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Senators on the Campaign Trail: The Politics of Representation (Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series) Hardcover – April, 1996

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Product Details

  • Series: Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806128275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806128276
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,688,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While most political scientists focus on polls, trends and statistics, Fenno's absorbing book compares the behavior of 10 Senatorial candidates on the campaign trail between 1976 and 1994, resulting in numerous unconventional insights into the how voters react to politicians. Fenno compares former Iowa Senator Dick Clark's 1972 election, based largely on the popularity of his energetic walk across Iowa to meet voters, to his complacent an unsuccessful second campaign. Former astronaut John Glenn didn't have to go to such lengths for name recognition, but it wasn't until he addressed a union of boilerplate workers in 1980 that he stumbled across the fact that the audience was more deeply responsive to his own personal past as a plumber's son than to his status as national hero. Fenno also makes an instructive comparison between Glenn's failure in one election to the success of the young Dan Quayle in another: "Quayle," he notes, "had no reputation... but he also had nothing to lose." There are many subtle distinctions between candidates' institutional ambitions in the Senate and their electoral ambitions in their home states, and there is the concept of personal representation versus policy representation, and Fenno clearly defines all these. Although he can be repetitively defensive about the academic validity of his approach, Fenno's focus on individual details restores a humanity to the Senate in an era of public cynicism about public institutions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

At the core of American democracy is the election?the mechanism by which the people choose those who will govern them. Elected officials represent their constituents. Fenno, a highly respected political scientist, has written a book that examines the connection between elections and representation. For over 15 years, he observed 234 different individuals who sought to win seats in the Senate. Challengers and incumbents, both successful and unsuccessful, are included in this analysis. From this small but rich sample, Fenno dramatizes the significant role that a campaign plays in shaping the relationship between constituents and their elected officials. He shows the representational relationship to be a "continuous negotiation" that evolves over time with each successful election or that severs the relationship when an incumbent is defeated. Campaigns are "critical events and sequences in that negotiating process." This is an exceptionally well-written book from an exceptionally perceptive scholar that should be read by anyone who hopes to comprehend the beauty and complexity that is American democracy. For academic and larger public library political science collections.?Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Fenno's book brings to light the world of the campaign for candidates. It is an insiders look into campaign politics and focuses more on the outcomes in relation to the candidates versus to the voters. Fenno attempts to make us focus more on the candidate as a human, as flesh and blood, rather than an ideology. What is wrong with this picture? In his chapter on Wyche Fowler he goes on to describe Fowler's Senate win in 1986 as one that was based on a model campaign. This model campaign was primarily centered around Fowler's personality and not his ideological plans for his state. Do we want politicians who are more personable than better judgement makers? According to Fenno, we do. Fenno does bring us into the world of the campaign but at what cost? In terms of the actual writing of the book, his ideas and thoughts seem scattered. When one is finished reading the book one is left with the overwhelming feeling of, "what are we supposed to get from this?" His goal of getting people to see candidates as more human is not really achieved but rather we end up seeing candidates as mere pawns in the game that is called campaigning.
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