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Recommendations from The Center for Politics

The Red Ripple

The Red Ripple

Larry Sabato, one of the leading experts in American politics, will bring together respected journalists and academics from across the political spectrum to examine every facet of the 2022 midterm election, and what its development and outcome will mean for the nation moving forward. In frank, accessible prose, each author offers insight that goes beyond the headlines, and dives into the underlying forces and shifts that drove the election from its earliest developments to its dramatic conclusion. Following Sabato’s introductory analysis, the contributors will provide a comprehensive review of everything in play during the 2022 midterms and look ahead to the 2024 presidential campaign.

The Lion’s Den: A Story of American Renewal

The Lion’s Den offers a prescription for American renewal at a time of eroding confidence in our political institutions and growing confusion about our national purpose.

In Frank Atkinson’s formulation, there are no quick fixes for our broken politics … no easy cure for what ails our democracy. A republic’s community spirit and capacity for constructive self-governance depend on a consensus about essential values and the active choice to practice, promote, and perpetuate those values. The ethic of principled citizenship and service that Atkinson considers indispensable for American renewal is not an inherited trait – like every ethic, it is a character requiring cultivation. And it is strongest when grounded in personal faith and integrity … illuminated by hard-learned lessons from history and experience … inspired by worthy human exemplars … propelled by the optimistic pursuit of a “more perfect union” … and kindled in a culture of mutual respect and forbearance guided by the “Golden Rule.”

No starry-eyed idealist, Frank Atkinson’s major nonfiction works – The Dynamic Dominion and Virginia in the Vanguard – turned a candid lens on the hard-fought modern politics of his native state. In The Lion’s Den, he offers a compelling fictional account of life in the political arena – at once a venue for selfless contribution and palace of selfish ambition. Inspired by timeless lessons from the Book of Daniel, Madison’s vision of competition and compromise, and the colorful politics of his contemporary Commonwealth, Atkinson places his characters in a modern-day lion’s den where they grapple with vexing moral and practical choices. But Atkinson’s players find the grace to come together … and, he suggests, so can we.

A Return to Normalcy? The 2020 Election That (Almost) Broke America

Up close, Inauguration Day 2021 looked like any other—the chief justice of the US Supreme Court administering the oath of office to the new president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. But pull the lens back and this was anything but a typical election and transition of power. In A Return to Normalcy?, Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and J. Miles Coleman bring together respected journalists, analysts, and scholars to examine every facet of the stunning 2020 election and its aftermath, and how these events will impact American politics moving forward. In frank, accessible prose, each author offers insight that goes beyond the headlines and dives into the underlying forces and shifts that drove the election from its earliest developments to its chaotic conclusion. A Return to Normalcy? is an indispensable read for political junkies and all students of American politics.

Fighting Political Gridlock: How States Shape Our Nation and Our Lives

In this profoundly polarized era, the nation has been transfixed on the politics of Washington and its seemingly impenetrable gridlock. Many of the decisions that truly affect people’s lives, however, are being made not on the federal level but in the states. Faced with Washington’s political standoff, state governments are taking action on numerous vital issues, often impacting citizens and their communities far more than the decision makers in D.C. Despite this, few Americans really understand their state governments or the issues they address. In Fighting Political Gridlock, David Toscano reveals how the states are working around the impasse in Washington and how their work is increasingly shaping society.

Long a central figure in one of the most important legislative bodies in the nation, the Virginia House of Delegates, Toscano brings a unique expertise to this urgent and timely discussion. Beginning with an analysis of state responses to COVID-19, including the processes and consequences of declaring states of emergency, he goes on to detail how various states are attacking issues in different ways–from education and voting to criminal justice and climate change–and provides a broad overview of how state actions affect our system of federalism. Toscano concludes with a call to action and civic engagement, including suggestions for how citizens and public officials can revitalize American democracy.

The Blue Wave: The 2018 Midterms and What They Mean for the 2020 Elections

Early results on election night suggested that Democrats had failed to make significant gains in the 2018 midterms. After all the votes were counted, a blue wave crashed on American electoral politics as Democrats won the House the Representatives and made significant gains at the state and local levels.

