This volume, with contributions from some of the most noted scholars of political parties, brings together assessments of these changes to provide a comprehensive overview of current trends in the field. It serves as an excellent companion to courses on parties and elections, and a useful overview for scholars and students of American politics generally.
In The Second Civil War, respected political commentator Ronald Brownstein diagnoses the electoral, demographic, and institutional forces that have wreaked such change over the American political landscape, pulling politics into the margins and leaving precious little common ground for compromise. The Second Civil War is not a book for Democrats or Republicans but for all Americans who are disturbed by our current political dysfunction and hungry for ways to understand it—and move beyond it.
In a marked realignment since the 1970s—when partisan affiliation did not depend on ideology and both major parties had strong liberal and conservative factions—liberals today overwhelmingly identify with Democrats, as conservatives do with Republicans. This “sorting,” Levendusky contends, results directly from the increasingly polarized terms in which political leaders define their parties. Exploring its far-reaching implications for the American political landscape, he demonstrates that sorting makes voters more loyally partisan, allowing campaigns to focus more attention on mobilizing committed supporters. Ultimately, Levendusky concludes, this new link between party and ideology represents a sea change in American politics.
Conditions now exist within American politics that will facilitate the establishment of Republican rule. Many of these conditions have ripened during the past decade. They include rules governing elections and campaign finance, shifts in core political values among the public that are consistent with Republican philosophy, and fundamental social and economic changes in American society that are likely to increase the ranks of Republican voters. The author explains in lucid, engaging terms how Republicans have taken control of both houses of Congress and experienced a remarkable resurgence at the state level. He explores how conservatives are utilizing the courts to simultaneously move policy rightward and mobilize sympathetic parts of the electorate. He also examines social and economic changes to show how racial politics, religiosity, and the nature of work and wealth benefit today's Republican Party.
Republican rule should not be confused with Republican realignment. These conditions will advantage Republicans in future elections and bring about consistent Republican control of government at all levels--federal, state, and local, executive, legislative, and judicial. However, current conditions do not guarantee the kind of enduring Republican majority many journalists and strategists have predicted. Taylor explains the factors that will prohibit the Republicans from fully exploiting their advantages and dominating American politics the way the Democrats did in the 30 years following the New Deal. These factors include internal and intractable tensions within the Republican Party, the parties' sophisticated political information gathering strategies, and the innate risk aversion of the campaign industry.
Paul Sniderman and Benjamin Highton bring together leading political scientists who offer new insights into the political thinking of the public, the causes of party polarization, the motivations for political participation, and the paradoxical relationship between turnout and democratic representation. These studies propel a foundational argument about democracy. Voters can only do as well as the alternatives on offer. These alternatives are constrained by third players, in particular activists, interest groups, and financial contributors. The result: voters often appear to be shortsighted, extreme, and inconsistent because the alternatives they must choose between are shortsighted, extreme, and inconsistent.
Facing the Challenge of Democracy features contributions by John Aldrich, Stephen Ansolabehere, Edward Carmines, Jack Citrin, Susanna Dilliplane, Christopher Ellis, Michael Ensley, Melanie Freeze, Donald Green, Eitan Hersh, Simon Jackman, Gary Jacobson, Matthew Knee, Jonathan Krasno, Arthur Lupia, David Magleby, Eric McGhee, Diana Mutz, Candice Nelson, Benjamin Page, Kathryn Pearson, Eric Schickler, John Sides, James Stimson, Lynn Vavreck, Michael Wagner, Mark Westlye, and Tao Xie.
U.S. policymakers frequently criticize the rest of the world for policies and practices that are said to constrict American commerce. Yet some trade disputes have been ignited by questionable rules made in the United States. Indeed, legal strictures have posed barriers to imports and possibly discouraged foreign investors, as well as interfered with some U.S. exports. At times the social regulatory regime has also stirred abrasive efforts to extend U.S. sanctions to foreign soil. Even if those frictions have been of minor consequences so far, inefficient legal and regulatory conventions exact a toll on U.S. productivity growth.
The book concludes that in a global economy the burdensome regulations of foreign countries deserve attention, but increasingly so do the burdens that American "adversarial legalism" imposes on itself and sometimes on others. Ideas and prospects for correcting the problem are discussed throughout.
The contributors include Lee Axelrad, Thomas F. Burke, Loren Cass, Robert A. Kagan, Mark K. Landy, Roger G. Noll, and David Vogel.
Sound familiar? This all happened two hundred years ago.
What So Proudly We Hailed looks at the War of 1812 in part through the lens of today's America. On the bicentennial of that formative yet largely forgotten period in U.S. history, this provocative book asks: What did Americans learn—and not learn—from the experience? What instructive parallels and distinctions can be drawn with more recent events? How did it shape the nation?
Exploring issues ranging from party politics to sectional schisms, distant naval battles to the burning of Washington, and citizens' civil liberties to the fate of Native Americans caught in the struggle, these essays speak to the complexity and unpredictability of a war that many assumed would be brief and straightforward. What emerges is a revealing perspective on a problematic "war of choice"—the nation's first, but one with intriguing implications for others, including at least one in the present century.
Although the War of 1812 may have faded from modern memory, the conflict left important legacies, both in its immediate wake and in later years. In its own time, the war was transformative. To this day, however, some of the fundamental challenges that confronted U.S. policymakers two centuries ago still resonate. How much should a free society regularly invest in national defense? Should the expense be defrayed through new taxes? Is it possible for profound partisan disagreements to stop "at the water's edge"? What are the constitutional limits of executive powers in wartime? How, exactly, should the government treat dissenters, especially when many are suspected of giving aid and comfort to an enemy? As Americans continue to reflect on their country and its role in the world, these questions remain as relevant now as they were then.
Nivola addresses these questions by comparing sprawling U.S. metropolitan areas to compact development patterns in Europe. He contrasts the effects of traditional urban programs, as well as "accidental urban policies" that have a profound if commonly unrecognized impact on cities, including national tax systems, energy conservation efforts, agricultural supports, and protection from international commerce.
Nivola also takes a hard look at the traditional solutions of U.S. urban policy agenda involving core-area reconstruction projects, mass transit investments, "smart" growth controls, and metropolitan organizational rearrangements, and details the reasons why they often don't work. He concludes by recommending reforms for key U.S. policies--from taxes to transportation to federal regulations--based on the successes and failures of the European experience.
Brookings Metropolitan Series
Constitutional scholars have long debated whether the American political system, which was so influenced by the thinking of James Madison, has in fact grown outmoded. But if Madison himself could peer at the present, what would he think of the state of key political institutions that he helped originate and the government policies that they produce? In What Would Madison Do?, ten prominent scholars explore the contemporary performance of Madison's constitutional legacy and how much would have surprised him.
1. Introduction: Perspectives on Madison's Legacy for Contemporary American Politics, Pietro S. Nivola and Benjamin Wittes
2. Mr. Madison's Communion Suit: Implementation-Group Liberalism and the Case for Constitutional Reform, John J. DiIulio Jr.
3. Constitutional Surprises: What James Madison Got Wrong, William A. Galston
4. Overcoming the Great Recession: How Madison's "Horse and Buggy" Managed, Pietro S. Nivola
5. Gridlock and the Madisonian Constitution, R. Shep Melnick