Democracy for Realists

Democracy for Realists

Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

Book - 2016
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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. --Publisher.
Publisher: Princeton ;, Oxford :, Princeton University Press,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780691169446
Branch Call Number: 321.8 AC
Characteristics: xvi, 390 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Bartels, Larry M. 1956-- Author


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Nov 13, 2018

There is a summary at the end of each chapter- if you agree with the summary you may not feel the need to read the supporting text.

This should be a troubling book. The authors report that In US politics, one third vote Democrat, one third Republican, and the other third is independent. “ …it is the least informed voters who seem to hold the balance of power". “Our point is that the most important single factor in determining who wins- myopic retrospection- is …especially arbitrary. ” Voters do a very poor job of assessing a government's performance.
Another key finding: "The fix for democracy is not more democracy". Referendums and recalls don't work as expected.

Nov 27, 2017

I didn't complete it, but I'm done with it. It's very academic.

Mar 11, 2017

This is an excellent academic book, but emphasis is definitely on the 'academic.' It presupposes a rather extensive familiarity with political science debates, terminology and positions. It is not 'chatty' or 'popular,' and is most definitely not aimed at the general public. In academic circles, it is getting well reviewed, though this does not mean it as always 100% agreed with. If you have the patience and the wit (and are willing to delve into the book's bibliography), it is an excellent primer on the huge debate of what is, what has been and what can be democracy.

Apr 21, 2016

More pure bunkem out of Princeton University Press [guess they aren't capable of anything else, huh?]!
Would refer the interested reader to Jane Mayer's outstanding book, Dark Money ||| and Donald Gibson's outstanding book: Wealth, Power, and the Crisis of Laissez Faire Capitalism ||| and David Talbot's phenomenally interesting book: The Devil's Chessboard.


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