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  • Author: Alan Yang
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Alan Yang examines how ordinary U.S. Latinos of different national origin ancestries have become an increasingly cohesive panethnic political group since the time of the 1990 Latino National Political Survey. He argues that this trend towards increasing convergence across national origin has been both reinforced and disrupted on questions related to politically relevant sentiments and perceptions two years into the Trump presidency.
  • Topic: Politics, History, Ethnicity, Political Science, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Paul
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: America is in the midst of a housing crisis. For millions of Americans, stable housing is simply out of reach. A full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any county in the United States. Twenty-one million households, nearly half of all renters, are rent-burdened, with rent claiming more than a quarter of their income. There are a number of contributing factors to the crisis, including pervasive economic inequality and the lack of rising wages over an entire generation for nonmanagerial workers, but many economists, political scientists, and housing experts point the finger at a lack of housing supply. Specifically, much ink has been spilled over the “not in my back yard” (NIMBY) phenomenon, whereby local residents support more housing in theory, just not in their own neighborhoods. But do local residents really have the power necessary to slow new and denser development in ways that curtail housing supply and contribute to rising house prices? In their timely and important book, Katherine Levine Einstein, David M. Glick, and Maxwell Palmer provide an excellent analysis of the political institutions that empower certain local residents to resist change in their neighborhoods. While the NIMBY sentiment is worthy of consideration regarding the housing crisis, without the right institutions, the movement would not have legs. Neighborhood Defenders provides an in-depth study of how institutions initially designed to democratize local zoning and development decisions have resulted in unintended consequences. Specifically, they document how participatory institutions that could, in theory, keep developers accountable to the people have instead backfired, leading to a shortage of housing supply and a precipitous rise in prices.
  • Topic: Book Review, Political Science, Crisis Management, Housing
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Natalie Masuoka
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Explanations for American voting behavior and attitudes have taken on a curious frame since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, such that there have been growing claims that race is no longer central to American politics. Obama’s election was labeled evidence of a new “post-racial” America. Then, when Donald Trump was elected in 2016, public narratives emphasized the role of social class by pointing to the voting bloc of white, working-class, and rural voters who had helped decide the outcome of the election. Zoltan L. Hajnal’s Dangerously Divided joins an important collection of recent academic work that directly challenges the argument about the reduced role of race in American politics. Hajnal does not sugarcoat his position: “A key aspect of this story is not just that race matters but also that it eclipses the other important dividing lines in American society” (p. 13). Race has always been a core feature of American politics, and it is present even in the constitutional Framers’ debates over the structure of government. The interpretation that recent events indicate a reduced role of race discounts the historical centrality that race has always played in American government. Hajnal offers empirical evidence and an unambiguous argument that race continues to direct most patterns in American politics.
  • Topic: Politics, Race, Elections, Book Review, Political Science, Class
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gary Wasserman
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Coming to terms with Donald Trump, his causes and consequences, is a lively cottage industry. When packaged as predictions of his political demise by two distinguished scholars, the stakes are raised for the authors and, since this review was written before the electoral reckoning, for the reviewer as well. Perhaps Trump’s reckless disregard for traditional boundaries extends to everyone who touches the subject. Both Thomas E. Patterson and Andrew Hacker should be commended for writing obituaries before the body has actually stopped quivering. Given that both books were completed before the unique year of 2020 had struck with all its terrible unpredictable forces, these writers are brave indeed, especially because they are so self-assured in prophesizing a Republican Party decline (Patterson) and Trump’s immediate electoral demise, taking most of his party with him (Hacker). After all, they wrote when the incumbent president could boast of a roaring stock market and economy as well as unquestioned control of a party with a majority of national offices (presidency, Senate, Judiciary), state legislatures (29), and governors (26).
  • Topic: Book Review, Political Science, Donald Trump, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Matt Grossmann
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Matt Grossmann analyzes the policy consequences of increasing Republican control of U.S. state governments since the 1990s. He finds that Republican states have enacted some new conservative policies, but many other liberal policy revolutions have continued unabated. He argues that conservative policymaking is difficult because federal policy and electoral incentives incentivize continued government expansion.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Conservatism, Political Science
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jamie Monogan
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: The importance of political geography is likely to see renewed attention amid the redistricting cycle following the 2020 census and the controversies that new constituency maps are likely to bring. Many argue that gerrymandering in the United States is a key cause of electoral polarization and the observation that Democrats often are legislatively underrepresented relative to their aggregate vote shares. Jonathan Rodden convincingly shows that although gerrymandering may be a factor at the margins, the primary cause of these patterns is an urban-rural political divide that causes a political geography problem for Democrats. Rodden makes this case by showing historically how party platforms and constituencies evolved and illustrating the implications for political geography. This historical tracing of the parties speaks to how the battle between Republicans and Democrats came to be a culture war. This starts with the Democrats’ historical position as the party of laborers. Since factories were concentrated in cities, Democratic politicians who wanted to maintain their seats had to adopt positions that were appealing to growing portions of urban populations, taking progressive positions on social issues in addition to representing the interests of laborers. As the economy has shifted, the Democrats’ urban coalition has remained, with Republicans finding appeal in rural and exurban areas. The United States is not alone in this phenomenon. Rodden shows that nations such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia—all of which also conduct single-member plurality elections— have also seen left-of-center parties become urban parties with similar geographic patterns in constituencies.
