Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy [NOOK Book]

Overview

Local government is the hidden leviathan of American politics: it accounts for nearly a tenth of gross domestic product, it collects nearly as much in taxes as the federal government, and its decisions have an enormous impact on Americans' daily lives. Yet political scientists have few explanations for how people vote in local elections, particularly in the smaller cities, towns, and suburbs where most Americans live. Drawing on a wide variety of data sources and case studies, this book offers the first ...

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Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy

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Overview

Local government is the hidden leviathan of American politics: it accounts for nearly a tenth of gross domestic product, it collects nearly as much in taxes as the federal government, and its decisions have an enormous impact on Americans' daily lives. Yet political scientists have few explanations for how people vote in local elections, particularly in the smaller cities, towns, and suburbs where most Americans live. Drawing on a wide variety of data sources and case studies, this book offers the first comprehensive analysis of electoral politics in America's municipalities.

Arguing that current explanations of voting behavior are ill suited for most local contests, Eric Oliver puts forward a new theory that highlights the crucial differences between local, state, and national democracies. Being small in size, limited in power, and largely unbiased in distributing their resources, local governments are "managerial democracies" with a distinct style of electoral politics. Instead of hinging on the partisanship, ideology, and group appeals that define national and state elections, local elections are based on the custodial performance of civic-oriented leaders and on their personal connections to voters with similarly deep community ties. Explaining not only the dynamics of local elections, Oliver's findings also upend many long-held assumptions about community power and local governance, including the importance of voter turnout and the possibilities for grassroots political change.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
This study takes a modest step toward filling a vast hole in the systematic investigation of local elections in the U.S.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2013 Best Book Award, Urban Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association

"This study takes a modest step toward filling a vast hole in the systematic investigation of local elections in the U.S."Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400842544
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

.J. Eric Oliver is professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Shang E. Ha is assistant professor of political science at Brooklyn College. Zachary Callen is assistant professor of political science at Allegheny College
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Size, Scope, and Bias: What Differentiates
Local Electoral Politics? 12
Chapter 2 Who Votes in Local Elections? 53
Chapter 3 Who Runs for Local Office? 87
Chapter 4 Systematic versus Idiosyncratic Factors in Local Elections 116
Chapter 5 What Influences Local Voters’
Electoral Choices? 149
Chapter 6 Rethinking Local Democracy 183
References 209
Index 215
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