From Publishers Weekly
While many Americans worry over the rise of partisan politics, Emory University political science professor Abramowitz (Voice of the People) finds reason to celebrate: the increasing ideological divide, he argues, has engaged more people while making the stakes in elections more clear, resulting in dramatically higher voter turnout (the 2008 election had the highest turnout "in more than four decades") and a populace that's more politically involved-whether campaigning directly, speaking with friends, contributing money or simply putting up yard signs. Statistics show that the "proportion of pure independents in the electorate has been declining since 1970"; party loyalty today is based not on social group identification (as in FDR's "New Deal Coalition") but ideological beliefs, creating more disciplined Republican and Democratic voting blocs. Abramowitz admits that this can become paralyzing in U.S. democracy (as opposed to parliamentary democracies) when the executive and legislative branches are controlled by different parties, making bipartisan cooperation not just unlikely, but politically damaging, and giving those few moderates who remain outsized importance. Abramowitz bolsters his thought-provoking conclusions with 67 tables and charts.
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“Alan Abramowitz has produced a definitive work on the consequences of a divided electorate in elections, in policy making, and in the capacity for winners to govern. The Disappearing Center is a major contribution to the study of contemporary American politics.”—Thomas Edsall, author of Building Red America and Chain Reaction
(Thomas Byrne Edsall)
“No one is better at analyzing the American voter than Alan Abramowitz. In this exceptionally revealing volume, Professor Abramowitz convincingly explains one of the most discussed phenomena of our time, political polarization.”—Larry J. Sabato, author of A More Perfect Constitution
(Larry J. Sabato)
"Alan Abramowitz explains the most pressing political problem of the day—how Americans have grown so politically divided that they barely speak the same language."—Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart
"If you’re interested in getting beyond the standard handwringing and calls for bipartisanship, read this exceptionally clear and well-argued book.”—Ruy Teixeira, co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority
"Among all the academics who write on American politics, Abramowitz is one of the most original, interesting, and convincing, and one of the smartest....[he] has new things to say about polarization. His focus here on the engaged versus the unengaged is a nice move. Also, he organizes recognized material about the subject in a way that beats the competition.”—David Mayhew, Yale University
(David Mayhew 2010-02-25)
"[An] important and persuasive new book."--Ethan Porter, Wilson Quarterly
(Ethan Porter Wilson Quarterly
"Abramowitz admirably tackles many dimensions of a complex debate. . . . the book is an important text for both new and old students of polarization in American politics."—Hahrie Han, Public Opinion Quarterly
(Hahrie Han Public Opinion Quarterly