  • Topic: Elections, Book Review, Political Science, Urban, Rural, Cities
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Jervis
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Robert Jervis speculates about the likely foreign policy that a Democratic administration will follow if its candidate wins in November. He argues that President Donald Trump will have left a difficult legacy and his successor will have to simultaneously rebuild trust and instructions while also utilizing the leverage that Trump has generated.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Elections, Political Science, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Adam Pratt
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: It would be easy to read David Heidler and Jeanne Heidler’s study of the improbable rise of Andrew Jackson to the nation’s highest political office and equate it with the even more improbable rise of the current occupant of the Oval Office. Indeed, the text is littered with quotations that make it nearly impossible not to draw parallels to contemporary politics. As early as 1822, for example, the influential editor of the Richmond Enquirer, Thomas Ritchie, admitted that a Jackson presidency had not been taken “by anyone, seriously,” until the Tennessee legislature nominated Jackson (p. 131). Such a myopic reading would be a mistake, though, for the Heidlers have written a book that transcends our current political situation and speaks more directly to the power of communicating myths about political candidates by a committed group of supporters whose machinations can propel their favorites to the highest levels of success in American electoral politics.
  • Topic: Politics, Book Review, Political Science, Andrew Jackson
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dawn Langan Teele
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: David A. Bateman’s new book explores nearly all of the crucial questions concerning democracy and inclusion that we are grappling with today, from the very broad—how do the ways in which we think about the origins of our nation inform the welcoming or hostile attitudes we assume in relation to immigrants and outsiders?—to the very narrow—do requirements that voters present physical documents verifying their identity reduce the electoral participation of minority groups? In answering these questions, Bateman offers a detailed portrait of the political machinations that result in electoral reforms, describing elites’ efforts to blur lines between expediency and morality and the circumstances that led conservative parties (the same that today seek to abolish laws that give special status to protected classes of people) to work hard to establish and maintain legal provisions that awarded different rights to different groups. Fundamentally, Bateman explains why steps toward inclusive democratic institutions are often accompanied by steps back, which leave us uncertain of our accomplishments and anxious about our future. Remarkably, though, Disenfranchising Democracy considers these familiar dynamics and dilemmas not in the contemporary world but in the rather distant past, drawing on a wealth of archival sources to analyze the timing of electoral reforms, the emergence and ossification of party- based patterns of support for franchise reform, and the political ideas of would-be reformers and resisters in three of the world’s first semidemocratic countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.
  • Topic: History, Elections, Democracy, Book Review, Political Science
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Chris Baylor
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: As we learned in high school civics, the Founders failed to anticipate political parties when they designed a Constitution premised on a separation of powers into three separate branches. Policymaking power was delegated primarily to the legislative branch, not the executive branch. But Gary C. Jacobson’s new book, Presidents and Parties in the Public Mind, shows how legislators mostly rise and fall with a president of their own party, affecting their ability to legislate and win elections. With little or no change to the president’s formal powers, a government informally organized around parties has become a government informally organized around the president.
  • Topic: Book Review, Political Science, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Meena Bose
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Robert Caro’s monumental study of Robert Moses (The Power Broker) and multivolume (four books completed and a fifth in progress) work on Lyndon B. Johnson comprise years of intensive data collection about each individual’s formative years, strategic advancement in public leadership and political power, and mastery of policymaking. To develop these unique and authoritative biographies, Caro undertakes a daunting research agenda that includes comprehensive scrutiny of the public archival record, interviews with numerous people who knew or worked with Moses or LBJ, and immersion in the physical setting that molded each individual. In Working, Caro takes readers into his world of analyzing how these two leaders acquired and used political power, providing an inside look at the diligent, indefatigable search for truth underlying these unparalleled biographies. The advice that has guided Caro throughout his writing career, first as a journalist and then in his books, comes from an editor who memorably said, “Turn every page. Never assume anything. Turn every goddamned page” (p. 11). Caro heeded this advice when he began working on the Moses book, which he decided to write after learning that Moses, as commissioner of New York City’s Department of Parks, had succeeded in getting state approval for a study to construct a new bridge, despite multiple traffic and pollution concerns. As Caro writes, Moses “had enough power to turn around a whole state government in one day” (p. 13).
