Democracy and culture

Why populism is a threat to electoral integrity

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Following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, a great deal of political commentary has focused on the rise of populism and its possible impact on Western democracies. Pippa Norris argues that populism heightens the risk of electoral malpractice in three distinct ways: by damaging public trust in democracy, by undermining international standards of electoral integrity, and by […]

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    The public may not be getting the policies they want, but it’s very hard to measure what they do want.

The public may not be getting the policies they want, but it’s very hard to measure what they do want.

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If democracy is to be representative, then public policies should reflect what the public wants. But how do we determine whether or not this is the case? Christopher Wlezien takes a close look at policy representation, arguing that it can be very hard to assess given that support for and opposition to a specific policy may not reflect what […]

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    Southern Blacks who feel powerless and disadvantaged are less likely to support immigration

Southern Blacks who feel powerless and disadvantaged are less likely to support immigration

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Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory and subsequent presidential administration have been marked by increasingly harsh rhetoric against immigrants, especially those from Latin America. In new research, Betina Cutaia Wilkinson and Natasha Bingham examine the attitudes of African Americans living in the South towards immigrants. They find that when Southern blacks feel powerless, disadvantaged and sense that their group is […]

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    Political parties shape public opinion, but their influence is limited.

Political parties shape public opinion, but their influence is limited.

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Do people’s opinions on policy debates follow those of the political party they support? In new research using a nationally representative survey, Kevin J. Mullinix finds that knowing that their party supports certain legislation means that people are more likely to support that legislation, and that this effect is more pronounced when parties are highly polarized. This effect is […]

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    Voters’ ignorance means that many corrupt politicians get to stay in office

Voters’ ignorance means that many corrupt politicians get to stay in office

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In the US Congress, involvement in a corruption scandal is by no means the end to a legislator’s political career, with 60 percent of those implicated in such scandals going on to win reelection. So why do politicians get away with corruption? In new research which examines more than 130 Congressional corruption cases over 35 years, Marko Klasnja finds […]

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    Book Review: Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age by Nicole S. Cohen

Book Review: Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age by Nicole S. Cohen

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In Writer’s Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age, Nicole S. Cohen offers a new study of the working conditions of freelance writers in English-speaking Canada, the USA and the UK in an age of digital journalism. This is a lucid, informative and passionate defence of the central role that journalists continue to play in enriching democratic debate and […]

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    Book Review: Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds by Lisa Messeri

Book Review: Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds by Lisa Messeri

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In Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds, Lisa Messeri offers a new ethnographic study of how planetary scientists, geologists and astronomers engage in processes of imaginative place-making to know and explore the spaces of the cosmos. With the book particularly underscoring how these practices are often shaped around colonialist discourses, Taylor R. Genovese praises Messeri’s vivid, absorbing and […]

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    How increasing wealth concentration and inequality leads to less generous state welfare policies.

How increasing wealth concentration and inequality leads to less generous state welfare policies.

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The growth of income and wealth inequality has led to greater political influence for the 1 percent. But what are the social policy outcomes of this increasing inequality? In new research, Thomas Hayes and Lyle Scruggs examine support for social safety nets among different income groups as well as the link between state welfare generosity and income inequality. They […]

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    Individuals’ “reverence” for constitutions acts as a barrier to constitutional change.

Individuals’ “reverence” for constitutions acts as a barrier to constitutional change.

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Of the 27 Amendments to the US Constitution, less than a handful has been enacted in the past 50 years. So why is constitutional change so difficult in the US? Jim Zink argues that, in addition to difficult amendment procedures, the people’s “reverence” for the constitution makes them reluctant to consider changes to it. Using two studies, he finds that […]

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    Book Review: The Despot’s Accomplice: How The West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy by Brian Klaas

Book Review: The Despot’s Accomplice: How The West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy by Brian Klaas

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In The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy, Brian Klaas provides a frontline account of the contemporary history of democracy, the current state of democracy promotion and the fundamental flaws in the West’s approach. This dynamic book offers convincing insight into the impact of current policy and proposals for future strategies that should be […]

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