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Democracy for realists : why elections do not produce responsive government : with a new afterword by the authors

Author: Christopher H Achen; Larry M Bartels
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2017] ©2017
Series: Princeton studies in political behavior.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
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.
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Christopher H Achen; Larry M Bartels
ISBN: 9780691178240 0691178240 9780691169446 0691169446
OCLC Number: 1001439660
Description: xvi, 400 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Contents: List of Illustrations, p.ix --
Preface, p.xiii --
CHAPTER ONE: Democratic Ideals and Realities, p.1 --
CHAPTER TWO: The Elusive Mandate: Elections and the Mirage of Popular Control, p.21 --
CHAPTER THREE: Tumbling Down into a Democratical Republick: "Pure Democracy" and the Pitfalls of Popular Control, p.52 --
CHAPTER FOUR: A Rational God of Vengeance and of Reward? The Logic of Retrosprective Accountability, p.90 --
CHAPTER FIVE: Blind Retrospection: Electoral Resposes to Droughts, Floods, and Shark Attacks, p.116 --
CHAPTER SIX: Musical Chairs: Economic Voting and the Specious Present, p.146 --
CHAPTER SEVEN: A Chicken in Every Pot: Ideology and Retrosprection in the Great Depression, p.177 --
CHAPTER EIGHT: The Very Basis of Reasons: Groups, Social Identities, and Political Psychology, p.213 --
CHAPTER NINE: Partisan Hearts and Spleens: Social Identities and Political Change, p.232 --
CHAPTER TEN: It Feels Like We're Thinking: The Rationalizing Voter, p.267 --
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Groups and Power: Toward a Realist Theory of Democracy, p.297 --
APPENDIX: Retrospective Voting as Selection and Sanctioning, p.329 --
Afterword to the Paperback Edition, p.335 --
References, p.345 --
Index, p.381.
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. Now with new analysis of the 2016 elections, 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."--pub. desc.

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Winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in Government & Politics, Association of American Publishers One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016 "The best book to understand the 2016 Read more...

 
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