According to its critics, the American election system faces a number of challenges, from the influence of special interests and the incumbent advantage to a scandal-obsessed media and increasing partisanship. If these critics are right, then where has the process gone wrong and how should it be fixed? Identifying the gap between the ideal and the practical, Stephen Wayne answers tough questions as he grapples with the disparity.With thorough updating, the fourth edition integrates material from the 2006 and 2008 elections, emphasizing changes in the electoral environment and in the elections themselves. New to this fourth edition are discussions of: competitive nominations and high primary turnout, and their impact on future nomination contests; the demise of public funding and increase in private funding, particularly in small contributions; the use of new media, including the Obama campaign s revolutionary use of the Internet; changing sources of election news, unbalanced reporting, and the Obama spin ; the apparent end of partisan parity; and the difficulty of transforming a winning electoral coalition into a governing majority.
Stephen J. Wayne is a well-known author and lecturer on the American presidency and electoral politics. A professor of government at Georgetown University since 1988 and a Washington-based "insider" for more than 40 years, Wayne has written or edited 12 books and authored over 100 articles, chapters, and reviews that have appeared in professional journals, scholarly compilations, newspapers, and magazines. At Georgetown, Wayne teaches courses on the presidency, elections, and psychology and politics. Wayne is frequently quoted by White House journalists and regularly appears on television and radio news shows. He lectures widely at home and abroad to international visitors, college students, federal executives, and business leaders. He has testified before Congress on the subject of presidential elections and governance and before Democratic and Republican party advisory committees on the presidential nomination processes. He participated in transition projects for the National Academy of Public Administration and the Presidency Research Group.