Bifurcated Politics is a fresh and penetrating examination of the national party convention during four decades of fundamental change in the party system. With striking skill and insight, Shafer has written an exemplary institutional analysis, moving from the interplay of altered environmental forces and deliberate 'reform' to the ascendancy of organized interests and of the mass media inherent in the weakening political parties. Above all, the book looks at the convention and through it to the changing national politics surrounding it—a rare and valuable contribution to understanding and to constructive reflection.
At once, this book provides us with an intelligent and closely argued analysis of the causes of the declining role of nominating conventions, an overall theoretical concept that ties together its main argument (the notion of bifurcated politics), and an analysis of the larger fabric of contemporary American politics as seen through the 'window' of the convention. An ambitious and comprehensive guide to the protean world of presidential selection.