European Parliament Library

Constitutional polarization, a critical review of the U.S. political system, Josep M. Colomer

Constitutional polarization, a critical review of the U.S. political system, Josep M. Colomer
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
index present
Literary Form
non fiction
Main title
Constitutional polarization
Nature of contents
Oclc number
Responsibility statement
Josep M. Colomer
Sub title
a critical review of the U.S. political system
"In this book, Josep M. Colomer argues, against much conventional wisdom, that political polarization is embedded in the constitutional design. The book puts forth that sustained conflict and institutional gridlock are not mainly questions of character, personalities or determined by socioeconomic or cultural inequalities. They are, above all, the result of the formula of separation of powers between the Presidency and Congress, which, together with a system of only two parties, fosters adversarial politics and polarization. Colomer contends that in the past, bipartisan cooperation and domestic peace flourished only under a foreign existential threat, such as during the Cold War. Once such a threat vanished, unsettled issues and new social concerns have broadened the public agenda and triggered again animosity and conflict. Constitutional Polarization offers innovative and relevant insights in political science to a broad readership without technical or academic jargon. It will be of high interest for those reader attentive to current affairs, as well as for public officers, journalists, pundits, and those in the study of political scientists, where it can also become a staple for courses in American Politics"--, Provided by publisher
Table Of Contents
Cover -- Half Title -- Title Page -- Copyright Page -- Table of Contents -- Introduction: It's the Institutions! -- A Flawed Institutional Design -- Internal Versus External Peace -- Part 1 A Tamed Democracy -- 1 Democracy Was Only for Small Countries -- Brief and Long-Lasting -- 2 From Empire to Federation -- Unlimited Expansion -- All Politics Is Territorial -- External War, Internal Peace, and Vice Versa -- 3 Montesquieu Did Not Speak English -- Montesquieu's Outdated England -- The Real Great Britain -- Separation Without Fusion -- An Inwardly Limited, Outwardly Oriented Empire -- Part 2 An Elected King With the Name of President -- 4 The Archaic Presidential Election -- An Elected Monarch -- A Cycle of Choices -- A Medievalizing Compromise -- Uncertain Consequences -- Minority Presidents -- 5 Biased Filters and Checks -- Presidential Advantage -- Presidential Dominance -- 6 The Presidentialist Temptation -- More Executive Power -- War Presidency -- The New War in Ukraine -- The Risks of War and a Potential Peace -- Overreach and Underachievement -- Part 3 Two Parties With Narrow Agendas -- 7 The Framers Did Not Like Factions -- Preventing Faction and Corruption -- The Good Feelings of Unity -- Populist Partisanship -- 8 The Unforeseen Emergence of Only Two Parties -- From No Parties to Single-Party Sweeps -- Local Two-Party Systems -- The Difficult National Two-Party System -- The Multi-Party Parliamentary Alternative -- 9 Shifting Majorities and Accordion Agendas -- A Swinging Pendulum -- Negative Electoral Incentives -- The Manipulation of the Agenda -- Measuring Polarization -- Part 4 Either External Fear Or Internal Anger -- 10 Anarchy and Civil War -- Disunion and Divisiveness -- Disequilibrium and Civil War -- Reconstruction and Restoration -- 11 Cold War Fear and Cooperation -- The Red Scare Favored GovernanceSocial Consensus and Political Demobilization -- Majority Winners and Political Stability -- A Precursor Parenthesis -- Narrow Public Agendas -- 12 The Ongoing Turmoil -- Overcharged Agendas -- Tight Elections and Minority Winners -- Legislative Gridlock -- Government Shutdowns and Presidential Impeachments -- Democracy Under Siege -- Part 5 A Future in Hope -- Voting Better -- Facilitating the Vote -- Open Primaries and Elections -- Cooperating More -- Locating More Efficiently -- The Subsidiarity Principle -- Conclusion -- Acknowledgments -- Bibliography -- Index
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