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"The major theme of Chapter 12, new to this edition, is the missed opportunities for the parties in the 1996 elections. The year started with a highly visible confrontation over the budget that could have revitalized the party coalitions if the issues had been carried over to the election. However, the candidate-centered campaign of 1996 ultimately did little to resolve these issues or to reinvigorate partisanship in the electorate. In spite of the opportunities for getting new voters to the polls created by the Motor Voter Act, voter turnout in 1996 was the lowest since 1924. Turning out the vote is one of the most crucial functions of political parties, and their inability to mobalize more than half of the eligible electorate strongly indicates their future decline in importance to voters. Until citizens support the parties more by showing up to cast votes for their candidates, the decline of American political parties must be considered to be an ongoing phenomenon."
--From the preface
1. The Concept of Political Partisanship
2. The Stability of Partisan Attitudes
3. Independent or No Preference?
4. Negativity or Neutrality?
5. Political Leadership and the Parties
6. The Role of the Media
7. Demographic Trends
8. The Public as an Echo Chamber
9. The Elections of 1984 and 1988: Realignment without Revitalization
10. The 1992 Election: Ross Perot and the Independent Voter
11. The 1994 Election: Perot Voters and the Republican Shift
12. The 1996 Election: Missed Opportunities for the Parties