In this book, Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik bring together respected journalists and academics from across the political spectrum to examine every facet of the 2018 election, and what its outcome portends for our national politics and the coming 2020 presidential election. In frank, accessible prose, each author offers insight that goes beyond the headlines, and dives into the underlying forces and shifts that drove the election from its earliest developments to its eventual conclusion, long after the polls closed.

Contributions by Alan I. Abramowitz, Matt Barreto, David Byler, Rhodes Cook, James Hohmann, Theodore Johnson, Kyle Kondik, Albert Morales, Diana Owen, Madelaine Pisani, Joshua T. Putnam, Larry Sabato, Gary Segura, Emily C. Singer, Sean Trende, Michael Toner, and Karen Trainer.

Trumped: The 2016 Election That Broke All The Rules

In 2016, Donald Trump broke almost all the rules of politics to win the Republican nomination and, even more improbably, to edge out heavily favored Hillary Clinton in one of the great upsets in presidential campaign history. In Trumped: The 2016 Election That Broke All the Rules, Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley, leading experts in American politics, bring together respected journalists, analysts, and scholars to examine every facet of the stunning 2016 election and what its improbable outcome will mean for the nation moving forward under a Trump administration. In frank, accessible prose, each author offers insight that goes beyond the headlines and dives into the underlying forces and shifts that drove the election from its earliest developments to its dramatic conclusion as one of the greatest upsets in presidential campaign history. Trumped will be an indispensable read for political junkies and all students of American politics. Contributions by Alan Abramowitz, Matt Barreto, David Byler, Anthony Cilluffo, Rhodes Cook, Robert Costa, Ariel Edwards-Levy, Natalie Jackson, Kyle Kondik, Susan MacManus, Diana Owen, Ron Rapoport, Larry Sabato, Greg Sargent, Tom Schaller, Gary Segura, Geoffrey Skelley, Walter Stone, Michael Toner, Karen Trainer, Sean Trende, and Janie Valencia.

The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago—yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato—himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency—explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.

A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn’t died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK’s assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public’s view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK’s presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions—often in surprising ways—of every president since.

Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK’s short presidency has had on our national psyche.

The Kennedy Half Century is available at the University of Virginia Bookstore. Sales of the book directly benefit the Center for Politics.

Barack Obama and the New America

Larry Sabato, one of the leading experts in American politics, has brought together respected journalists and academics from across the political spectrum to examine every facet of the 2012 election, and what its development and outcome will mean for the nation moving forward. In frank, accessible prose, each author offers insight that goes beyond the headlines, and dives into the underlying forces and shifts that drove the election from its earliest developments to its dramatic conclusion.

Contributing authors joining Larry Sabato with chapters in the book include:

  • Professor Alan Abramowitz of Emory University
  • Professor Diana Owen of Georgetown University
  • Jamelle Bouie of American Prospect
  • Professor James Campbell of SUNY-Buffalo
  • Political writers and commentators Kyle Kondik and Geoff Skelley of the U.Va. Center for Politics
  • Michael Toner, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission
  • Nate Cohn of The New Republic
  • Rhodes Cook, formerly of Congressional Quarterly
  • Robert Costa of National Review
  • Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics
  • Professor Susan MacManus of the University of South Florida 

Following Sabato’s introductory analysis, the contributors provide a comprehensive review of everything in play during the 2012 elections, including the controversial roles that unprecedented amounts of money and media played in deciding who would occupy the Oval Office as well as pivotal seats in Congress. They also explore the nominating processes, conventions, and futures of both the Democratic and Republican parties, and what recent geographic and demographic electoral realignments might mean for America’s politics beyond 2012.

Pendulum Swing

Professor Larry J. Sabato’s brand-new book, Pendulum Swing, is a look back at the exciting, record-breaking 2010 midterm elections. Published in January, the book explores each factor which led to the Republican wave last November. Tackling topics such as the Tea Party, health care, the economy, and each party’s political strategies, Pendulum Swing is a must-read for those seeking to truly understand the current situation in American politics and separate political myth from reality.

Pendulum Swing draws upon the collective wisdom of the nation’s top political analysts, journalists, and academics to analyze every aspect of this most recent glimpse into the political mood of the country. Chapters focus on the 2010 battle over the Senate, House, and governorships and dissect topics such as campaign finance and the media’s role in the election. In addition to an overview of the electoral climate, local experts offer their perspectives on the most high-profile races of the year, from Senator Harry Reid’s surprising victory in Nevada to contests featuring Tea Party candidates in Delaware, Kentucky, and elsewhere.

