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Politics and Governments of the American States

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Politics and Governments of the American States

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Arkansas Politics and Government, Second Edition

Diane D. Blair Irrevocable Trust

Published a decade and a half after the late Diane D. Blair’s influential book Arkansas Politics and Government, this freshly revised edition builds on her work, which highlighted both the decades of failure by Arkansas's government to live up to the state’s motto of Regnat Populus (“The People Rule”) and the positive trends of democracy. Since the first edition, Arkansas has seen the two-term U.S. presidency of a native son, the retirement of players who defined the state’s politics in the modern era, the further realignment of the state’s electorate, the passage of the nation’s most extreme legislative term limits, the complete overhaul of the state’s court system, and the declaration that the state’s public education system was unconstitutionally inadequate and inequitable.
 
While maintaining the basic structure of Blair’s original work with its focus on important historical patterns and the ways in which the past continues to shape the present, the second edition details the causes and consequences of recent changes in Arkansas and asks whether they are profound and permanent or merely transitory variations in symbol and style. Jay Barth argues that although Arkansas currently expresses a healthier representative democracy than throughout most of its history, its political and governmental entities are still sharply limited as effective instruments of “the people.”

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Colorado Politics and Policy

Governing a Purple State

Thomas E. Cronin

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Delaware Politics and Government

William W. Boyer

This volume provides a comprehensive analysis of both the historical and the contemporary dimensions of the politics and government of the “First State.” Once a sparsely populated, agrarian, and relatively insignificant polity, Delaware has become a densely and diversely populated financial and legal center often called the “corporation capital of the world.” Delaware’s prime location has been central to its development and transition from a goods-producing economy to a fast-growing, service-based economy. Despite its diminutive size, Delaware is, in many ways, the nation’s preferred corporate home.
 
William W. Boyer and Edward C. Ratledge provide an overview of Delaware’s history, structure, and present politics and explain why one of the smallest states in the country is also one of the most powerful. Delaware continually promotes pro-business legislation, business and public objectives are entwined, and privatization is a dominant theme in public affairs. The state has an individualistic political order in which public participation is indirect and citizen activism is limited.

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Kansas Politics and Government

The Clash of Political Cultures

H. Edward Flentje and Joseph A. Aistrup

The rich history of Kansas politics continues to generate an abundant literature. The state’s beginning as “Bleeding Kansas” followed by Prohibition, populism, the Progressive Era, and the Dust Bowl, through to the present day, have given local and national writers and scholars an intriguing topic for exploration. While historians and biographers shed light on pieces of this history, journalists focus on current political affairs in the state. Rarely, however, are past and present connected to fully illuminate an understanding of Kansas politics and government. This volume uses the prism of political cultures to interpret Kansas politics and disclose the intimate connections between the state’s past and its current politics. The framework of political cultures evolves from underlying political preferences for liberty, order, and equality, and these preferences form the basis for the active political cultures of individualism, hierarchy, and egalitarianism. This comprehensive examination of Kansas political institutions argues that Kansas politics, historically and presently, may best be understood as a clash of political cultures.

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Maine Politics and Government, Second Edition

Kenneth T. Palmer

Remote and thinly populated, Maine was long insulated from many of the demographic and economic trends of states to the south. Maine Politics and Government traces recent changes in the state’s system as agriculture, manufacturing, and maritime trades have ceded dominance to high-tech businesses, extensive commercial development, and an expanding governmental sector.
 
This compact overview of Maine politics and government describes how the state’s history and political culture have shaped its political processes, its governing institutions, and its public-policy priorities. It also highlights the shift in the role of Maine’s governments in the past half century—from low-service entities to administrators of a broad range of public policies. The authors consider the impact of the influx of newcomers along the southern Maine coast, serious financial issues involving burdensome taxation, the pressing need to make the nearly five hundred units of local government more efficient, and problems attending the spread of suburbs throughout the state.
 
Fully updated and expanded, this second edition provides a wealth of new material—maps, case studies, updated demographic information, treatment of new policies and health-care plans, and an overview of the administrations of the two most recent governors.

