The 21st-Century Voter: Who Votes, How They Vote, and Why They Vote

By Deutsch, Anne C. | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

The 21st-Century Voter: Who Votes, How They Vote, and Why They Vote


Deutsch, Anne C., Reference & User Services Quarterly


The 21st-Century Voter: Who Votes, How They Vote, and Why They Vote. Edited by Guido H. Stempell III and Thomas K. Hargrove. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2016. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN 978-1-61069-227-4). E-book available (978-1-61069-228-1), call for pricing.

The title of this two volume set suggests that the focus is on voters: their demographics, voting preferences, and motivations. However, the editors state "the aim ... is to assemble many of the key concepts and issues that drive 21st century politics," (xiii) a far more sweeping goal and one more difficult to attain. While not stated explicitly here or elsewhere, the entries that are related to voting focus on United States presidential and congressional elections. Taken as a whole, this work is a collection of loosely related entries, many of which don't state a connection to voters or voting.

The introductory essays do address the who, how, and why of voters in the United States, albeit briefly. A fourth essay on media and campaigns suggests an unstated fourth theme. A quick review first twenty-seven entries (As and Bs) brings to light the lack of connection between content and title. Examples include entries on abortion, affirmative action, antiestablishment rhetoric, balanced budgets, Robert H. Bork, and the Bush doctrine. Of these six entries, only one references voting. The theme of the media, sometimes as it relates to politics, emerges quite clearly. Examples of such entries include Roger Ailes, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Peter Arnett, and David Brinkley. Entries that directly address voters are of roughly equal length as entries that do not. …

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