The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans

Mickey Edwards. Yale Univ., $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-300-18456-3
Frustration with bipartisan politics is given lucid voice and direction in former congressman Edwards’s (Reclaiming Conservatism) latest: an examination of how the nation can move past party affiliation in order to move forward. The electoral system has changed, Edwards argues, into a self-perpetuating political machine with “permanent factions whose primary focus is on gaining and retaining political power.” Moving toward something more representative of a community’s beliefs would allow legislators to think outside of party affiliation and grapple with the issues individually. In a nation where an increasing number of voters register as independent, and many citizens feel misrepresented by both parties, this is a wise choice. In 10 steps, Edwards illustrates how the government can release partisanship’s political chokehold on the system. Edwards’s suggestions include ensuring that elected officials don’t sign special interest pledges to gain party support before to election; changing the seating arrangement in the Senate and eliminating the aisle separating Democrats from Republicans in both Houses; and arranging bipartisan retreats to ensure cross pollination between party members. The book provides compelling hope for reform. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-300-19821-8
Ebook - 233 pages - 978-0-300-18602-4
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