Elections and Beyond
Publication Year: 2013
In any democracy, the central problem of governance is how to inform, organize, and represent the opinions of the public in order to advance three goals: popular control over leaders, equality among citizens, and competent governance. In most political analyses, voting is emphasized as the central and essential process in achieving these goals. Yet democratic representation encompasses a great deal more than voter beliefs and behavior and, indeed, involves much more than the machinery of elections. Democracy requires government agencies that respond to voter decisions, a civil society in which powerful organized interests do not dominate all others, and communication systems that permit divergent voices to be heard.
Representation: Elections and Beyond brings together leading international scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explore the twenty-first-century innovations—in voting laws and practices, in electoral systems, in administrative, political, and civil organizations, and in communication processes and new technologies—that are altering how we understand democratic representation. Featuring twelve essays that engage with national, provincial, and municipal governments across three continents, this volume tackles traditional core elements of democratic representation, such as voting, electoral systems, and political parties, while also underscoring the ways in which beliefs and preferences of citizens are influenced, expressed, and aggregated and the effects of those methods and practices on political agendas and policy outcomes. In pinpointing deficiencies in contemporary democratic practices and possibilities for reform, Representation provides an invaluable roadmap to improve democratic representation in the twenty-first century.
Contributors: André Blais, Pradeep Chhibber, Archon Fung, Jacob Hacker, Zoltan Hajnal, Matthew Hindman, David Karpf, Georgia Kernell, Alexander Keyssar, Anthony McGann, Susan Ostermann, Paul Pierson, Dennis Thompson, Jessica Trounstine, Mark E. Warren.
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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In any democracy, the central problem of governance is how to inform, or-ga nize, and represent the opinions of the public so as to promote core values of pop u lar control over leaders, equality among citizens, and competent gov-ernance. Th e authors of the Federalist Papers contended that modern repub-lics improved on ancient democracies in part through novel systems of ...
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Th e purpose of this chapter is to provide an evaluation of U.S. electoral sys-tems and electoral institutions more broadly, in comparative perspective. I will fi rst determine how typical or untypical U.S. institutions are. I will then indicate how comparativists tend to judge these institutions. Finally, I will ascertain how well or poorly these institutions are seen to perform by citizens....
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Th e question posed in the title would have astonished the framers of our constitution, but not because they believed that they were proposing a re-public rather than a democracy. Contrary to Madison’s oft en- quoted com-ment in the Federalist, that distinction was not commonly accepted (Dahl 2003: 179– 83; Adams 1980: 106ff ). Th e terms “republic” and “democracy” ...
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In the summer of 1997, a small group of inmates at Norfolk State Prison in Massachusetts formed a po liti cal action committee to infl uence public de-bate about criminal justice and social welfare issues. As had been true of inmates in the commonwealth since the American Revolution, the men in Norfolk were legal voters. An underlying goal of the po liti cal action group, ...
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We know that the majority of Americans usually do not vote. At best roughly half of adults vote in national contests. At worst, fewer than 10 percent of adults vote in local elections (Bridges 1997; Hajnal and Lewis 2003). We also know that those who do turn out to vote look very diff erent from those who do not. Study aft er study of American elections has found that individuals ...
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As scientists and citizens, we would like to evaluate objectively the fairness and bias of electoral systems. However, this is claimed to be impossible by many po liti cal scientists, as well as by various practicing politicians and the U.S. Supreme Court. Th e argument commonly made is that there are mul-tiple, competing conceptions of fairness; and that once you exclude the most ...
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Parliamentary elections were held in a number of long- standing democracies in 2011, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Por-tugal, and Spain. With the exception of Ireland, turnout was signifi cantly lower than the historical average in every country. In Portugal, turnout was the lowest in history (58 percent), and in New Zealand a smaller share of the ...
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Over the last generation, Americans at the top of the economic ladder have pulled sharply away from everyone else. Th e share of pretax income earned by the richest 1 percent of house holds more than doubled, from 9 percent in 1970 to over 23 percent on the eve of the 2008 fi nancial crisis (Piketty and Saez 2003; Saez 2012). Gains higher up the ladder have been more spectacu-...
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Po liti cal repre sen ta tion is experiencing an intellectual re nais sance. A spate of new work (Manin 1997; Mansbridge 2003; Rehfeld 2006; Urbinati 2000, 2006; Urbinati and Warren 2008; Warren 2008; Williams 1998) has gener-ated renewed interest in po liti cal representation— an idea that had been virtually silenced aft er Pitkin’s (1967) masterful treatment of the subject in ...
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Th is essay is about blogs, the online public sphere more broadly, and blogs’ role as a platform for po liti cal discourse. My central theme is that blogging is not what it used to be. In the years since the 2004 election, blogging has been normalized, professionalized, and institutionalized, and I try to detail what these interrelated changes mean for U.S. politics. I also propose con-...
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American citizens are represented not only through government institu-tions, but also through civic and po liti cal associations. Dating back to Toc-queville’s observation that America was a nation of joiners, social scientists have highlighted the important intermediary role that membership associa-tions play in public life. Membership- based civic associations serve as “labo-...
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Many chapters in this book focus on the proper relationship between citi-zens and their government: problems of inclusion, equality, po liti cal oppor-tunity, po liti cal expression, repre sen ta tion, and responsiveness. But even if we managed to perfect the pro cesses connecting citizens to their state, demo-cratic ambitions would remain unsatisfi ed in light of the circumstances of ...
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Demo cratic theorists commonly distinguish between direct democracy and representative democracy. In a direct democracy, citizens rule themselves, while in a representative democracy they elect representatives to rule on their behalf. Today’s democracies are all representative in structure— a form dictated by scale and complexity— with some direct elements such as initia-...
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André Blais holds a Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies and is Professor of Political Science at the University of Montreal. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and past president of the Canadian Political Science Association. ...
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Th is volume originated in papers written for a Faculty Workshop Series or ga nized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism (DCC) Program. Th e Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Mary and David Boies Family Graduate Fund provided generous support.Th e editors are grateful to the members of the DCC Program Planning ...
Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 13 illus.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism
Series Editor Byline: Rogers M. Smith and Mary L. Dudziak, Series Editors