Everything You Think You Know about Politics-- and Why You're Wrong

Everything You Think You Know about Politics-- and Why You're Wrong

Everything You Think You Know about Politics-- and Why You're Wrong

Everything You Think You Know about Politics-- and Why You're Wrong

Synopsis

Addressing America's manipulation by the political process, the author surveys the existing public record on voting patterns, campaign promises, and all manner of electioneering to come up with this engaging mix of analysis, factoids, and cartoons about politics.

Excerpt

The first edition of Everything You Think You Know About Politics and Why You're Wrong appeared in bookstores in July, 2000. in the following months, the questions it raised gained salience and the answers it provided were put to the test. the book's forecast that ads would increasingly make a case for the sponsor and against an opponent in the same ad, a form we labeled "contrast," proved accurate, as did the notion that attack ads would increasingly be sponsored not by presidential candidates but by the political parties. As we envisioned, the amount spent on issue advocacy rose to an all-time high in 2000, more than doubling the amount spent in the last two election cycles. And, importantly, the notion that campaigns matter and hence that an election is not simply a referendum on the economy was resoundingly confirmed. How else can one explain that in a period of unprecedented prosperity, with record numbers of new jobs, low inflation, and a healthy stock market, the contest between an incumbent vice president and a governor from a large state was decided not on election night but in a recount process?

The general election of 2000 also raised questions untreated in the first edition. Although there was ample confirmation throughout summer and fall that the candidate presumed to be ahead in the polls enjoyed an advantage in news coverage, as chapter 24 predicts, the first edition did not envision such questions as:

Do the media hold both major party candidates to the same standards of accuracy and truth-telling?

And,

When the networks incorrectly call a key electoral state (Florida) for one candidate, does the nature of the media commentary that follows and the fact of the call itself affect the turnout of those who have not yet voted? in an election in which a third party candidate (Green Party's Ralph Nader) is presumed to draw more heavily from one candidate (Gore) than the other (Bush), will votes on the West Coast shift toward the Democratic nominee?

Answers to these questions will have to await additional research.

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