A democracy falters when most of its citizens are uninformed or misinformed, when misinformation affects political decisions and actions, or when political actors foment misinformation—the state of affairs the United States faces today, as this timely book makes painfully clear. In Do Facts Matter? Jennifer L. Hochschild and Katherine Levine Einstein start with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal citizen, who knows and uses correct information to make policy or political choices. What, then, the authors ask, are the consequences if citizens are informed but do not act on their knowledge? More serious, what if they do act, but on incorrect information?
Analyzing the use, nonuse, and misuse of facts in various cases—such as the call to impeach Bill Clinton, the response to global warming, Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the case for invading Iraq, beliefs about Barack Obama’s birthplace and religion, and the Affordable Care Act—Hochschild and Einstein argue persuasively that errors of commission (that is, acting on falsehoods) are even more troublesome than errors of omission. While citizens’ inability or unwillingness to use the facts they know in their political decision making may be frustrating, their acquisition and use of incorrect “knowledge” pose a far greater threat to a democratic political system.
Do Facts Matter? looks beyond individual citizens to the role that political elites play in informing, misinforming, and encouraging or discouraging the use of accurate or mistaken information or beliefs. Hochschild and Einstein show that if a well-informed electorate remains a crucial component of a successful democracy, the deliberate concealment of political facts poses its greatest threat.
Outsiders No More? brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to consider pathways by which immigrants may be incorporated into the political processes of western democracies. At a time when immigrants are increasingly significant political actors in many democratic polities, this volume makes a timely and valuable intervention by pushing researchers to articulate causal dynamics, provide clear definitions and measurable concepts, and develop testable hypotheses. By including historians, sociologists, and political scientists, by ranging across North America and Western Europe, by addressing successful and failed incorporative efforts, this handbook offers guides for anyone seeking to develop a dynamic, unified, and supple model of immigrant political incorporation.
The American racial order--the beliefs, institutions, and practices that organize relationships among the nation's races and ethnicities--is undergoing its greatest transformation since the 1960s. Creating a New Racial Order takes a groundbreaking look at the reasons behind this dramatic change, and considers how different groups of Americans are being affected. Through revealing narrative and striking research, the authors show that the personal and political choices of Americans will be critical to how, and how much, racial hierarchy is redefined in decades to come.
The authors outline the components that make up a racial order and examine the specific mechanisms influencing group dynamics in the United States: immigration, multiracialism, genomic science, and generational change. Cumulatively, these mechanisms increase heterogeneity within each racial or ethnic group, and decrease the distance separating groups from each other. The authors show that individuals are moving across group boundaries, that genomic science is challenging the whole concept of race, and that economic variation within groups is increasing. Above all, young adults understand and practice race differently from their elders: their formative memories are 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Obama's election--not civil rights marches, riots, or the early stages of immigration. Blockages could stymie or distort these changes, however, so the authors point to essential policy and political choices.
Portraying a vision, not of a postracial America, but of a different racial America, Creating a New Racial Order examines how the structures of race and ethnicity are altering a nation.
Although science and technology are touching people's lives in ways unimaginable only decades ago, political scientists and policy analysts are still exploring how the public understands and assesses new, highly technical scientific information. This study uses a new public opinion survey to examine Americans’ reactions to and understanding of one scientific innovation: the use of genomics technology to trace ancestry, typically defined as race or ethnicity.
This arena has three analytic virtues. First is its importance: genetics research may soon revolutionize medical practice in the United States, and possibly decisions in the criminal justice system as well as the way Americans understand race. Second is its novelty: elite or partisan opinion on genomic science has yet to coalesce, and policies of support or regulation are just beginning to be developed. Our study can thus capture the early stages of opinion formation on a new issue. Third is its popular appeal: many Americans are being introduced to genomic science through racial ancestry tests, as seen in popular television shows or direct-to-consumer ads.
Our goal is to refine existing models of public trust in science and technology by adding a new substantive focus, and placing two analytic elements at center stage: racial or ethnic identity as a lens through which other individual characteristics are channeled, and the relationships among emotional, cognitive, and salience responses to scientific innovation. More broadly, we argue that people with different immutable characteristics (such as race, gender, and age) respond to scientific innovation in intelligibly different ways, and that types of response to scientific innovation are related but vary in intelligible and important ways. We posit, although we cannot show it in this paper, that all of these reactions inform support
No self-respecting political scientist will accept the cliché that demography is destiny; nevertheless, as a country’s demography changes, if the politics do not change in accord with the circumstances or desires of the new residents, one sees greater and greater strain and even disruption in governance. A crucial question is whether the political effects of native-borns’ anxiety about immigration will slow migration or keep migrants out of the social, economic, and political mainstreams, or conversely, whether migrants and their allies will become strong enough to create political dynamics in their favor. This paper examines those two plausible trajectories. I first review the politically most salient demographic features of mass migration. I then use the conceptual framework of policy feedback – the idea that policies change politics, which in turn reinforce, change, or undermine the initial policy for the analysis-- to consider the conditions in which a country changes in response to the demographic pressures of immigration, and those in which political resistance to further immigration or to immigrants’ incorporation into the receiving country’s mainstream might carry the day. The paper concludes with a brief case study of what happens when the forces of change and inclusion are balanced against those of resistance and exclusion. I focus primarily on the United States, but to some degree refer to other countries as well.