Governing in a Polarized Age: Elections, Parties, and Political Representation in America

Alan Gerber
Cambridge University Press | October 2016 | ISBN: 9781107479074

(Contributing editors: Eric Schickler, R. Douglas Arnold, Gary Jacobson, Robert S. Erikson, Christopher Achen, Frances E. Lee, John Mark Hansen, Shigeo Hirano, James M. Snyder, Jr, Joshua D. Clinton, Ira Katznelson, John S. Lapinski, Sarah Binder, Stephen Ansolabehere, Maxwell Palmer, Benjamin Schneer, Eric M. Patashnik, Justin Peck, Katherine Levine Einstein, Jennifer Hochschild, Keith Krehbiel, David E. Price, David R. Mayhew)

Many political observers have expressed doubts as to whether America’s leaders are up to the task of addressing major policy challenges. Yet much of the critical commentary lacks grounding in the systematic analysis of the core institutions of the American political system including elections, representation, and the law-making process. Governing in a Polarized Age brings together more than a dozen leading scholars to provide an in-depth examination of representation and legislative performance. Drawing upon the seminal work of David Mayhew as a point of departure, these essays explore the dynamics of incumbency advantage in today’s polarized Congress, asking whether the focus on individual re-election that was the hallmark of Mayhew’s ground-breaking book, Congress: The Electoral Connection, remains useful for understanding today’s Congress. The essays link the study of elections with close analysis of changes in party organization and with a series of systematic assessments of the quality of legislative performance.