17.263 | Fall 2020 | Undergraduate

American Elections


[S] = Sides, John, Daron Shaw, Matt Grossmann, et al. Campaigns and Elections. 3rd ed. W. W. Norton & Company, 2019. ISBN: 9780393664676.




No readings assigned


The Logic of Electoral Democracy

[S] Chapter 1: Introduction. 

Manin, Bernard, Adam Przeworski, and Susan C. Stokes. “Elections and Representation.” Chapter 1 in Democracy, Accountability, and Representation. Edited by Adam Przeworski, Susan C. Stokes, and Bernard Manin. Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780521646161. [Preview with Google Books]


American Electoral Institutions

[S] Chapter 2: The American Electoral Process.


Development of the American Electorate

Valelly, Richard. “How Suffrage Politics Made—and Makes—America.” Chapter 22 in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Development. Edited by Richard Valelly, Suzanne Mettler, and Robert C. Lieberman. Oxford University Press, 2016. ISBN: 9780199697915. 

Wolbrecht, Christina, and J. Kevin Corder. “Turning Rights into Ballots: The Uneven Integration of Women into Electoral Politics after Suffrage.” (PDF) PS: Political Science & Politics 53, no. 3 (2020): 479–83.


Development of the American Elections

[S] Chapter 3: The Transformation of American Campaigns.

Bensel, Richard. “The American Ballot Box: Law, Identity, and the Polling Place in the Mid-Nineteenth Century.” Studies in American Political Development 17, no. 1 (2003): 1–27.


Political Parties

[S] Chapter 6: Political Parties. 

White, Ismail K., Chryl N. Laird, and Troy D. Allen. “Selling Out?: The Politics of Navigating Conflicts between Racial Group Interest and Self-interest.” American Political Science Review 108, no. 4 (2014): 783–800.



Fox, Richard L., and Jennifer L. Lawless. “Uncovering the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition.” American Political Science Review 108, no. 3 (2014): 499–519.

Thomsen, Danielle M. “Ideological Moderates Won’t Run: How Party Fit Matters for Partisan Polarization in Congress.” Journal of Politics 76, no. 3 (2014): 786–97

Carnes, Nicholas. “Why Are There So Few Working-Class People in Political Office? Evidence from State Legislatures.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 4, no. 1 (2016): 84–109.



Ansolabehere, Stephen, John Mark Hansen, Shigeo Hirano, et al. “More Democracy: The Direct Primary and Competition in U.S. Elections.” Studies in American Political Development 24, no. 2 (2010): 190–205. 

Cohen, Marty, David Karol, Hans Noel, et al. “Political Parties in Rough Weather.” (PDF) The Forum 5, no. 4 (2008): 1–23.


Fundamental Factors in General Elections

Mayhew, David R. “Incumbency Advantage in U.S. Presidential Elections: The Historical Record.” Political Science Quarterly 123, no. 2 (2008): 201–28.

Lewis-Beck, Michael S., and Mary Stegmaier. “Economic Determinants of Electoral Outcomes.” Annual Review of Political Science 3, no. 1 (2000): 183–219.


Forecasting Elections

Hillygus, D. Sunshine. “The Evolution of Election Polling in the United States.” Public Opinion Quarterly 75, no. 5 (2011): 962–81.

Silver, Nate. “Are You Smarter than a Television Pundit?” Chapter 2 in The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t. Penguin Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781594204111. 


Campaign Finance and Interest Groups

[S] Chapter 4: Financing Campaigns.

[S] Chapter 7: Interest Groups.


Campaign Strategies

[S] Chapter 5: Modern Campaign Strategies.

Mendelberg, Tali. “A Theory of Racial Appeals.” Chapter 1 in The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality. Princeton University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780691070704. [Preview with Google Books]


Media and Information

[S] Chapter 8: Media. 

Jerit, Jennifer. “How People Learn About Politics: Navigating the Information Environment.” Chapter 12 in New Directions in Public Opinion. 3rd ed. Edited by Adam J. Berinsky. Routledge, 2019. ISBN: 9781138483552. [Preview with Google Books]


Presidential Campaigns

[S] Chapter 9: Presidential Campaigns.


Congressional Campaigns

[S] Chapter 10: Congressional Campaigns.


State and Local Campaigns

[S] Chapter 11: State and Local Campaigns. 


Voter Participation

[S] Chapter 12: Voter Participation.

Fraga, Bernard L. “Candidates or Districts? Reevaluating the Role of Race in Voter Turnout.” American Journal of Political Science 60, no. 1 (2016): 97–122.


Voter Choice

[S] Chapter 13: Voter Choice.

Review the final prediction of your favorite election forecaster. (See Assignments.)


Consequences of Elections

Brady, David W., and Craig Volden. “The Origins of Revolving Gridlock” and “Theoretical Foundations.” Chapters 1 and 2 in Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2019. ISBN: 9780367096885. [Preview with Google Books]

Fowler, Anthony, and Andrew B. Hall. “Long-Term Consequences of Election Results.” British Journal of Political Science 47, no. 2 (2017): 351–72.


Evaluating American Democracy

[S] Chapter 14: Democracy in Action or a Broken System?

Achen, Christopher, and Larry Bartels. “Democracy for Realists: Holding Up a Mirror to the Electorate.” Juncture 22, no. 4 (2016): 269–75.


Reforms I - Voter Fraud and Voter ID

Richman, Jesse T., Gulshan A. Chattha, and David C. Earnest. “Do Non-citizens Vote in U.S. Elections?Electoral Studies 36 (2014): 149–57. 

Cottrell, David, Michael C. Herron, and Sean J. Westwood. “An Exploration of Donald Trump’s Allegations of Massive Voter Fraud in the 2016 General Election.” Electoral Studies 51 (2018): 123–42

Hajnal, Zoltan, Nazita Lajevardi, and Lindsay Nielson. “Voter Identification Laws and the Suppression of Minority Votes.” Journal of Politics 79, no. 2 (2017): 363–79.

Grimmer, Justin, Eitan Hersh, Marc Meredith, et al. “Obstacles to Estimating Voter ID Laws’ Effect on Turnout.” Journal of Politics 80, no. 3 (2018): 1045–51.


Reforms II - Gerrymandering

McCarty, Nolan, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. “Does Gerrymandering Cause Polarization?American Journal of Political Science 53, no. 3 (2009): 666–80.

Chen, Jowei, and Jonathan Rodden. “Unintentional Gerrymandering: Political Geography and Electoral Bias in Legislatures.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 8, no. 3 (2013): 239–69.

Caughey, Devin, Chris Tausanovitch, and Christopher Warshaw. “Partisan Gerrymandering and the Political Process: Effects on Roll-Call Voting and State Policies.” Election Law Journal 16, no. 4 (2017): 453–69.


Reforms III - Electoral Systems

Berinsky, Adam J. “The Perverse Consequences of Electoral Reform in the United States.” American Politics Research 33, no. 4 (2005): 471–91.

Drutman, Lee. “This Voting Reform Solves 2 of America’s Biggest Political Problems.” July 26, 2017. Vox.



Classmates’ post-election reports. (See Assignments.)

Course Info

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Fall 2020
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assignment Written Assignments
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