Representing Red and Blue: How the Culture Wars Change the Way Citizens Speak and Politicians Listen

Hardcover | September 5, 2012

byDavid C. Barker, Christopher Jan Carman

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What is a political representative's job, really? Are they supposed to simply figure out what "the people" want and deliver it, or are they charged to do what they think is best for their constituents - even if that means sometimes ignoring those constituents' wishes? In Representing Red andBlue, David Barker and Christopher Carman explore what people think about this question, why their answers vary, and what difference it makes. They observe that the citizens of "Red America" - religious and cultural traditionalists, including most Republicans - often prefer lawmakers who challenge public opinion, whereas "Blue Americans," or culturally progressive Democrats, typically prefer lawmakers who follow it. What is more, thesepreferences filter up: lawmakers who represent progressive locales tend to pursue the policies their constituents want, whereas representatives of more traditionalistic places often behave quite differently, leaning decidedly to the Right of even most Red American voters. The fundamental reason underlying these patterns, Barker and Carman argue, is that on average, traditionalists and progressives simply do not hold the values of liberal popular democracy in equally high esteem. What all of this means is that the citizens of Red America live in a different kind ofdemocracy than that of the citizens of Blue America - one where they have less political say over what their government does, but one that seems to suit their tastes all the same.

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What is a political representative's job, really? Are they supposed to simply figure out what "the people" want and deliver it, or are they charged to do what they think is best for their constituents - even if that means sometimes ignoring those constituents' wishes? In Representing Red andBlue, David Barker and Christopher Carman exp...

David C. Barker is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD from the University of Houston in 1998. He is also the author of Rushed to Judgment? Talk Radio, Persuasion, and American Political Behavior (Columbia University Press, 2002). His research interests include American politic...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 5, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199796564

ISBN - 13:9780199796564

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction: Saddling the Drunken MulePart I: The Demand Side of Political Representation2. How Do We Want to be Represented? How Do We Differ?3. Theory: Cultural Warfare and Styles of Representation in the US4. Mapping the Cultural and Partisan Divide in Representation PreferencesPart II: The Fine Art of Pandering5. Representation Styles, Candidate Cues, and the Voting Booth6. Constituent Perceptions of Representation Styles and Democratic Accountability7. Red Representation, Blue Representation8. Conclusion: Quieting the Stable, Polarizing the RanchAppendices