Partisan Hostility and American Democracy: Explaining Political Divisions and When They Matter

Partisan Hostility and American Democracy: Explaining Political Divisions and When They Matter

Partisan Hostility and American Democracy: Explaining Political Divisions and When They Matter

Partisan Hostility and American Democracy: Explaining Political Divisions and When They Matter

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

An unflinching examination of the effects and boundaries of partisan animosity.

For generations, experts argued that American politics needed cohesive parties to function effectively. Now many fear that strong partisan views, particularly hostility to the opposing party, are damaging democracy. Is partisanship as dangerous as we fear it is?

To provide an answer, this book offers a nuanced evaluation of when and how partisan animosity matters in today’s highly charged, dynamic political environment, drawing on panel data from some of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, 2019 through 2021. The authors show that partisanship powerfully shapes political behaviors, but its effects are conditional, not constant. Instead, it is most powerful when politicians send clear signals and when an issue is unlikely to bring direct personal consequences. In the absence of these conditions, other factors often dominate decision-making.

The authors argue that while partisan hostility has degraded US politics—for example, politicizing previously non-political issues and undermining compromise—it is not in itself an existential threat. As their research shows, the future of American democracy depends on how politicians, more than ordinary voters, behave.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226833675
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 06/12/2024
Series: Chicago Studies in American Politics
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

James N. Druckman is professor of political science at the University of Rochester.


Samara Klar is professor of political science at the University of Arizona.


Yanna Krupnikov is professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan.


Matthew Levendusky is professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also holds the Stephen and Mary Baran Chair in the Institutions of Democracy at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. His books include The Partisan Sort and How Partisan Media Polarize America. He is also the coauthor of We Need to Talk (with Dominik Stecula) and Democracy Amid Crises (Annenberg IOD Collaborative). 


John Barry Ryan is associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media and the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

1. Partisan Hostility in America
2. Animosity in American Politics
3. Analyzing the Impact of Partisan Animosity
4. How Animosity Can Fuel Issue Polarization
5. A Political Virus: How Partisan Animus Polarized Voters’ Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic
6. Animus and Evaluations of Political Leaders
7. Partisan Animus and Political Compromise
8. A Democratic Paradox: Opposing the Practices and Norms That Uphold a Popular Democracy, with Jon Kingzette
9. The Challenges of Partisan Hostility for American Democracy

Acknowledgments
Appendixes
Notes
References
Index
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