Patterson Chapter 7

Patterson Chapter 7 - Patterson Chapter 7 Political...

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Patterson Chapter 7 Political Participation - involvement in activities intended to influence public policy and leadership. Voter turnout ( defined as the proportion of adult citizens who actually vote in a given election) in US elections is low in comparison with that of other democratic nations. The reasons for this difference include the nature of US election laws, particularly those pertaining to registration requirements and the scheduling of elections. Since the 1960s voter turnout in presidential elections has averaged about 55%. Midterm elections have not reached 50% since 1920 and have hovered around 40% since 1970. Active participation in community groups and political organizations is higher in the US than in other democracies, reflecting the nation’s tradition of local government and free association. Nevertheless, only a minority of Americans can be classified as community or political activists. Most Americans make a sharp distinction between their personal lives and national life. This attitude reduces their incentive to participate and contributes to a pattern of participation dominated by citizens of higher income and education.
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