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Democracy for realists : why elections do not produce responsive government

Author: Christopher H Achen; Larry M Bartels
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey ; Woodstock, Oxfordshire : Princeton University Press, [2016] ©2016
Series: Princeton studies in political behavior.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens.Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Achen, Christopher H.
Democracy for realists.
Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2016]
(DLC) 2016930927
(OCoLC)946459788
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Christopher H Achen; Larry M Bartels
ISBN: 9781400882731 1400882737
OCLC Number: 945632713
Awards: Winner of 2017 PROSE Award in Government & Politics, Association of American Publishers 2017
Commended for "Choice"'s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016 2016
Short-listed for Bloomberg's Best Books of 2016 2016
Description: 1 online resource (xvi, 390 pages) : illustrations.
Contents: Democratic Ideals and Realities --
The Elusive Mandate: Elections and the Mirage of Popular Control --
Tumbling Down into a Democratical Republick: "Pure Democracy" and the Pitfalls of Popular Control --
A Rational God of Vengeance and of Reward? The Logic of Retrospective Accountability --
Blind Retrospection: Electoral Responses to Droughts, Floods, and Shark Attacks --
Musical Chairs: Economic Voting and the Specious Present --
A Chicken in Every Pot: Ideology and Retrospection in the Great Depression --
The Very Basis of Reasons: Groups, Social Identities, and Political Psychology --
Partisan Hearts and Spleens: Social Identities and Political Change --
It Feels Like We're Thinking: The Rationalizing Voter --
Groups and Power: Toward a Realist Theory of Democracy --
Appendix: Retrospective Voting as Selection and Sanctioning.
Series Title: Princeton studies in political behavior.
Responsibility: Christopher H. Achen, Larry M. Bartels.

Abstract:

"Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens.Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters--even those who are well informed and politically engaged--mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly.Achen and Bartels argue that democratic theory needs to be founded on identity groups and political parties, not on the preferences of individual voters. Democracy for Realists provides a powerful challenge to conventional thinking, pointing the way toward a fundamentally different understanding of the realities and potential of democratic government.Provided by publisher.

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"The most influential recent book on voting."--John Prideaux, Economist "Democracy for Realists is a monumental work whose ripple effect will resonate within and beyond the field for years to come. Read more...

 
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