The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy

The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy

by Alan I. Abramowitz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300168292

ISBN-13: 9780300168297

Pub. Date: 01/31/2011

Publisher: Yale University Press

Renowned political scientist Alan I. Abramowitz presents a groundbreaking argument that the most important divide in American politics is not between left and right but rather between citizens who are politically engaged and those who are not. It is the engaged members of the public, he argues, who most closely reflect the ideals of democratic

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Overview

Renowned political scientist Alan I. Abramowitz presents a groundbreaking argument that the most important divide in American politics is not between left and right but rather between citizens who are politically engaged and those who are not. It is the engaged members of the public, he argues, who most closely reflect the ideals of democratic citizenship—but this is also the group that is most polarized. Polarization at the highest levels of government, therefore, is not a sign of elites’ disconnection from the public but rather of their responsiveness to the more politically engaged parts of it. Though polarization is often assumed to be detrimental to democracy, Abramowitz concludes that by presenting voters with clear choices, polarization can serve to increase the public’s interest and participation in politics and strengthen electoral accountability.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300168297
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
01/31/2011
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Polarization in the Age of Obama 1

2 The Engaged Public 15

3 Partisan-Ideological Polarization 34

4 Polarization and Social Groups 62

5 Polarization and Elections 84

6 Polarization in a Changing Electorate 111

7 Polarization and Representation 139

8 Polarization and Democratic Governance 158

Notes 173

Index 187

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