Rolling the Dice with State Initiatives: Interest Group Involvement in Ballot Campaigns

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Alexander examines interest group involvement in direct democracy. The tools of direct democracy--initiative, referendum, and recall--were initially created to delimit the power of economic interest groups and curb the power of political machines. Today, however, many believe that direct democracy has become a tool dominated by economic interests and that ballot contests have emboldened moneyed interests, rather than stemming their power. This unanticipated consequence of direct democracy has been coined the Populist Paradox.

Through two case studies, Alexander examines how debilitating the Populist Paradox truly is. The issue of gambling was selected due to the large number of affected interests and the degree of conflict enveloping the issue. Current research suggests that economic interest groups are best able to mobilize monetary resoures, while citizen groups are best able to mobilize personnel resources. The question then turns to whether the differential ability to mobilize resources translates to success or failure for groups with different bases of support. Populist and Progressive reformers obviously did not foresee the advent of campaign consultants, focus groups, direct mail, and paid petitioners. These changes in political campaigning have made the ability to mobilize personnel resources much less important. Alexander provides a valuable extension to current knowledge of group involvement in ballot campaigns that will be of particular interest to scholars, students, and other researchers involved with state and local public policy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275974961
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2001
  • Pages: 140
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Alexander

ROBERT M. ALEXANDER is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Frostburg State University. He previously taught at Bowling Green State University. His research examines interest groups and state and political politics; he has published in the Journal of Politics and the Arkansas Review.

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    1. Also Known As:
      R. D. Zimmerman, M. Masters
    2. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 23, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Russian Language and Creative Writing, Michigan State University, 1976

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Treatments of Initiatives and Interest Groups 13
3 Analytical Framework and Research Strategy 39
4 Sovereignty, Money, Out-of-Towners: California's Proposition 5 51
5 If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again: Missouri's Amendment 9 83
6 You Got to Know When to Hold 'Em and Know When to Fold 'Em: Lessons from California and Missouri 109
Bibliography 119
Index 127
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    This guy knows his stuff!!

    I have never read the book...but, I have been a student of Dr. Alexander's at Ohio Northern University. This man has forgotten more information than I will ever know regarding politics and Interest Group Behavior. If you are studying governmental structure or political logic, this book is a must. Dr. Alexander is THE authority on Special Interest and The Electoral College.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2003

    You have to read this book...okay

    I have never read this book, but the only other person to review it gave him five stars. I have however had him in class, and he definitely knows what he's talking about. So read it, and be enlightened...okay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2002

    This guy knows what he's talking about!

    This book is a serious inquiry into the politics of the organizations that are becoming too large a part of American political and social life: gambling interests. This book is brief and to the point, and is a must read for fans and opponents alike of direct democracy.

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