Democracy in America? by Benjamin I. Page
What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It

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Still, their new volume is a brilliant, indispensable, and highly accessible (suitable for a public as well as an academic audience) examination of the inner undemocratic workings of a U.S. political system that is regularly and incorrectly held up as an unmatched model of popular self-rule.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

America faces daunting problems—stagnant wages, high health care costs, neglected schools, deteriorating public services. Yet the government consistently ignores the needs of its citizens, paying attention instead to donors and organized interests. Real issues are held hostage to demagoguery, partisanship beats practicality, and trust in government withers along with the social safety net.
 
How did we get here? Through decades of dysfunctional government. In Democracy in America? veteran political observers Benjamin I. Page and Martin Gilens marshal an unprecedented array of evidence to show that while other countries have responded to a rapidly changing economy by helping people who’ve been left behind, the United States has failed to do so.  Instead, we have actually exacerbated inequality, enriching corporations and the wealthy while leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves.
 
What’s the solution? More democracy. More opportunity for citizens to shape what their government does. To repair our democracy, Page and Gilens argue, we must change the way we choose candidates and conduct our elections, reform our governing institutions, and curb the power of money in politics. By doing so, we can reduce polarization and gridlock, address pressing challenges, and enact policies that truly reflect the interests of average Americans.
 
This book presents a damning indictment. But the situation is far from hopeless. With increased democratic participation as their guide, Page and Gilens lay out a set of proposals that would boost citizen participation, curb the power of money, and democratize the House and Senate. The only certainty is that inaction is not an option. Now is the time to act to restore and extend American democracy.
 
 

About Benjamin I. Page

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Benjamin I. Page, the Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, is the author of several books, including Who Gets What From Government. Robert Y. Shapiro is associate professor of political science at Columbia University.
 
Published November 17, 2017 by University of Chicago Press. 352 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Democracy in America?
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 11 2017

On the dry side but with provocative suggestions for how to revive democratic practices through citizen action and institutional reform alike.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Paul Street on Nov 19 2017

Still, their new volume is a brilliant, indispensable, and highly accessible (suitable for a public as well as an academic audience) examination of the inner undemocratic workings of a U.S. political system that is regularly and incorrectly held up as an unmatched model of popular self-rule.

Read Full Review of Democracy in America?: What H... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
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