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Democracy for realists : why elections do not produce responsive government

by Achen, Christopher H.,

Format: Print Book 2016
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction JF1001.A255 2016x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  JF1001.A255 2016x
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 321.8 Ach
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  321.8 Ach
Wilkinsburg Public Library Nonfiction SOCIETY 321.8 ACH 2016
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  SOCIETY 321.8 ACH 2016

Why our belief in government by the people is unrealistic--and what we can do about it

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.

Additional Information
Series Princeton studies in political behavior.
Subjects Voting -- United States.
Elections -- United States.
Democracy -- United States.
Political participation -- United States.
Social choice.
United States -- Politics and government.
Publisher Princeton, New Jersey :2016
Contributors Bartels, Larry M., 1956- author.
Language English
Description xvi, 390 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 335-369) and index
ISBN 9780691169446
Other Classic View