Contributing authors include:

  • Dr. Alan Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University and senior columnist for Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball”
  • Rhodes Cook, Editor of the Rhodes Cook Letter and senior columnist for Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball”
  • Dr. Thad Beyle, Thomas J. Pearsall Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina
  • Isaac Wood, Director of Communications at U.Va.’s Center for Politics and Editor of the “Crystal Ball”
  • Dr. Michael Cornfield, The Michael Cornfield Company; Adjunct Professor of Political Management, The George Washington and George Mason University
  • Michael Toner, Former Chairman of the FEC; currently Head of the Election Law and Government Ethics Practice at Bryan Cave LLP
  • Dr. Diana Owen, Associate Professor of Communication, Culture, and Technology at Georgetown University
  • Dr. Jack Pitney, Crocker Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College
  • Dr. Seth Masket, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Denver
  • Dr. Sam Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Delaware State University
  • Dr. Susan MacManus, Distinguished Professor of Government and Int’l Affairs at the University of South Florida
  • Dr. Paul Green, Arthur Rubloff Professor of Policy Studies at Roosevelt University
  • Brian Howey, Editor of Howey Politics Indiana
  • Dr. Caroline Tolbert, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa
  • with assistance from: Amanda Keller, graduate student at Univ. of Iowa
  • Dr. Laurie Rhodebeck, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville
  • Dr. Paul Herrnson, Director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship; and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland College Park
  • Dr. Thomas Schaller, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Dr. Agnes Bain, Professor of Government at Suffolk University
  • Dr. Michael Traugott, Professor of Communication Studies; and Research Professor at the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan
  • Jo Mannies, Senior political reporter at the St. Louis Beacon
  • Jon Ralston, Political columnist at the Las Vegas Sun and host of the TV program “Face to Face with Jon Ralston”
  • Dr. Dante Scala, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire
  • Dr. Jeffrey Stonecash, Maxwell Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University
  • Jonathan Riskind, Washington Bureau Chief of the Columbus Dispatch
  • Joe Hallett, Senior Editor of the Columbus Dispatch
  • Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs; and Professor of Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College
  • Steve Peoples, Former political reporter for the Providence Journal; now National Political Reporter for Roll Call
  • John O’Connor, Political columnist at The State newspaper
  • Jay Root, Political reporter at the Associated Press

The Year of Obama
How Barack Obama Won the White House

The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House. This book explores the unexpected and historic rise of Barack Obama—from the early primaries to the convention to the days after the election—and how a relatively unknown junior senator ran an unprecedented campaign to win the presidency.

In The Year of Obama, some of the nation’s most respected journalists, academics, and policy experts come together to examine every facet of the electoral process, with chapters on topics ranging from campaign finance reform to the politics of race and gender. With frank, accessible prose, the authors offer their insights on the issues that propelled one of the most exciting election seasons in recent history.

Contributing authors include:

  • Larry Sabato
  • Rhodes Cook
  • Alan Abramowitz
  • Michael Toner
  • Diana Owen
  • Michael Cornfield
  • Susan MacManus
  • Justin Sizemore
  • Jeff Gulati
  • Alex Theodoridis
  • Bruce Larson

A More Perfect Constitution
23 Proposals to Revitalize our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country

More and more, we are aware of the growing dysfunction and unfairness of our political system. Larry Sabato persuasively argues that part of the problem lies in the Constitution. For all its unquestioned genius, some of the document’s important provisions are now outmoded, having been framed for a much smaller, less complex nation. Until they are reformed, the dysfunction and unfairness that have crept into our politics will remain. However radical that may seem, the original framers themselves fully expected the Constitution to be regularly revised to reflect the country’s changing needs; yet, apart from the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended seventeen times in 220 years.

“I AM ASKING READERS TO SET ASIDE POLITICAL LOYALTIES, look past ‘values’ debates and hot-button issues, to consider this very real possibility: that the failure of the nation to update the Constitution and the structure of government it originally bequeathed to us is at the root of our current political dysfunction.”

