American voting behavior has long been paradoxical. Although levels of voter participation increase with age, income, and education, middle- and upper-class voters—those who profess to hold the electoral process in the highest regard—still tend to cast their ballots by image rather than issue.Beyond the Electoral Connection provides a comprehensive analysis and systematic explanation of this fundamental paradox. Kim Ezra Shienbaum's unusually broad perspective leads her to conclude that the nature of American democracy has been altered in fundamental ways over the past thirty years. She asserts that voters have rationally adjusted their political behavior to cope with a system in which public policy outcomes are determined largely by judicial and bureaucratic politics rather than through electoral politics. Shienbaum concludes that for the average smart voter, a trip to the polls is little more than an act of political ritualism: a demonstration of support for the status quo.
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