Solutions to Political Polarization in America

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

Political polarization dominates discussions of contemporary American politics. Despite widespread agreement that the dysfunction in the political system can be attributed to political polarization, commentators cannot come to a consensus on what that means. The coarseness of our political discourse, the ideological distance between opposing partisans, and, most of all, an inability to pass much-needed and widely supported policies all stem from the polarization in our politics. This volume assembles several top analysts of American politics to focus on solutions to polarization. The proposals range from constitutional change to good-government reforms to measures to strengthen political parties. Each tackles one or more aspects of America's polarization problem. This book begins a serious dialogue about reform proposals to address the obstacles that polarization poses for contemporary governance.
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About the author

Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He is an award-winning teacher and a nationally recognized constitutional law expert who focuses on the law of democracy, addressing issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, and redistricting. He has served as a special master or court-appointed nonpartisan expert to draw redistricting plans for several states, including New York, Maryland, Georgia, and Connecticut. In 2014, he served as the senior research director for the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Apr 27, 2015
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Pages
317
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ISBN
9781316300046
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / Constitutions
Political Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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American politics is most notably characterized by the heated debates on constitutional interpretation at the core of its ever-raging culture wars, and the coverage of these lingering disputes are often inundated with public-opinion polls. Yet for all their prominence in contemporary society, there has never been an all-inclusive, systematic study of public opinion and how it impacts the courts and electoral politics. Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy is the first book to provide a comprehensive analysis of American public opinion on the key constitutional controversies of the twentieth century, including desegregation, school prayer, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, gay rights, assisted suicide, and national security, to name just a few. With essays focusing on each issue in-depth, Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, Patrick Egan, and an established group of scholars utilize cutting edge public-opinion data to illustrate these contemporary debates, methodically examining each one and how public attitudes have shifted over time, especially in the wake of prominent Supreme Court decisions. More than just a compilation of available data, however, these essays join the "popular constitutionalism" debate between those who advocate a dominant role for courts in constitutional adjudication and those who prefer a more pluralized constitutional discourse. Each essay also vividly details the gap between the public and the Supreme Court on these hotly contested issues and analyzes how and why this divergence of opinion has grown or shrunk over the last fifty years. Ultimately, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy sheds light on a major yet understudied part of American politics, providing an incisive look at the crucial part played by the voice of the people on the issues that have become an indelible part of the modern-day political landscape.
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