  • Topic: History , Book Review, Political Science, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joseph M. Parent
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: How did it come to this? Time was when the lunatic fringe was on the fringe. Politicians, scientists, and network anchors told us things, and we believed them. Democracy usually worked as advertised. Now, the lunatics are running the asylum, possibly into the ground. Conspiracy theories are breeding and seething like a zombie apocalypse, scaling the battlements of civilization with their countless corpses and bottomless hunger for brains. “Conspiracism has reached such a point of prominence today that we must ask whether it is about to destroy democracy and civil society,” (p. 12) warns Thomas Konda. Konda’s central question is this: “Americans see hoaxes and plots everywhere…. why?” (p. 1). Yet the book is really about “how” questions. The focus of the work is “conspiracism—a mental framework, a belief system, a worldview that leads people to look for conspiracies, to anticipate them, to link them into a grander overarching conspiracy” (p. 2). Konda’s explanation is that modern conspiracism dates back to the French Revolution; it developed in fits and starts during the nineteenth century, mostly in the United States, “gained a permanent foothold in the public consciousness first as an anti-Semitic conspiracy, then as a global-Communist-new world order conspiracy” (p. 12), and went mainstream following the election of Barack Obama, especially after the 2016 presidential election. That is how it came to this.
  • Topic: Book Review, Political Science, Conspiracy Theory
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marek Steedman, Iliyan Iliev, Marcus Coleman, Allan McBride
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Marek Steedman, Iliyan Iliev, Marcus Coleman, and Allan McBride analyze the 2010 New Orleans mayoral election. They find that racial, economic, and partisan context affected voting behavior. They argue that analytical approaches that account for the effects of social context on political behavior are important to understanding urban politics.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, Elections, Political Science, Urban
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Szakonyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, the issue of billionaires ascendant within American politics will once again take center stage. The country could see another billionaire candidate challenge the incumbent billionaire president, whose many informal advisers and cabinet members run in similar circles. Several ultrarich elites will inevitably break new records with their individual campaign contributions. A voter could be forgiven for thinking that billionaires have publicly co-opted the political system. In a much-needed new book Billionaires and Stealth Politics, Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew J. Lacombe argue that these public actions are just the tip of the iceberg. For all the money billionaires invest in campaigns, parties, and issues, only rarely do they say anything in public to explain their preferences or reasons for pursuing specific aims. Billionaires engage in what the authors term stealth politics: they are extremely active in politics but remain intentionally quiet about the extent of their activities and influence. That silence is even more deafening with regard to issues where billionaires diverge from their less affluent fellow citizens, such as tax rates and redistributive policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Book Review, Political Science
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher Faricy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Why has the Republican Party centered its domestic agenda around tax cuts for three decades? Monica Prasad presents a thorough, complicated, and convincing story of the political motivations and impact of Ronald Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981. Starving the Beast argues that the ERTA marked the transformation of the Republican Party from a party of fiscal responsibility to one of tax cuts. Reagan showed his fellow Republicans that running on tax cuts was not only electorally popular but came with no economic or political costs. Republicans could now distribute government benefits through the tax code as a counter to Democratic expansions of the welfare state. This strategy united disparate factions within the party and is still one of the GOP’s only popular policy positions.
  • Topic: History , Political Science, Tax Systems, Ronald Reagan
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ryan D. Williamson
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In 2017, then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan broke the record for most closed rules in a single session. Ironically, this feat came only two years after vowing to lead the House in a more open and inclusive manner than his recent predecessors had. This about-face was not new or unique to Ryan, though. Indeed, he was simply the next in a string of Speakers over the previous few decades to promise greater debate, only to renege shortly thereafter. Chronicling this decline of deliberation in Congress is the focus of Donald R. Wolfensberger’s work. The former Republican staff director for the House Rules Committee offers a detailed yet accessible insight into how Congress has evolved in recent history. Beginning with a brief discussion of the history of majoritarian politics in Congress, Wolfensberger specifically looks at a litany of case studies from the last two decades. Topics cover a wide range, including health care reform, budgets and deficits, and the Iran nuclear deal, to name a few. Within each, a common theme pervades—the majority party must “rely on extraordinary consultation, pressures, and compromises within its own ranks, as well as on a creative use of the rules, to eke out a victory on contentious legislation” (p. 57).
  • Topic: Government, Book Review, Political Science
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Avery Plaw
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: The reasons why armed drones have been embraced by recent American presidents are obvious. They offer pilot invulnerability, protecting military personnel from harm in the conduct of operations and protecting political leaders from the criticism that follows it. They are also exceptionally well designed for selectivity—that is, for distinguishing legitimate targets from innocent civilians and precisely targeting the former without harming the latter. What may be less obvious is why they have proved anathema to so many critics who are genuinely concerned to make sure that American armed force is used ethically and legally, harming only legitimate targets. After all, both enhanced selectivity and pilot invulnerability reduce unintended harms. Yet many drone critics argue that these weapons pose an exceptional threat precisely because of pilot invulnerability and in some cases target selectivity. Their argument goes like this: democratic leaders and publics are casualty averse, and the fear of public backlash often deters leaders from going to war, but drones remove the danger of military casualties (and potentially diminish collateral civilian casualties) and hence remove the chief sources of public opposition and hence the main deterrents to using force (pp. 32–33). The consequence is that democracies will more frequently resort to force. This will lead to more armed conflict, more harm and a worse world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Drones, Book Review, Political Science
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America