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Maryland Politics and Government

Democratic Dominance

John T. Willis

Tucked between the larger commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Virginia and overshadowed by the political maneuverings of its neighbor, Washington, D.C., Maryland has often been overlooked and neglected in studies of state governmental systems. With the publication of Maryland Politics and Government, the challenging demographic diversity, geographic variety, and dynamic Democratic pragmatism of Maryland finally get their due.

Two longtime political analysts, Herbert C. Smith and John T. Willis, conduct a sustained inquiry into topics including the Maryland identity, political history, and interest groups; the three branches of state government; and policy areas such as taxation, spending, transportation, and the environment. Smith and Willis also establish a “Two Marylands” model that explains the dominance of the Maryland Democratic Party, established in the post–Civil War era, that persists to this day even in a time of political polarization. Unique in its scope, detail, and coverage, Maryland Politics and Government sets the standard for understanding the politics of the Free State (or, alternately, the Old Line State) for years to come.

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Oregon Politics and Government

Progressives versus Conservative Populists

Richard A. Clucas

The political culture of Oregon has long had a reputation for innovative policy, maverick politicians, and independent political thought, but instead of using the term “progressive” to describe the state’s political leanings, the editors of Oregon Politics and Government believe a more accurate descriptor would be “schizophrenic.” Oregon Politics and Government provides not only an overview of the state’s politics and government; it also explains how the divide between progressives and conservative populists defines Oregon politics today.
 
Early in the state’s history, reformers championed many causes: the initiative and referendum process for setting public policy, the recall of public officials, the direct election of U.S. senators, and women’s suffrage. Since then, the state has asserted control over beaches, imposed strict land-use laws, created an innovative regional government, introduced voting through the mail, allowed for physician-assisted suicide, and experimented with universal healthcare. Despite this list of accomplishments, however, Oregon is divided between two competing visions: one that is tied to progressive politics and another that is committed to conservative populism. While the progressive side supports a strong and active government, the conservative populist side seeks a smaller government, lower taxes, fewer restrictions on private property, and protection for traditional social values. The struggle between these two forces drives Oregon politics and policies today.

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West Virginia Politics and Government, Second Edition

Richard A. Brisbin

West Virginia Politics and Government offers the only recent study of politics in the Mountain State. Combining new empirical information about political behavior with a close examination of the capacity of the state’s government, this second edition is a comprehensive and pointed study of the ability of the state’s government to respond to the needs of a largely rural and relatively low-income population. The authors discuss public demands on state government, the shaping of the political agenda by interest groups, elections and the role of political parties, and the influence of the federal government on the state’s political and administrative functions. The book also examines the nature of the state’s constitution and the role of governmental institutions, including the state legislature, the governor, and the state bureaucracy, in the making of public policy and the construction of a state budget, as well as the judiciary and local governments. The concluding chapter assesses the future of governance in the state.

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Wisconsin Politics and Government

America's Laboratory of Democracy

James K. Conant

Throughout the twentieth century, Wisconsin won national visibility and praise for its role as a “laboratory of democracy” within the American federal system. In Wisconsin Politics and Government James K. Conant traces the development of the state and its Progressive heritage from the early territorial experience to contemporary times. Conant includes a discussion of the four major periods of institutional and policy innovation that occurred in Wisconsin during the twentieth century as well as an examination of the state’s constitution, legislature, office of the governor, courts, political parties and elections, interest groups, social welfare policy, local governments, state-local relations, and current and emerging issues.
 
Readers of Wisconsin Politics and Government are likely to find a close correspondence between Wisconsin's social, economic, and political experience during the twentieth century and the essential democratic characteristics Alexis de Tocqueville describes in his classic work Democracy in America. For example, Wisconsin’s twentieth-century civil society was highly developed: its elected and administrative officials continuously sought to improve the state's political and administrative institutions, and they worked to enhance the economic and social conditions of the state's citizens. Other modern characteristics of the state's democratic experience include issue-oriented politics, government institutions operating free of scandal, and citizens turning out to vote in large numbers.

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