By Stephen Macedo
Voter turnout was once surprisingly excessive within the 2004 U.S. presidential election. first and foremost look, that point of participation—largely spurred via battle in Iraq and a burgeoning tradition struggle at home—might appear like vindication of democracy. If the new prior is any indication, even if, too many american citizens will quickly go back to apathy and state of no activity. in actual fact, all isn't really good in our civic existence. electorate are partaking in public affairs too once in a while, too unequally, and in too few venues to advance and maintain a powerful democracy. this significant new e-book explores the matter of America's reducing involvement in its personal affairs. D emocracy in danger reveals the hazards of civic disengagement for the way forward for consultant democracy. The authors, all eminent students, adopt 3 major initiatives: documenting fresh developments in civic engagement, exploring the impact that the layout of political associations and public regulations have had on these tendencies, and recommending steps that may elevate the quantity and caliber of civic engagement in the United States. The authors concentration their consciousness on 3 key parts: the electoral approach, together with elections and how humans get entangled; the influence of situation, together with demographic shifts and altering improvement styles; and the severe function of nonprofit businesses and voluntary institutions, together with the philanthropy that aid hold them going.
This vital venture, firstly subsidized by means of the yankee Political technological know-how organization, exams the proposition that social technology has helpful insights at the nation of our democratic existence. most significantly, it charts a direction for reinvigorating civic participation within the world's oldest democracy.
The authors: Stephen Macedo (Princeton University), Yvette Alex-Assensoh (Indiana University), Jeffrey M. Berry (Tufts), Michael Brintnall (American Political technological know-how Association), David E. Campbell (Notre Dame), Luis Ricardo Fraga (Stanford), Archon Fung (Harvard), William A. Galston (University of Maryland), Christopher F. Karpowitz (Princeton), Margaret Levi (University of Washington), Meira Levinson (Radcliffe Institute), Keena Lipsitz (California–Berkeley), Richard G. Niemi (University of Rochester), Robert D. Putnam (Harvard), Wendy M. Rahn (University of Minnesota), Keith Reeves (Swarthmore), Rob Reich (Stanford), Robert R. Rodgers (Princeton), Todd Swanstrom (Saint Louis University), and Katherine Cramer Walsh (University of Wisconsin).
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Extra info for Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation
S. party system. 55 Ideological cohesion, or clear differences between the major parties, is helpful to voters: it means that party labels stand for real differences and real choices. This rise in partisanship, however, has a troublesome dimension: ideological polarization among elites occurs when the system produces candidates who are more ideologically extreme and far more sharply divided than the electorate. 57 Independent voters serve as a centripetal force, holding the parties from drifting toward the extremes.
We do not pretend to be morally neutral about civic engagement. In contemporary America, we believe that virtually all indicators of involvement are lower than ideal and that many are declining. We start from the premise stated in chapter one that, under current circumstances, democratic politics would be healthier if the quantity, quality, and equality of political participation were improved. We also recognize, however, that the pursuit of these three goals may involve tradeoffs. 3 We do our best to describe these trade-offs when we encounter them and to suggest ways of managing them productively.
The bottom line is that partisan conflict is an essential part of modern politics: the voters need organized parties to present clear alternatives that lay out competing visions of political ends and policy means. Healthy partisanship may become excessive polarization, however, when institutions discount the views of centrists and amplify the voices of the ideological extremes. We understand that it will sometimes be difficult to discern which of these conditions hold, but we believe that it is important not to confuse genuine disagreement with divisive conflict, whenever possible.
Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation by Stephen Macedo