In the essays that make up The Elections of 1988, two important questions are addressed. Did the Bush-Dukakis race fulfill even minimally the requirements of democratic government, especially the requirement that important issues be brought before the voters? And where is the American party system headed and with what consequences for government and public policy? Readers will find contrasting answers to these and other questions.
Several essays deal with the phenomenon of "split-level realignment," a term describing the recent pattern of Republican dominance of the presidency and Democratic dominance of Congress. Will divided government force true compromise and bipartisanship or will it merely limit the effectiveness of the Bush administration? Taking note of the bicentennial, one essay examines the Constitution's implications for the presidency as an institution and for the attainment and conduct of the office.
Michael Nelson is professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. A former editor of the Washington Monthly, he also is the coauthor of Presidents, Politics, and Policy (1984), editor and contributor to The Presidency and the Political System (CQ Press, 1988) and to the Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the Presidency (1989).