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Primary Elections in the United States

$34.99 (P)

  • Publication planned for: October 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107440159

$ 34.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The direct primary stands as one of the most significant and distinctive political reforms of the Progressive era in American history. In this book, the authors provide the most comprehensive treatment available on the topic and utilize new data on election outcomes, candidate backgrounds, incumbent performance and behavior, newspaper endorsements, and voters' preferences. They begin by studying whether primary elections have achieved the goals set by progressive reformers when they were first introduced over a century ago. They then evaluate the key roles these elections have played in the US electoral systems, such as injecting electoral competition into the regions that are dominated by one of the two major parties, helping select relatively qualified candidates for office, and, in some cases, holding incumbents accountable for their performance. They conclude with studying the degree to which primaries are responsible for the current, highly polarized environment. Anyone interested in US primary elections, US political history, or electoral institutions more generally should read this book.

    • Provides a comprehensive examination of the role of primaries in the US electoral process for those interested in US political history, current US politics, elections in general, and political institutions more broadly
    • Covers over 100 years of history, including both the modern era as well as when primaries were first introduced in order to place the current political environment in historical context
    • Uses new data collected by the authors to provide evidence that primaries help the electoral process select relatively qualified officials and hold them accountable
    • Presents information and findings not available in any other book, which sheds new light on how representative democracies function
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a wonderful, definitive study of American party primaries at the state and district level, going back a century. All the usual wrinkles are convincingly addressed - origins, history, competition, turnout, factions, candidate quality, polarization, reform options, and more. For all its messiness, the authors conclude, the system seems to work reasonably well.' David R. Mayhew, Sterling Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Yale University, Connecticut

    'Hirano and Snyder’s Primary Elections in the United States presents the most comprehensive, theoretically informed, and empirically rich analysis of the origins and consequences of primary elections yet attempted. It is a fundamental contribution to the literature on American party politics and will be the go-to source for anyone interested in learning how primaries have affected representation in the US.' Gary Jacobson, University of California, San Diego

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107440159
    • length: 358 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 95 b/w illus.
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. More democracy
    2. One-party dominance, 1880 to 1950
    3. Introduction of primaries and electoral competition, 1892 to 1950
    4. Primaries and party loyalty
    5. Primaries and the qualifications of nominees
    6. Voting behavior and primary elections, 1892 to 1950
    7. Primaries in a changing electoral environment, 1950 to 2016
    8. Primaries and candidate selection in the modern era
    9. Voting behavior and primary elections, 1950 to 2016
    10. Primaries and accountability in the modern era
    11. Primaries and polarization
    12. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Shigeo Hirano, Columbia University, New York
    Shigeo Hirano is an associate professor in the Political Science Department at Columbia University, New York. He has published in the leading political science journals. He was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, the Yale University Center for the Study of American Politics, and the Princeton University Center for the Study of Democratic Politics.

    James M. Snyder, Jr, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    James M. Snyder, Jr is Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science in the Government Department at Harvard University, Massachusetts, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has published more than 100 scholarly articles, many appearing in the leading political science and economics journals.

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