In The Apartisan American, Russell Dalton pays much attention to the idea of party identification and a burning necessity for an American to comprehend the peculiarities of political life, elections, and the roles of different politics in society. The first five chapters of the book aim at describing an independent voter as a unique political subject the role of which turns out to be crucial nowadays. Dalton explains that society, as well as the political world and its traditions, have changed dramatically during the last several decades.1 Nowadays, people like to define themselves as independent political partisans or partisans, who are “interested in politics and are often politically sophisticated, but they lack of a partisan identity.”2 Each chapter of the reading under consideration has its own purposes and functions in the book and proves that it is not an easy thing to be independent in politics.
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Chapter 1 focuses on some general facts about the political world of the USA and the way of how the political independents have appeared. The second chapter gives clear explanations about the existing weakening of American partisanship and the conditions under which political identities lose their meaning. The third chapter is about the alternatives that may exist in a partisan society and the differences that do take place between partisans and apolitical independents. Chapter 4 connects the ideas of democracy and the process of cognitive mobilization that cannot be neglected in American society and explains who the independents actually are and why the development of this group is irreversible. Finally, chapter 5 compares partisans’ and apartisans’ activities and intentions in a political field. The chosen reading helps to realize that both, partisans and partisans, should focus on electoral politics due to their loyalties. However, in comparison to a group of partisans, the partisans are free to use different forms of participation, which are more appropriate for a situation.
The main idea of the reading is that current electoral politics is incomplete without the partisans and their new ideas on how different political views and suggestions have to be interpreted. The peculiar feature of the independents in the USA is that they take a position somewhere between the two dominant political platforms, the Republicans and the Democrats.3 It seems to be wrong to identify the independents as a separate party. It is a kind of position that cannot be fully understood but, at the same time, cannot be neglected during the electoral process. The independents provide society with a chance to avoid making decisions but remain to be a crucial part of the political world.
Should political independence be regarded as a unique chance to demonstrate personal attitudes and interests in the sphere of politics or is it another opportunity to neglect a number of social duties and responsibilities and prove the possibility to stay indifferent to the life of a society?
Even after reading the book under analysis, some people may face a problem identifying the role of the political independents and their possible impact during the elections. Still, the reader should be able to realize that this kind of group cannot be neglected or deprived of their rights because the development of a partisan group makes the American society complete and unique as it always was.
Dalton, Russel. The Apartisan American: Dealignment and Changing Electoral Politics. Thousand Oaks, California: CQ Press, 2013.
Hawkins, Carlee, and Nosek, Brian. “Motivated Independence? Implicit Party Identity Predicts Political Judgments Among Self-Proclaimed Independents.” Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin 38, no. 11 (2012): 1437-1452.
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- Russell Danton, The Apartisan American: Dealignment and Changing Electoral Politics (Thousand Oaks, California: CQ Press, 2013), 38.
- Russell Danton, The Apartisan American: Dealignment and Changing Electoral Politics (Thousand Oaks, California: CQ Press, 2013), 8.
- Carlee Hawkins and Brian Nosek “Motivated Independence? Implicit Party Identity Predicts Political Judgments Among Self-Proclaimed Independents.” Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin 38, no. 11 (2012): 1437.