-Larry J. Sabato

A More Perfect Constitution presents twenty-three creative and dynamic proposals to reinvigorate American governance. Combining idealism and pragmatism, Sabato’s thought-provoking ideas range from the structure of Congress and length of the president’s term to the number and terms of Supreme Court justices, imperfections in the Electoral College, and an inspiring call for universal national service. But just as compelling as the ideas themselves is Sabato’s explication of how our system actually works, lifting the cover to reveal all the gears and levers of government in action–a fascinating lesson in civics that should engage Americans everywhere.

Health Care Half Truths
Too Many Myths, Not Enough Reality

Are you fed up with hearing that the American health care “system” is broken? Well, being exasperated about it doesn’t change the reality! The system is terminal: your bills that cannot be understood–or paid; your 8-minute doctor visit, with the chronic referrals; your own child who was just laid off, and whose family has no health insurance. These are all symptoms of a dire situation. Our health care system should not be fixed by those in smoked-filled backrooms or the boardrooms of insurance conglomerates. Each of us, in our own way, must be inspired to work on it–whether directly as practitioners or indirectly as voters–or our healthcare system, and by extension, our own health will continue to deteriorate.

Health Care Half Truths diagnoses the health care crisis, addresses and debunks 20 commonly held perceptions, and delivers a system that meets the needs of patients, physicians, and politicians.

Arthur Garson, Jr., MD, MPH, is Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President of the University of Virginia. In 1999-2000, he served as President of the American College of Cardiology. In 2002, he was asked to join the Institute of Medicine panel on Rapid Advances in Health Care. In 2003, he was appointed by Health and Humans Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to chair the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He currently chairs the Virginia Health Reform Commission’s Subcommittee on Healthcare Workforce and has recently co-chaired, with the Lt. Governor, a Subcommittee on Health Insurance Reform for small business. He continues to practice medicine, caring for children with heart disease. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Carolyn L. Engelhard, MPA, is an Assistant Professor of Medical Education and a Health Policy Analyst in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. In addition, she directs the Master of Science program in Clinical Research in the Department of Public Health Sciences and provides technical and consultative services to state Health and Medicaid agencies. She lives in Crozet, Virginia.

The Sixth Year Itch
The Rise and Fall of the George W. Bush Presidency

This exciting new book by political scholar and commentator Larry J. Sabato helps students, voters and citizens understand the issues and actions that mattered most in the 2006 midterm elections and previews the 2008 presidential race.

The Sixth Year Itch contains original chapters by Sabato, one of the most recognizable experts and commentators on elections in the U.S., as well as contributed chapters by prominent journalists and scholars who are on the political frontlines. Each essay offers trenchant commentary and unique insights into the campaigns, the issues and the strategies of parties and candidates, preparing readers to be informed participants in the next election.

Get in the Booth!
A Citizen’s Guide to the 2006 Midterm Elections

With original chapters by Larry J. Sabato, prominent political journalists, and distinguished election scholars, this timely and accessible new book offers insightful, up-to-date analyses of the issues dominating the 2006 midterm elections–while the election is still ongoing! The book and its website companion will offer updated analyses of the key factors behind the 2006 elections, such as national security, the war in Iraq, ethics and scandal problems, immigration, and more. This brief, trade-like text contains original chapters by Professor Sabato and prominent journalists and scholars who are closest to the action.

The book also comes with a free access code to a soon-to-be-activated website that will be updated weekly by Professor Sabato and the book’s contributors–keeping readers abreast of the most important developments right through Election Day!

Virginia in the Vanguard
Political Leadership in the 400-Year-Old Cradle of American Democracy, 1981-2006

Virginia in the Vanguard continues the story, begun in The Dynamic Dominion (see below), of Virginia’s reemergence as a competitive, trend-setting state. In the 1980s, with Reagan’s revolution underway in Washington, Democrats led by Chuck Robb and Doug Wilder–the nation’s only African American elected governor–reclaimed the governor’s mansion and focused attention on a centrist formula as a prescription for Democratic renewal nationally.

In the 1990s, hard-charging Republican George Allen reversed the party’s fortunes and propelled the GOP toward control of the state’s legislature and both U.S. Senate seats. Virginia in the Vanguard describes these and other dramatic events that have placed the 400 year-old cradle of democracy back in the forefront of American politics and produced two dynamic leaders–Republican Senator George Allen and former Democratic Governor Mark Warner–widely touted as presidential timber.

