Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election
When students, historians and politics junkies look back on the 2004 election, this fact-filled volume will make a reliable source. Elections pundit Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, assembles 14 chapters authored by academics, officials and commentators, including political guru Chuck Todd, William Saletan of Slate.com, and Michael Toner of the Federal Election Commission. Each chapter covers one aspect of last year's race, from the rise and fall of Howard Dean in the primaries to the impact of campaign finance regulations, internet activists and religious voters. Saletan's chapter covers U.S. House and Senate elections, focusing on the Republicans' southern sweep. By far the meatiest segment, Sabato assesses Democrats' ""ray of hope"" in the youth vote and explains why ""the GOP is on top of the political system for now."" Michael Cornfield explains why and how the Republicans used the Internet more effectively; four Harvard academics conclude that the President's improved tally ""did not come mainly from intensely religious voters."" Consciously striving for balance, the chapters contradict one another on key issues, such as whether the election was a long-term conservative lock-in, or rather a one-time, wartime win. As much a sourcebook for college courses as a volume designed for casual readers, Sabato's compilation offers little new to those who closely followed the election; his trove of data may, however, offer politics junkies something.