SAGE Journal Articles
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Journal Article 1.1: Dennis, J., & Owen, D. (2001). Popular satisfaction with the party system and representative democracy in the United States. International Political Science Review, 22(4), 399–415.
Abstract: There are a variety of explanations for diminished levels of popular support for American government, institutions, and leaders evident since the Watergate era. Prominent theories focus on the changing nature of US political culture or perceptions of economic conditions. A plausible alternative explanation is that citizens feel inadequately represented by agents of government, and that the linkages facilitating representation no longer function effectively. Although the role of political parties often is portrayed as declining, parties still have the potential to be meaningful conduits for citizen representation. The article examines explanations for public support or alienation from various dimensions of the political system, focusing on citizens' orientations toward political parties. In general, it finds a strong connection between citizens' partisanship and feelings about political parties and their support for the political regime and democratic processes.
Abstract: We examine the origins of direct democracy in the American states and assess how direct democracy has affected American political parties. We find adoption of the most directly democratic forms of the initiative in states where Populist forces were strongest in the 1890s. Use of the initiative throughout the twentieth century led to more restrictive state legal environments for parties and was associated with weaker traditional party organizations. American parties have subsequently challenged restrictions placed on their organizations and on their ability to engage in campaigns. By the end of the twentieth century, American party organizations were visible actors in direct democracy campaigns, however their role is different from that of parties in Europe.
Journal Article 1.3: Jost, K. (2012). Re-examining the Constitution. CQ Researcher, 22(31), 741–764.
Abstract: Does direct democracy lead to increased electoral turnout? Research in the United States has demonstrated this effect and proposed two reasons for it: (1) the process of being involved in direct political participation may educate citizens and lead to their increased long-term political engagement (this explanation draws on the theory of participatory democracy) and/or (2) underlying issues and competitive campaigning draw public interest and cause higher turnout, although this effect is election-specific and short term. Recent empirical findings overwhelmingly favor the latter hypothesis although both mechanisms seem to apply. However, research on this topic is made difficult by the fact that direct democracy and elections take place simultaneously in the United States, which makes it hard to disentangle the effects of each. We present a study from the Czech Republic where direct democracy is not tied to elections. We analyze the effects of local/municipality direct democracy and demonstrate that it leads to increased turnout in upcoming local and national elections. We demonstrate a strong effect sparked by competitive direct democracy campaigns as well as a relatively weak long-term institutional effect of direct democracy.