The Dynamic Dominion
Realignment and the Rise of Two-Party Competition in Virginia, 1945-1980

The Dynamic Dominion tells the dramatic story of Virginia’s political transformation from the Second World War to the Reagan Revolution. The cradle of American democracy–and thus of the democratic movement that is sweeping the globe today–the venerable Old Dominion has emerged again in the second half of the 20th century as a dynamic political pace setter for the nation.

As told in The Dynamic Dominion, the Virginia story contains all the excitement, drama, conflict, and intrigue of a fast-paced thriller. It is a story of triumph and tragedy, celebrities and statesmen, heroes and scoundrels–of shifting party loyalties and makeshift coalitions, hard-fought campaigns and razor-close elections–of ambition and cynicism alongside sacrifice and idealism. Best of all, the tale is true. It is the fascinating story of contemporary democracy flourishing in Virginia…the place where it was born.

Encyclopedia Of American Political Parties And Elections

This new volume contains all the material a reader needs to understand the American election process and its political parties. This complete A-to-Z reference guide covers the people, events, and terms involved in the electoral process. It also provides the history of elections in the United States, focusing primarily on the presidential elections. Appendix material includes the results for every presidential election.

Entries include:

  • Absentee voting
  • Red/Blue states
  • Campaign ethics
  • Dark horse candidate
  • Dirty campaign tricks
  • Election fraud
  • Electoral College
  • Fundraising
  • Internet voting
  • Recall
  • Super Tuesday
  • Voter turnout
  • Wedge issues
  • And many more!

Divided States of America
The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election

A follow-up to his best-selling Get in the Booth! A Citizen’s Guide to the 2004 Election, this new book looks back at the 2004 campaigns and election and offers fresh analyses and trenchant commentary by Larry J. Sabato and a team of top election scholars and journalists. An invaluable resource for anyone already looking ahead to the elections of 2006 and 2008, Divided States of America breaks down the 2004 races and provides a jumping off point for future contests.

The latest publication from Larry J. Sabato and the University of Virginia Center for Politics offers exciting commentaries and analyses on the divisive 2004 election from the scholars and journalists who were closest to it. From the rise and fall of Howard Dean to the “Bush Mandate,” and from the impact of campaign finance laws to the role of religion, this book offers insights on an array of the most significant events and issues that dominated the most intense and important election in recent memory.

“Want to know why Bush won and Kerry lost in 2004? Then read Larry Sabato’s book. It’s the best analysis of that bitter election in print.”

-Bill O’Reilly, Anchor – Fox News Channel

“At Little Bighorn, General Custer was heard to say, ‘Where did all those Indians come from?’ On Election Night 2004 I asked, ‘Where did all those Republicans come from?’ Larry Sabato has collected some of the smartest observers of the scene to give us the answer. This book tells us the what, why, where and how of one of the most consequential elections of our time.”

-Paul Begala, Political Analyst – CNN

Freedom is Not Enough
Black Voters, Black Candidates, and American Presidential Politics

Black voters can make or break a presidential election, and American presidential politics can’t get along without the Black vote. It all goes back to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which formally gave African Americans the right to vote, even if after all these years that right is continuously contested. In Freedom Is Not Enough, Ron Walters traces the history of the Black vote since 1965, celebrates its fortieth anniversary in 2005, and shows why passing a law is not the same as ensuring its enforcement, legitimacy and opportunity.

Ronald W. Walters is professor of government and politics and director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park. He is a well-known national political analyst and has authored many books on African American politics. Ron Walters appears frequently on major broadcast media , as well as in national newspapers and other outlets, and was a featured commentator throughout the 2004 election season.

Attack the Messenger
How Politicians Turn You Against the Media

Politicians and the media are natural enemies, but in recent times, the relationship has exploded into all-out war. Think about bimbo eruptions, DUI arrests, cocaine parties, National Guard service records, Swift Boat veterans. When politicians turn the public against the media, everyone loses-especially unbiased and courageous news reporting. When traditional reporters and media are displaced, the pundits and alternative media take over. These media, however, are a different breed, as Crawford points out-they serve a purpose, but at a cost. If the press is not believed-or believable-because politicians have turned the public against it, then the press is not free, but under the thumbs of politicians. Without a free press, there is no democracy.

