The Marketplace of Democracy
Electoral Competition and American PoliticseBook - 2006
Since 1998, U.S. House incumbents havewon a staggering 98 percent of their reelection races. Electoral competition has alsodeclined in some state and primary elections. The Marketplace for Democracy combines theresources of two eminent research organizations -Brookings and the Cato Institute -toaddress several important questions about our democratic system. How pervasive is the lackof competition in arenas only previously speculated on, such as state legislative contestsand congressional primaries? What have previous reform efforts, such as direct primaries andterm limits, had on electoral competition? What are the effects of redistricting andcampaign finance regulation? What role do third parties play? In sum, what does all thistell us about what might be done to increase electoral competition? The authors, including anumber of today's most important scholars in American politics, consider the historicaldevelopment, legal background, and political aspects of a system that is supposed to beresponsive and accountable yet for many is becoming stagnant, self-perpetuating, andtone-deaf. How did we get to this point, and what -if anything -should be done about it?Elections are the vehicles through which Americans choose who governs them, and the power ofthe ballot is still the best lever ordinary citizens have in keeping public officialsaccountable. The Marketplace of Democracy considers different policy options for increasingthe competition needed to keep American politics vibrant, responsive, and democratic.Contributors include Stephen Ansolabehere (MIT), William D. Berry (Florida StateUniversity), Bruce Cain (University of California-Berkeley), Thomas Carsey (FloridaStateUniversity) James Gimpel (University of Maryland) John Hanley (UC-Berkeley), John MarkHansen (University of Chicago), Paul S. Herrnson (University of Maryland) Gary Jacobson(University of California-San Diego) Thad Kousser (UC-San Diego), Frances Lee (University ofMaryland), John Matsusaka (University of Southern California), Kenneth Mayer (University ofWisconsin-Madison), Michael P. McDonald (Brookings Institution and George Mason University),Jeffrey Milyo (University of Missouri-Columbia), Richard Niemi (University of Rochester)Nate Persily (University of Pennsylvania Law School), Lynda Powell (University ofRochester), David Primo (University of Rochester), John Samples (Cato Institute), and JamesSnyder Jr. (MIT).