Why Parties Matter: Political Competition and Democracy in the American South

University of Chicago Press
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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.
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About the author

John H. Aldrich is the Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. John D. Griffin is associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and coauthor of Minority Report.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 2018
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780226495408
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / General
Political Science / Political Process / Political Parties
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 New York Times bestselling author and radio host Mark R. Levin delivers a "bracing meditation” (National Review) on the ways our government has failed the next generation.

In modern America, the civil society is being steadily devoured by a ubiquitous federal government. But as the government grows into an increasingly authoritarian and centralized federal Leviathan, many parents continue to tolerate, if not enthusiastically champion, grievous public policies that threaten their children and successive generations with a grim future at the hands of a brazenly expanding and imploding entitlement state poised to burden them with massive debt, mediocre education, waves of immigration, and a deteriorating national defense.

Yet tyranny is not inevitable. In Federalist 51, James Madison explained with cautionary insight the essential balance between the civil society and governmental restraint: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

This essential new book is, against all odds, a likeminded appeal to reason and audacity—one intended for all Americans but particularly the rising generation. Younger people must find the personal strength and will to break through the cycle of statist manipulation, unrelenting emotional overtures, and the pressure of groupthink, which are humbling, dispiriting, and absorbing them; to stand up against the heavy hand of centralized government, which if left unabated will assuredly condemn them to economic and societal calamity.

Levin calls for a new civil rights movement, one that will foster liberty and prosperity and cease the exploitation of young people by statist masterminds. He challenges the rising generation of younger Americans to awaken to the cause of their own salvation, asking: will you acquiesce to a government that overwhelmingly acts without constitutional foundation—or will you stand in your own defense so that yours and future generations can live in freedom?
Mark R. Levin has made the case, in numerous bestselling books that the principles undergirding our society and governmental system are unraveling. In The Liberty Amendments, he turns to the founding fathers and the constitution itself for guidance in restoring the American republic.

The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the delegates to each state’s ratification convention foresaw a time when the Federal government might breach the Constitution’s limits and begin oppressing the people. Agencies such as the IRS and EPA and programs such as Obamacare demonstrate that the Framers’ fear was prescient. Therefore, the Framers provided two methods for amending the Constitution. The second was intended for our current circumstances—empowering the states to bypass Congress and call a convention for the purpose of amending the Constitution. Levin argues that we, the people, can avoid a perilous outcome by seeking recourse, using the method called for in the Constitution itself.

The Framers adopted ten constitutional amendments, called the Bill of Rights, that would preserve individual rights and state authority. Levin lays forth eleven specific prescriptions for restoring our founding principles, ones that are consistent with the Framers’ design. His proposals—such as term limits for members of Congress and Supreme Court justices and limits on federal taxing and spending—are pure common sense, ideas shared by many. They draw on the wisdom of the Founding Fathers—including James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and numerous lesser-known but crucially important men—in their content and in the method for applying them to the current state of the nation.

Now is the time for the American people to take the first step toward reclaiming what belongs to them. The task is daunting, but it is imperative if we are to be truly free.
At the turn of the twentieth century, colleges and universities in the U.S. and elsewhere were convulsed with change, a change induced by the creation of the modern set of academic disciplines. Their emergence at that time fundamentally altered how universities were constructed and how they did their business. It is the model on which the academy of the twenty-first century operates. Very shortly after the creation of the disciplinary-based academy, pressures began to build, both in the academy and in the society that looked to the academy to help solve pressing social problems, to develop interdisciplinary approaches to address problems that fit poorly within the disciplinary structure. These external and internal forces never fully abated, and peaked after the Second World War. They have peaked again more recently, and the contemporary college and university is therefore a rich amalgam of disciplinary and interdisciplinary units, problems, approaches, and structures. Interdisciplinarity examines the contemporary academy by connecting its disciplinary-based structure with its burgeoning interdisciplinary focus. Part I looks at the value of the disciplinary structure in the contemporary university alongside the motivations that lead to calls for greater interdisciplinary approaches. Part 2 traces the development of external forces, particularly the private and public foundation, that shaped the development of interdisciplinary scholarship in the twentieth century. The final two sections examine in detail interdisciplinary education and the organization of university-based interdisciplinary research.
Campaigns to win the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are longer, more complex, and more confusing to the observer than the general election itself. The maze of delegate-selection procedures includes state primaries and caucuses as well as the traditional "smoke-filled room." Complicated federal election laws govern campaign financing. Sometimes many candidates enter and drop out of the race, while sometimes a stable two-way contest occurs: the 1976 nomination campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford exemplified each extreme. Is it possible to propose general principles to explain the apparent chaos of our presidential nomination system? Can those principles account for two such starkly different campaigns as occurred in 1976? In Before the Convention, political scientist John H. Aldrich presents a systematic analysis of presidential nomination politics, based on application of rational-choice models to candidate behavior. Aldrich views the candidates as decision makers with limited resources in a highly competitive environment. From this perspective, he seeks to determine why and how candidates choose to run, why some succeed and others fail, and what consequences the nomination process has for the general election and, later, for the President in office.

Aldrich begins with a brief history of the presidential selection process, focusing on the continuing shift of power from political elites to the mass electorate. He then turns to a detailed analysis of the 1976 nomination campaigns. Using data from a variety of sources, Aldrich demonstrates that the very different patterns in these races both conform to the rational-choice model. The analysis includes consideration of numerous questions of strategy. Is there a "momentum" to campaigns? How does a candidate identify and exploit this intangible quality? How do candidates decide where to contend and where not to contend? What is the nature of policy competition among candidates? When does a candidate prefer a "fuzzy" position to a clearly stated one? Other topics include reforms in campaign financing and the expanded and changed role of news coverage.

Before the Convention fills a significant gap in the literature on presidential politics, and therefore should be of particular importance to specialists in this area. It will be ofinterest also to everyone who is concerned with understanding the "rules of the game" for a complicated but vitally important exercise of American democracy.
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