Craig Crawford is one of Washington, DC’s most popular pundits. A White House columnist for Congressional Quarterly, his wit and wisdom are featured almost daily on national television and radio programs. Before joining Congressional Quarterly, Crawford ran The Hotline, an online news digest that is an institution inside the Beltway and out. Before coming to Washington, Crawford practiced law in Florida and was a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel. He also once ran for a state legislative seat in Orlando, so he has seen both sides of the story he tells here.

Get in the Booth!
A Citizen’s Guide to the 2004 Election

With original chapters by Larry J. Sabato, prominent political journalists, and distinguished election scholars, this timely and accessible new book offers insightful, up-to-date analyses of the issues dominating the 2004 presidential election–while the election is still ongoing! The book contains chapters devoted to critical issues, such as national security, the economy, health care, and education, as well as coverage that gives practical guidance and motivation to citizens and students especially on voting and getting involved.

The book also comes with a free access code to, a website that will be updated weekly by Professor Sabato and the book’s contributors–keeping readers abreast of the most important developments right through Election Day!

Midterm Madness: The Elections of 2002

Comprehensive analysis of 20 key races and insightful commentary by some of the country’s top political scholars and journalists.

Chesapeake Bay Blues

The Chesapeake Bay restoration effort has been touted as the nation’s premier environmental restoration program. Yet the Bay and the living systems it supports remain in dismally poor condition, with fisheries in decline and drinking water in danger. This book addresses the Chesapeake Bay as a political problem and reveals how the political process has worked against the interests of science, the public, and environmental advocates all at once. Author Howard Ernst shows that the forces driving environmental degradation are sown deeply into the political soul of America, posing menacing challenges to those fighting to restore large ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay. The book, which is the first in the Center for Politics’ American Political Challenges series with Rowman and Littlefield, serves as a political roadmap for the future, suggesting how a different course of policy action is needed to “Save the Bay.”

The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War

Why, in America’s times of peril and crisis, have our leaders suggested themes of self-fulfillment and hedonism? Why is it that after September 11, 2001 Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush asked their fellow Americans to shop, attend the theater or a baseball game? After digging around in the National Archives, presidential libraries, and interviewing numerous presidents, National Journal White House correspondent Carl Cannon realized that invoking Jefferson’s language in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is something national leaders commonly do in times of great national unrest–and that Americans listen. Our response? To serve a cause greater than ourselves, to work for the expansion of our “unalienable rights” to people who don’t yet have them.

The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., December 2003) traces this extension of human rights starting in colonial times and tracks its progress over 225 years of American history–from African slaves, to women, to immigrants, to Japanese and Germans, to racial minorities, to children, to the handicapped, to gays, and to Afghan women and Iraqi Kurds. Cannon notes that sometimes, as at Gettysburg and Normandy, even Baghdad, this expansion is accomplished with the use of American force. Other times, as at Seneca Falls, N.Y. in 1852 or the Washington Mall in August of 1963, this expansion of “unalienable rights” comes when suffragists or civil rights activists change the landscape with words, votes and peaceful resistance.

The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us?

The sprawling nominating process is the critical first step every four years in the election of the president. It is where the field of contenders is narrowed from a plethora of aspirants to the two finalists that carry the banners of the Democratic and Republican parties into the fall campaign.

In a democracy such as ours, the voters should be major players in this process. Yet while 100 million or more Americans regularly participate in the election of the president, rarely does more than a third that number vote in the presidential primaries and caucuses that nominate the candidates. And only a small percentage of these voters have a truly meaningful voice–the fortunate few in Iowa, New Hampshire and a handful of other early voting states that for all practical purposes decide for the rest of the nation who the nominees will be.

The thrust of The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003) is to discuss how we as a nation got to this point, how the nominating process currently works, how that compares to other countries, and how our process might be changed to give a more meaningful voice to a much larger number of voters. The author, Rhodes Cook, is an authority on elections and has written about them for 25 years in various contexts including Congressional Quarterly’s America Votes and his own newsletter, The Rhodes Cook Letter.

Overtime! The Election 2000 Thriller

With never-before-published stories, commentaries, and interviews by the key insiders and frontline witnesses to history in the making, Overtime! The Election 2000 Thriller offers readers stunning insights, revealing analyses, and unique perspectives on the 2000 Presidential election.

Edited by Larry J. Sabato, one of the foremost political science scholars and political commentators today, this book brings together accounts by journalists, academics, and campaigners for a distinctive and balanced view of the election that continued long after the clock had run out.

