By Invitation Only

The Rise of Exclusive Politics in the United States

Schier has something important to say about what's gone wrong in this country, about how politics feasts on cynicism and apathy. An eye-opening and provocative book.
CNN

By Invitation Only examines the shift in the United States from mobilization (the partisan method of stimulating very high voter turnout in elections) to activation—the political variant of “niche marketing.” This more contemporary method that parties, interest groups, and candidates employ induces particular, finely targeted portions of the public to become active in elections, demonstrations, and lobbying. Traditional partisan mobilization was a crude tool, operating through personal and print communication. It involved broad appeals often carried through personal conversation with local party workers, or through America’s then highly partisan press. Political mobilization predominated during election campaigns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of peak party power. The shift from mobilization to activation allows organizers to mobilize strategic minorities while cloaking the effort in a misleading guise of popular rule. The vogue of participation is that all should get involved. In fact, as Schier illustrates, the process encourages only a strategically selected few to vote in elections or petition government for their interests. The result is a decline of majority rule in American politics. A must-read for anyone concerned with politics in America.

about the author

Steven Schier

Steven E. Schier, the Dorothy H. and Edward C. Congdon Professor of Political Science at Carleton College, is the author or editor of numerous books including The Postmodern Presidency: Bill Clinton’s Legacy in U.S. Politics, and By Invitation Only: The Rise of Exclusive Politics in the United States.

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Steven Schier