Just in time for the political season, we've released new books that examine four important issues in American politics today.
1. Does style matter more than substance in politics?
It’s a common complaint that a presidential candidate's style matters more than substance and that the issues have been eclipsed by mass-media-fueled obsession with a candidate’s every slip, gaffe, and peccadillo. In Creatures of Politics, the authors Michael Lempert and Michael Silverstein explore political communication—debates, ads, interviews, speeches, and talk shows—in American presidential politics, focusing on "message"—not simply an individual’s positions on the issues, but the craft used to fashion the candidate-creature the public sees.
2. Should we keep the filibuster?
Authors Richard A. Arenberg and Robert B. Dove passionately argue that yes, we must preserve the filibuster, which they call the "soul of the senate." Their new book Defending the Filibuster contends that the filibuster protects the rights of the minority in American politics, assures stability and deliberation in government, and helps to preserve constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers.
Passed in 1965 during the height of the Civil Rights movement, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) changed the face of the American electorate, dramatically increasing minority voting, especially in the South. Daniel McCool's book The Most Fundamental Right is an effort to understand the debate over the Act and its role in contemporary American democracy.
4. Is America a post-racial society?
Two new books dispute the claim that America has become a post-racial society since the historic election of the first African-American president. In Nation of Cowards, David H. Ikard and Martell Lee Teasley propose that Americans need to talk more about race, and that such a conversation can take place only with passionate and organized pressure from black Americans. They argue that neither Obama nor any political figure is likely to be in the forefront of addressing issues of racial inequality and injustice.
IU Press podcast
Renowned social justice advocate john a. powell persuasively argues in Racing for Justice that we have not achieved a post-racial society and that there is much work to do to redeem the American promise of inclusive democracy. He challenges us to replace attitudes and institutions that promote and perpetuate social suffering with those that foster relationships and a way of being that transcends disconnection and separation.