The Unheavenly Chorus is the first book to look at the political participation of individual citizens alongside the political advocacy of thousands of organized interests--membership associations such as unions, professional associations, trade associations, and citizens groups, as well as organizations like corporations, hospitals, and universities. Drawing on numerous in-depth surveys of members of the public as well as the largest database of interest organizations ever created--representing more than thirty-five thousand organizations over a twenty-five-year period--this book conclusively demonstrates that American democracy is marred by deeply ingrained and persistent class-based political inequality. The well educated and affluent are active in many ways to make their voices heard, while the less advantaged are not. This book reveals how the political voices of organized interests are even less representative than those of individuals, how political advantage is handed down across generations, how recruitment to political activity perpetuates and exaggerates existing biases, how political voice on the Internet replicates these inequalities--and more.
In a true democracy, the preferences and needs of all citizens deserve equal consideration. Yet equal consideration is only possible with equal citizen voice. The Unheavenly Chorus reveals how far we really are from the democratic ideal and how hard it would be to attain it.
Slow Democracy chronicles the ways in which ordinary people have mobilized to find local solutions to local problems. It invites us to bring the advantages of "slow" to our community decision making. Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered.
Susan Clark and Woden Teachout outline the qualities of real, local decision making and show us the range of ways that communities are breathing new life into participatory democracy around the country. We meet residents who seize back control of their municipal water systems from global corporations, parents who find unique solutions to seemingly divisive school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizens across the nation who have designed local decision-making systems to solve the problems unique to their area in ways that work best for their communities.
Though rooted in the direct participation that defined our nation's early days, slow democracy is not a romantic vision for reigniting the ways of old. Rather, the strategies outlined here are uniquely suited to 21st-century technologies and culture.If our future holds an increased focus on local food, local energy, and local economy, then surely we will need to improve our skills at local governance as well.
Donald Trump's election victory resulted in one of the most unexpected presidencies in history. Identity Crisis provides the definitive account of the campaign that seemed to break all the political rules—but in fact didn't. Featuring a new afterword by the authors that discusses the 2018 midterms and today's emerging political trends, this compelling book describes how Trump's victory was foreshadowed by changes in the Democratic and Republican coalitions that were driven by people's racial and ethnic identities, and how the Trump campaign exacerbated these divisions by hammering away on race, immigration, and religion. The result was an epic battle not just for the White House but about what America should be.
Demolishing popular misconceptions that Machiavelli is a cynical realist, the book shows that he believes republics can't survive, let alone thrive, without leaders who are virtuous as well as effective. Among much other valuable advice, Machiavelli says that voters should pick leaders who put the common good above narrower interests and who make fighting corruption a priority, and he explains why the best way to recognize true leaders is to carefully examine their past actions and words. On display throughout are the special insights that Machiavelli gained from long, direct knowledge of real political life, the study of history, and reflection on the political thinkers of antiquity.
Recognizing the difference between great and mediocre political leaders is difficult but not at all impossible—with Machiavelli's help. So do your country a favor. Read this book, then vote like Machiavelli would.
The Declaration of Independence proclaims equality as a foundational American value. However, Unequal and Unrepresented finds that political voice in America is not only unequal but also unrepresentative. Those who are well educated and affluent carry megaphones. The less privileged speak in a whisper. Relying on three decades of research and an enormous wealth of information about politically active individuals and organizations, Kay Schlozman, Henry Brady, and Sidney Verba offer a concise synthesis and update of their groundbreaking work on political participation.
The authors consider the many ways that citizens in American democracy can influence public outcomes through political voice: by voting, getting involved in campaigns, communicating directly with public officials, participating online or offline, acting alone and in organizations, and investing their time and money. Socioeconomic imbalances characterize every form of political voice, but the advantage to the advantaged is especially pronounced when it comes to any form of political expression--for example, lobbying legislators or making campaign donations—that relies on money as an input. With those at the top of the ladder increasingly able to spend lavishly in politics, political action anchored in financial investment weighs ever more heavily in what public officials hear.
Citing real-life examples and examining inequalities from multiple perspectives, Unequal and Unrepresented shows how disparities in political voice endanger American democracy today.
With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans' preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not. Gilens shows that representational inequality is spread widely across different policy domains and time periods. Yet Gilens also shows that under specific circumstances the preferences of the middle class and, to a lesser extent, the poor, do seem to matter. In particular, impending elections--especially presidential elections--and an even partisan division in Congress mitigate representational inequality and boost responsiveness to the preferences of the broader public.
At a time when economic and political inequality in the United States only continues to rise, Affluence and Influence raises important questions about whether American democracy is truly responding to the needs of all its citizens.
The authors develop new methods to trace gender differences in political activity to the nonpolitical institutions of everyday life--the family, school, workplace, nonpolitical voluntary association, and church. Different experiences with these institutions produce differences in the resources, skills, and political orientations that facilitate participation--with a cumulative advantage for men. In addition, part of the solution to the puzzle of unequal participation lies in politics itself: where women hold visible public office, women citizens are more politically interested and active. The model that explains gender differences in participation is sufficiently general to apply to participatory disparities among other groups--among the young, the middle-aged, and the elderly or among Latinos, African-Americans and Anglo-Whites.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction: Citizenship and Unequal Participation
2. Studying Gender and Participation: A Brief Discourse on Method
3. Civic Activity: Political and Non-Political
4. The Political Worlds of Men and Women
5. The Legacy of Home and School
6. Domestic Tranquility: The Beliefs of Wives and Husbands
7. Domestic Hierarchy: The Household as a Social System
8. The Workplace Roots of Political Activity
9. The Realm of Voluntarism: Non-Political Associations and Religious Institutions
10. Gender, Institutions, and Political Participation
11. Gender, Race or Ethnicity, and Participation
12. Family Life and Political Life
13. What If Politics Weren't a Man's Game?
14. Conclusion: The Private Roots of Public Action
A. Numbers of Cases
B. Ranges of Variables
C. Supplementary Tables
D. Explanation of Outcomes Analysis
Providing the most systematic analysis available of modern voter turnout, Who Votes Now? reveals that persistent class bias in turnout has enduring political consequences, and that it really does matter who votes and who doesn't.