|Reading 1: Article/Book Chapter Citation (APSA): Bartels, Larry. 2006. “Is the Water Rising? Reflections on Inequality and American Democracy.” PS: Political Science and Politics 39, 1: 39-42. Core Argument/Thesis: “What a shocked world saw in New Orleans,” argues Larry Bartels, “was the reality of race and class in contemporary America.” It was not, as Robert Weisberg asserted, simply the unfortunate result of a natural disaster. It was the result of the forces of free market capitalism. This was also the finding of the APSA’s Report on Inequality and Democracy. “Weisberg criticized the APSA Report for its alarmist tone.” But, there is cause for alarm,” in Bartel’s opinion, “and it is not coming from a secret cabal to overthrow the government, but from the forces of market capitalism.” … How does the author(s) support their argument? (Do they review the relevant literature, comparatively analyze cases, present original data?) At the center of Weisberg’s critique of the APSA Report is his assertion that the report did not properly define democracy. In response, Bartels proposes a two-part definition that draws on some of the leading minds on the topic of democratic governance. Representative democracy, Bartels explains, “implies a systematic correspondence between the preferences of citizens and the policies adopted by elected representatives.” Given this definition, Bartels then asks: How well is the US doing as a Democracy? To answer this question, he analyzes the degree to which the votes in the US Congress (specifically the US Senate) match the policy preferences of the public based on class. Additionally, in order to test the effect different party’s policies have had on rates of poverty, he looks at rates of income growth under Democratic versus Republican presidents. … How would you evaluate this reading? Did you find it compelling? Unclear? Lacking evidence or data? Thought provoking? Persuasive? I found Bartel’s analysis to be quite compelling. He directly and systematically critiqued Weisberg’s argument. He did so by first defining his terms, and then presenting data measuring the strength of democratic governance in the US. In conclusion, Bartels explains that he thinks Weisberg missed the point of the APSA report. “Weissberg attacked the Great Society, saying government programs don’t help the poor. But Hibbs research shows that [they do] help the poor.”||Reading 2: Article/Book Chapter Citation (APSA): Core Argument/Thesis: How does the author(s) support their argument? (Do they review the relevant literature, comparatively analyze cases, present original data?) How would you evaluate this reading? Did you find it compelling? Unclear? Lacking evidence or data? Thought provoking? Persuasive?|
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