conflict of interest and central concern for the popular sovereignty of American elections. In The Realities of Redistricting, Jonathan Winburn examines the extent of this potential problem by focusing on both the incentives and the constraints facing state legislators during the redistricting process. Most research on redistricting tends to examine only the outcomes produced in terms of partisan gains or losses; however, we know much less about what constrains political mapmakers during the process. We know even less about whether constraints built into the process are enough to limit the partisan manipulation of both district boundaries and electoral outcomes. From the beginning stages of redistricting to the resulting outcomes on election day, this book analyzes the constraints and incentives that state legislators face. By examining the entire process, this book investigates who holds the power in the process and improves our understanding of the conditions under which redrawing district boundaries have a significant influence on partisan politics throughout the country. Specifically, reformers, who generally argue for commissions, may find that focusing on the rules rather than the actors is a better path to improving the process. The Realities of Redistricting is an interesting and informative read for anyone concerned with one of the most contentious processes in the American system.
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About the author

Jonathan Winburn is assistant professor of political science at the University of Mississippi.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Lexington Books
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Published on
Mar 7, 2008
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Pages
258
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ISBN
9780739141496
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / Legislative Branch
Political Science / American Government / Local
Political Science / Political Process / Campaigns & Elections
Political Science / Public Policy / Regional Planning
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water. By the 1820s, liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.

Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent’s dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and convivially (and sometimes fatally) imbibe their favorite intoxicants. Last Call is peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety: Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and bootlegger Sam Bronfman, Pierre S. du Pont and H. L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and the incredible—if long-forgotten—federal official Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who throughout the twenties was the most powerful woman in the country. (Perhaps most surprising of all is Okrent’s account of Joseph P. Kennedy’s legendary, and long-misunderstood, role in the liquor business.)

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Last Call is capacious, meticulous, and thrillingly told. It stands as the most complete history of Prohibition ever written and confirms Daniel Okrent’s rank as a major American writer.
The Pulitzer Prize winning classic by President John F. Kennedy, with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy.

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.

In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

Along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, this book features Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.  Introduction by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, forward by John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy.

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