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Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Princeton Univ Pr
Publication date April 19, 2016
Pages 390
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780691169446
ISBN-10 0691169446
Dimensions 1.25 by 6.50 by 9.75 in.
Weight 1.54 lbs.
Original list price $29.95
Other format details university press
Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product Description:

Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens.

Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters―even those who are well informed and politically engaged―mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly.

Achen and Bartels argue that democratic theory needs to be founded on identity groups and political parties, not on the preferences of individual voters. Democracy for Realists provides a powerful challenge to conventional thinking, pointing the way toward a fundamentally different understanding of the realities and potential of democratic government.



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Hardcover
Book cover for 9780691169446
 
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With Christopher H. Achen | from Princeton Univ Pr (April 19, 2016)
9780691169446 | details & prices | 390 pages | 6.50 × 9.75 × 1.25 in. | 1.54 lbs | List price $29.95
About: Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens.

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