WINTER 2013 PS 269.


John Zaller

This class offers a broad treatment of the influence of public opinion on what government does. The word commonly used to describe this subject is democracy. In a real sense the question we will ask is: “How does democracy work in the United States?” A broad answer to the question is suggested by the title of a book we will read, The SemiSovereign People. Without doubt, public opinion influences what government does, but the path of influence is anything but straightforward. And public opinion is scarcely the only influence on government action. About half of the class will be concerned general ideas, such as the nature of public opinion, its organization in political parties, and its expression in elections. The other half will examine the influence of opinion in five particular domains: Foreign policy, tax policy, abortion, civil rights, and social welfare. The materials of the class come from American politics, but I believe they are relevant, more or less, to the operation of democracy in any economically developed country. The class will not assume that students are specialists in American politics or know any of its literature. It will, however, assume an ability to understand statistical analysis of quantitative data. Students are asked to write a 2-3 page paper on each week’s readings and email it to me by noon on the Tuesday before our Wednesday meetings. I will read and comment on papers in a timely manner, though not always by the start of Wednesday class. In addition, there will be a 24-hour take-home final exam on the course material I assume that students will purchase the books listed below; if the cost of buying the book on Amazon is exorbitant, let me know, but I would prefer not be an accessory to crime unless necessary. All other readings will be posted on the class webpage. Some of the weekly readings have been assigned in other classes; alternative readings are supplied for books that I think were assigned in other classes. Unequal Democracy. Larry Bartels. Princeton University Press. 2008 Follow the Leader? How Citizens Respond to Politicians’ Policies and Performance. Gabriel Lenz. University of Chicago Press, 2012. The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson. Oxford 2012 Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood. Kristin Luker. California. 1984. Why Americans Hate Welfare. Marty Gilens. University of Chicago. 1999 Setting the Agenda. Gary Cox and Matthew McCubbins, Cambridge 2007

” William Riker (1980) “A Theory of Political Parties: Groups. Chicago 2011. (2010) “All About Abortion: Taking Over the Party in Kansas 4th District. Party Commitment. Perspectives on Politics.III through XXXIII. Joseph Schumpeter. Recommended: “Inequality and Democratic Responsiveness. and Conflict Extension among American Party Activists.9. E. Larry Bartels.” Geoffrey Layman et al. January 23 TAX POLICY The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. and Policy Demands in American Politics. Public Opinion Quarterly (2005) Recommended: A Model of Political Identify with Application to Political Economy: Nation. E. (2008) Chapters 6 . 2012.” Kathy Bawn et al. (XXX. Princeton University Press. . Schattschneider. Chapters 3 – 7 (1984) “Party Polarization. Moses Shayo.II) (1942) Semi-Sovereign People. Socialism.” Manuscript.” Larry Bartels (2003) (No paper due) January 16 POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY AND POLITICAL PARTIES Capitalism. 240-96. p.SCHEDULE OF READINGS January 9 INTRODUCTION “Democracy with Attitudes. January 30 ABORTION Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood. and Democracy. Nominations. Marty Gilens.” Martin Gilens. American Political Science Review 2009 Alternative reading: Affluence and Influence. Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson (2012) Unequal Democracy. Kristin Luker. 2012. Class and Redistribution. Alternative reading: Why Parties? John Aldrich. 2005. 3rd Edition. (1960) “Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of Institutions.

Public Opinion. Alternative reading: The Disappearing Center.” Adam Berinsky. 2003. Studies in American Political Development 22(1):1-31. Presidents. 2012. and American Support for Military Conflict. John Mueller. pp. James Mann. Marty Gilens. (1973) “Assuming the Costs of War: Events: Elites. (2010) “First to the Party: The Interest Group Origins of Party Transformations. Gabriel Lenz. 4. 234260. Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote.” Eric Schickler. “Strategic Politicians. and Public Opinion. Yale 2010 .” Chris Baylor (2011) February 13 SOCIAL WELFARE Why Americans Hate Welfare. and the Gulf War” John Zaller (1994) Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. University of Chicago Press. 69: 975 – 997. (2008) “Congressional Parties and Civil Rights Politics from 1933 to 1972. Journal of Politics 72: 672-689.February 6 CIVIL RIGHTS Mobilizing Public Opinion. Chapters 3 -5 (2002) “Platforms and Partners: The Civil Rights Realignment Reconsidered. Chapters 3. Journal of Politics. (1999) Alberto Alesina.” Brian Feinstein and Eric Schickler. “Why Doesn’t the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (2001). February 20 FOREIGN POLICY War. (2004) February 27 FORMATION OF POLITICAL ATTITUDES Follow the Leader? How Citizens Respond to Politicians’ Policies and Performance. Taeku Lee. Kathryn Pearson and Brian Feinstein. Alan Abramowitz.

” Richard Hall and Frank Wayman (1990) “Lobbying as Legislative Subsidy.” Ezra Klein New York Review of Books. March 12. Gary Cox and Matthew McCubbins March 13 REPRESENTATION “Measuring Representation. Out of Office: Electoral Accountability and House Members’ Voting. David Brady and John Cogan (2002) “Who Do Parties Represent?” Wesley Hussey and John Zaller (2011) “Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in Congressional Committees.” Richard Hall and Alan Deardorff (2006) “Our Corrupt Politics: It’s Not All Money. 2012 .” Brandice Canes-Wrone.” Christopher Achen (1978) “Out of Step.March 6 CONGRESS Setting the Agenda.

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