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The Decline of American Political Parties, 1952-94: Book by Martin P. Wattenberg

The Decline of American Political Parties, 1952-94

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ISBN: 9780674194359    Publisher: Harvard University Press Year of publishing: 1998     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 288        

"The major theme of Chapter 12, new to this edition, is the missed opportunities for the parties in the 1996 elections. The year started with a highly visible confrontation over the budget that could...Read more

"The major theme of Chapter 12, new to this edition, is the missed opportunities for the parties in the 1996 elections. The year started with a highly visible confrontation over the budget that could have revitalized the party coalitions if the issues had been carried over to the election. However, the candidate-centered campaign of 1996 ultimately did little to resolve these issues or to reinvigorate partisanship in the electorate. In spite of the opportunities for getting new voters to the polls created by the Motor Voter Act, voter turnout in 1996 was the lowest since 1924. Turning out the vote is one of the most crucial functions of political parties, and their inability to mobalize more than half of the eligible electorate strongly indicates their future decline in importance to voters. Until citizens support the parties more by showing up to cast votes for their candidates, the decline of American political parties must be considered to be an ongoing phenomenon."

--From the preface
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About the author: Martin P. Wattenberg
Martin P. Wattenberg is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.

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Review:
Wattenberg's skillful analysis of poll data demonstrates how beliefs are encouraged by the politicians and the media through their efforts to personalize issues and create a candidate-centered...Read more
Wattenberg's skillful analysis of poll data demonstrates how beliefs are encouraged by the politicians and the media through their efforts to personalize issues and create a candidate-centered political universe. -- William Schneider New York Times Book Review An excellent examination of an important and lamentable development in the nation's history. -- Charles Peters Washington Monthly This is the fifth edition of what has by now become something of a classic text...One of the great strengths of this book is Wattenberg's careful use of empirical data in support of his argument. By taking pains he has been able to effectively discredit some claims that were essentially based on impressionistic analysis whilst confirming others. The result is a text that has stood the test of time extremely well. He deals robustly and effectively with his critics, to whom the election of 1992 must count as a devastating blow. All in all this is a must read for anyone seriously interested in American politics. -- Steven Hurst Borderlines
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