The Party’s Just Begun: Shaping Political Parties for America’s Future

This long-awaited revision of Larry Sabato’s classic work builds on the premise that the American party system is useful, and considers how we might further strengthen our political parties. With new co-author Bruce Larson, The Party’s Just Begun, Second Edition, is based on original research and has been brought completely up-to-date with all new data and substantially revised analyses.

New to the Second Edition:

  • Analysis of the roles the parties played in the 2000 Election.
  • Analysis of the Reform Party and its candidates, including Jesse Ventura and Ross Perot.
  • New Polling Data from John McLaughlin and Associates.
  • Analysis of the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.
  • Discussion of campaign finance laws and reform efforts.
  • New discussion of the effects of debacles like the impeachment of President Clinton on the public’s opinion of the parties.

Feeding Frenzy: Attack Journalism & American Politics

From pack journalism, private versus public life, rumor and truth, to character issue, access, looking the other way, media bias, watchdog journalism, and competition, Larry Sabato reveals the origins, patterns, and consequences of “feeding frenzies” — the relentless attacks on politicians by the media.

Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal (website)

Peepshow looks behind the scenes at news coverage of political scandals, analyzing what gets reported, what doesn’t, and why. The authors talk with top news editors to get a fix on what will make the evening news and what we’re likely to read about during campaign seasons.

Dangerous Democracy’ The Battle over Ballot Initiatives in America

Direct democracy is alive and growing in the form of statewide ballot initiatives. Currently, twenty-four states allow individuals and groups to propose laws for direct voter consideration and tens of millions of dollars flow into the initiative industrial complex each election cycle. This book assesses the health of the initiative process through the insights of the leading initiative scholars, top journalists, and important political consultants from across the country. The book provides a critical and balanced look into a political mechanism that is having a profound influence on American politics.

Dirty Little Secrets : The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics

The most disturbing trend in American public life today is found in the answers to a poll question asked regularly by the Roper organization: Do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right most of the time’ In 1964, 76 percent of Americans polled answered yes. Today, that number has plunged to an abysmal 19 percent.

As trust in government declines, the nastiness of national politics rises, with the rewards going not to those who appeal to the best in Americans, but to those who are best able to exploit the cynicism and distrust. Clearly, something must be done. But what?

In Dirty Little Secrets, Larry Sabato and Glenn Simpson suggest a place to begin: the reform of the political system. Their book provides a catalog of the corruption prevalent in modern American politics. It is different from the sort of corruption that prevailed half a century ago. Big-city bosses and bagmen making payoffs are gone. But in their place is a new and toxic combination of technology and money that may undermine the system–and confidence in the system–even more. The tale that Sabato and Simpson have to tell is eye-opening; it is also deeply disturbing.

The result is a powerful, pathbreaking book that should become must reading for anyone trying to understand American politics.

American Government: Continuity and Change, 2000 Edition, Hardcover

This book covers all topics such as the Constitution, federalism, civil rights, civil liberties, political behavior, and public policy in a way that is rich in historical and comparative perspectives. It explores issues that the original Framers of the Constitution could never have envisioned and shows how the basic institutions of our government have responded to these new demands. Each chapter begins with a vignette focusing on a high-interest real issue or incident, followed by a bridge paragraph linking the vignette with the chapter’s topics.

Toward the Millennium: The Elections of 1996

From leading journalists and academicians, this is the first comprehensive, insightful, and timely review of the 1996 elections, both at the state and federal level. Contributors include: Ken Bode, moderator, Washington Week in Review; Richard Cohn, National Journals, Brooks Jackson, Newsweek; and several leading scholars. This essential reference describes the events leading up to the 1996 elections and provides a context and perspective in which to place them. There is also comprehensive coverage of the impact of the media and of campaign financing. Predictions for the next four years make this an invaluable tool to anyone interested in the political arenas.

When Should the Watchdogs Bark?

The result of numerous interviews and extensive analysis of mainstream news coverage, in both print and on television, “When Should the Watchdogs Bark’” offers compelling explanations for the behavior of the news media during these three scandals. Lichter and Sabato argue that the mainstream media was more willing to pursue the Whitewater story because of its resemblance to more traditionally reported upon forms of political corruption.

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