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

Paperback (Print)
Rent
Rent from BN.com
$8.37
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 09/08/2014
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$25.00
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.80
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 72%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $6.80   
  • New (7) from $23.38   
  • Used (11) from $6.80   

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Thomas Byrne Edsall

“Alan Abramowitz has produced a definitive work on the consequences of a divided electorate in elections, in policy making, and in the capacity for winners to govern. The Disappearing Center is a major contribution to the study of contemporary American politics.”—Thomas Edsall, author of Building Red America and Chain Reaction

Larry J. Sabato

“No one is better at analyzing the American voter than Alan Abramowitz. In this exceptionally revealing volume, Professor Abramowitz convincingly explains one of the most discussed phenomena of our time, political polarization.”—Larry J. Sabato, author of A More Perfect Constitution
Bill Bishop

"Alan Abramowitz explains the most pressing political problem of the day—how Americans have grown so politically divided that they barely speak the same language."—Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart
Ruy Teixeira

"If you’re interested in getting beyond the standard handwringing and calls for bipartisanship, read this exceptionally clear and well-argued book.”—Ruy Teixeira, co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority
David Mayhew

"Among all the academics who write on American politics, Abramowitz is one of the most original, interesting, and convincing, and one of the smartest....[he] has new things to say about polarization. His focus here on the engaged versus the unengaged is a nice move. Also, he organizes recognized material about the subject in a way that beats the competition.”—David Mayhew, Yale University
Wilson Quarterly - Ethan Porter

"[An] important and persuasive new book."--Ethan Porter, Wilson Quarterly
Public Opinion Quarterly - Hahrie Han

"Abramowitz admirably tackles many dimensions of a complex debate. . . . the book is an important text for both new and old students of polarization in American politics."—Hahrie Han, Public Opinion Quarterly
Publishers Weekly
While many Americans worry over the rise of partisan politics, Emory University political science professor Abramowitz (Voice of the People) finds reason to celebrate: the increasing ideological divide, he argues, has engaged more people while making the stakes in elections more clear, resulting in dramatically higher voter turnout (the 2008 election had the highest turnout "in more than four decades") and a populace that's more politically involved-whether campaigning directly, speaking with friends, contributing money or simply putting up yard signs. Statistics show that the "proportion of pure independents in the electorate has been declining since 1970"; party loyalty today is based not on social group identification (as in FDR's "New Deal Coalition") but ideological beliefs, creating more disciplined Republican and Democratic voting blocs. Abramowitz admits that this can become paralyzing in U.S. democracy (as opposed to parliamentary democracies) when the executive and legislative branches are controlled by different parties, making bipartisan cooperation not just unlikely, but politically damaging, and giving those few moderates who remain outsized importance. Abramowitz bolsters his thought-provoking conclusions with 67 tables and charts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wilson Quarterly

"[An] important and persuasive new book."--Ethan Porter, Wilson Quarterly

— Ethan Porter

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300168297
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 676,347
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Alan I. Abramowitz is the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University.
Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)