Democracy for Realists : Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government / Christopher H. Achen, Larry M. Bartels.
- Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 
1 online resource
- Democracy -- United States.
Elections -- United States.
Political participation -- United States.
Representative government and representation -- United States.
Voting -- United States.
- In English.
- System Details:
- Mode of access: Internet via World Wide Web.
text file PDF
- 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.
List of Illustrations
Chapter One. Democratic Ideals and Realities
Chapter Two. The Elusive Mandate: Elections and the Mirage of Popular Control
Chapter Three. Tumbling Down into a Democratical Republick: "Pure Democracy" and the Pitfalls of Popular Control
Chapter Four. A Rational God of Vengeance and of Reward? The Logic of Retrospective Accountability
Chapter Five. Blind Retrospection: Electoral Responses to Droughts, Floods, and Shark Attacks
Chapter Six. Musical Chairs: Economic Voting and the Specious Present
Chapter Seven. A Chicken in Every Pot: Ideology and Retrospection in the Great Depression
Chapter Eight. The Very Basis of Reasons: Groups, Social Identities, and Political Psychology
Chapter Nine. Partisan Hearts and Spleens: Social Identities and Political Change
Chapter Ten. It Feels Like We're Thinking: The Rationalizing Voter
Chapter Eleven. Groups and Power: Toward a Realist Theory of Democracy
Appendix: Retrospective Voting as Selection and Sanctioning
- Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page (publisher's Web site, viewed 23. Mai 2019)
- Bartels, Larry M., author.
- Contained In:
- De Gruyter University Press Library.
- Publisher Number:
- 10.1515/9781400882731 doi
- Access Restriction:
- Restricted for use by site license.
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