Thinking About Political Reform: How to Fix, or Not Fix, American Government and Politics

Paperback | August 17, 2015

byJohn Johannes

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Thinking About Political Reform: How to Fix, or Not Fix, American Government and Politics offers the most comprehensive and highly accessible analysis of reform proposals available. It treats both the causes and consequences of structural, procedural, and behavioral problems, assessing a widevariety of reform proposals from the perspectives of political science, economics, law, journalism, and politics.Author John R. Johannes places reform proposals in the context of seven key standards for sound democratic government. He applies those standards and an up-to-date review of the scholarly literature and current events to the reform agenda, suggesting several approaches to evaluate, for example, thetensions between Congress and the presidency, election systems, or political parties. Johannes reminds students that reforms in one area are bound to have consequences in others, thereby advocating a system-wide approach to reform and a wariness of ad hoc reforms prompted by political events.

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Thinking About Political Reform: How to Fix, or Not Fix, American Government and Politics offers the most comprehensive and highly accessible analysis of reform proposals available. It treats both the causes and consequences of structural, procedural, and behavioral problems, assessing a widevariety of reform proposals from the perspec...

John R. Johannes is Professor of Political Science at Villanova University. He is the author of To Serve the People: Congress and Constituency Service and Policy Innovation in Congress and coeditor of Money, Elections, and Democracy: Reforming Congressional Campaign Finance.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.71 inPublished:August 17, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199937990

ISBN - 13:9780199937998

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Table of Contents

Preface: PART ONE: INTRODUCTION: HOW TO THINK ABOUT REFORM1. A Framework for Reform1.1 Reforms: What and Why?1.2 Guiding Principles1.3 Goals, Values, and Criteria for Evaluating Institutions1.4 The Need for Limits and Controls: Safety1.5 Goals, Values, and Criteria for Evaluating Popular Sovereignty1.6 Complications1.7 How to Think About Reform2. Radical Reform2.1 Parliamentary Government in Washington: With or Without a King?2.2 A Flag Without Fifty Stars? Unitary Government Rather than Federalism2.3 ImplicationsPART TWO: A FOCUS ON PARTICIPATION, REPRESENTATION, RESPONSIVENESS, AND ACCOUNTABILITY3. The People's Role3.1 The Problem: Low Turnout and Participation3.2 Enhancing Participation: Problems and Reforms3.3 Securing the Vote3.4 Conclusion4. Election Processes and Systems4.1 Basic Electoral Rules4.2 Reforming Electoral Rules4.3 Direct Democracy4.4 Alternatives4.5 Conclusion5. Political Parties5.1 What Parties Can Do5.2 What Kind of Parties?5.3 Reforms5.4 Alternatives and Prospects5.5 Conclusion6. Choosing the Candidates: Nominations6.1 Caucuses and Conventions: Congress6.2 Primary Elections6.3 Which Are Better: Conventions or Primaries?6.4 Presidential Nominations6.5 Reforms6.6 Conclusion7. Campaigns and Campaign Finance7.1 The Problem: Campaign Messages7.2 Debates7.3 The Media Sometimes is the Message7.4 Competition7.5 Let's Buy an Election: Campaign Finance7.6 Reforms7.7 Conclusion and ProspectsPART THREE: GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS AND POLICYMAKING8. How to Think about the Policy Makers8.1 A Framework for Analyzing Reforms9. Congress9.1 What's Wrong with Congress?9.2 Blame the Members9.3 Structures Cause Problems9.4 Committees and Subcommittees Bring Complexity9.5 The Parties9.6 Procedures: How Does Anything Get Done?9.7 Fixing the Problems: Reforming Congress9.8 Are Reforms Possible?10. The Presidency10.1 The Matter of Power10.2 Accountability: Hiring and Firing Presidents10.3 The Electoral College10.4 The Two Term Limit10.5 Effectiveness in Governing the Executive Branch11. President, Congress, and the Policy Process11.1 Problems of Shared Policymaking Call for Reforms11.2 Improving Fiscal Policy and the Budget Process11.3 Reforming National Security Policymaking11.4 Solving Governmental Deadlock12. Unelected Policymakers12.1 The Judiciary: Protector of or Threat to American Democracy?12.2 The Executive BureaucracyPART FOUR: CONCLUSION: ISSUES AND PROSPECTS13. Conclusion: Thinking About Reform13.1 The Lessons of Reform: What is Involved?13.2 Is Reform Possible?13.3 Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"If you want to read a text that makes a pretty grand attempt at uncovering and explaining a huge array of political and electoral reforms and challenges established conventions, you should read this one." --Rick D. Henderson, Texas State Universit