Cambria Press Book Highlight: Seeking Bipartisanship

As budget debates continue in Washington, will President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan be realized or will it fall through? The infrastructure issue is one which President Obama’s administration attempted to address too.

Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was just interviewed on the National Journal about this and he also discussed the problem in his book, Seeking Bipartisanship:

When the new president [Obama] took office, most everyone accepted the need for action on transportation. They knew where the bad roads were. They knew about bad bridges that needed to be fixed. They knew we suffered with outdated transit systems. But we could never figure out a way to pay for the fixes. The administration would not lobby for an increase in the gas tax when it had the votes. Republicans in the House would have blocked the increase once they regained control of the House. The infrastructure bank never gained traction, although it could have supplemented the Highway Trust Fund. We never figured out how to pay for a transportation bill that matched the president’s rhetoric.

Politico has predicted that President Trump’s “hopes for a ‘very bipartisan’ bill are running into the same kinds of political forces that torpedoed the Obamacare repeal.”

Why is bipartisanship so elusive? Secretary LaHood’s book provides a rare inside account of how politics work in Washington. Order Seeking Bipartisanship on Amazon today for this fascinating read into the everyday life of Washington politics.

Ray LaHood

Title: Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics
Editors: Ray LaHood with Frank H. Mackaman
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979053
360 pp.  |   2015   |  Paperback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979053.cfm

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White House Correspondent for The New York Times, Peter Baker, Interviews Cambria Press Author Secretary Ray LaHood About His New Book, “Seeking Bipartisanship”

Ray LaHood New York Times Cambria Press author review publication book Bipartisanship

Read the article by Peter Baker, White House Correspondent for The New York Times, in which he interviews Cambria Press author Secretary Ray LaHood about his new book, Seeking Bipartisanship, which he coauthored with Dr. Frank H. Mackaman who heads The Dirksen Congressional Center.

Learn more about Seeking Bipartisanship.

ISBN: 9781604979053 · 360pp. (includes photos) · $29.95 – Buy the book.

Seeking Bipartisanship Ray LaHood Frank Mackaman Cambria Press publication author review

Cambria Press Publication: Seeking Bipartisanship by Ray LaHood with Frank Mackaman

This book is in the Cambria Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America (PIPPA) Series headed by Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q. Kelly.

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PBS Newshour Anchor Judy Woodruff Interviews former Secretary Ray LaHood about his new book, Seeking Bipartisanship

Cambria Press book author publication Ray LaHood PBS Judy Woodruff Seeking Bipartisanship

Last night’s event with PBS Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff and former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood went exceedingly well. The interview and book signing took place at the WTVP station in Peoria, Illinois.

Learn more about Seeking Bipartisanship which comes recommended by both Republican and Democrat politicians and political scientists.

Seeking Bipartisanship Ray LaHood Frank Mackaman Cambria Press publication author review

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Outstanding Turnout for Secretary Ray LaHood’s Book Talk on Seeking Bipartisanship at Bradley University

Ray LaHood Bradley Seeking Bipartisanhship Cambria Press publication book review author

Secretary Ray LaHood giving the keynote commencement address at Bradley University

Cambria Press Book Talk by Author Secretary Ray LaHood

Close to 300 people turned up for Secretary Ray LaHood’s talk on his new book, Seeking Bipartisanship, at Bradley University yesterday. The book, which was written with Dr. Frank H. Mackaman who heads the Dirksen Congressional Center, is an unprecedented book detailing Secretary LaHood’s efforts to bridge the partisan divide between the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The only elected Republican selected for President Obama’s Cabinet, Secretary LaHood’s work has been recognized by politicians on both sides of the aisle, such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago who has stated:

“Bipartisanship can work, and it should work better. Ray and I did it in Congress. My relationship with Ray is proof of that. He is a Republican; I am a Democrat. He came from downstate; I represented Chicago. He is a Lebanese American; I am a Jewish American. He supported John McCain in 2008; I supported Barack Obama. Despite all of this, we did not let what separated us prevent us from developing a great friendship. If we could work together, and we did, anything is possible.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel went on to recommend the book:

“This much-needed book—not only for American politics but also for the American people and all who believe in democracy—is a brilliant account of how we can and should seek bipartisanship. It presents an important part of American history—when Democrats and Republicans reached across the aisle.”

Learn more about Seeking Bipartisanship, which will be released at the end of this October. Preorder now at the special price of $29.95.

Seeking Bipartisanship Ray LaHood Frank Mackaman Cambria Press publication author review

Cambria Press Publication: Seeking Bipartisanship by Ray LaHood with Frank Mackaman

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Can the American Elections be Saved?

#2016Election POTUS #APSA2015 Cambria Press Publication review academic publisher

#2016Election #MUSTREAD

Cambria Press publication:

Saving American Elections
(Chapter Excerpts)

From Section I: Diagnosis

Chapter 1: Symptoms

Although Americans have many opportunities to vote, large proportions of the citizenry (majorities in most cases) often do not exercise their right to do so (figure 1.9 summarizes typical levels of participation for various types of elections in the United States). These low levels of voting represent the most visible symptom that something is wrong with U.S. elections. And if we expect elections to be the principal means for the governed to control their governments, such low levels of voter participation are harmful to democracy. The bulk of the evidence of political science research shows that low voter turnout is relevant: when fewer people vote, the voting public ceases to reflect the needs and desires of the public as a whole (in terms of social class, age, etc.), and the governments chosen by such voters become less representative of the majority—and consequently, less democratic.

Chapter 2: The Disease

U.S. elections are suffering from an illness characterized by an absence of competitive elections, by lack of political equality, by failing supportive institutions, and by a fatigued electorate. These are the ailments that produce the symptoms, more visible than their causes, of low voter turnout, political cynicism, and a poorly informed public.

Chapter 3: The Causes

If a person’s environment causes a great deal of stress, for example, or causes breathing difficulties, he or she becomes more likely to fall ill. The same is true of elections. The “disease” that is making U.S. elections ill must be considered separately from the unhealthy behaviors and the environment, factors that increase elections’ susceptibility to dysfunction and make the system less likely to recover quickly. In this chapter, I identify several leading contributors to the poor health of U.S. elections: (1) the current legal environment surrounding elections, particularly campaign-finance law, redistricting, and election administration; (2) the structure of U.S. elections; (3) the nature of the mass media in the United States; and (4) the behavior and choices of the candidates and the public.

Section II: Prescription

Chapter 4: The News Media

Elections in the United States depend heavily on the mass media to inform the electorate of their choices on the ballot and to act as referees of the campaign discourse. By almost any account, the media have failed to provide that support, thus contributing to the poor health of U.S. elections. The key reason is that the mass media in the United States are owned by private businesses whose main motivation is profit. That basic fact is unlikely to change, thus prescriptions for improving the health of U.S. elections through changes in the mass media must, as those suggested here do, work around that circumstance. The proposals offered here would probably help the system if they were implemented apart from any other changes, but the impact they might have on the health of elections would be greatly enhanced if they were adopted in conjunction with the reforms discussed in the following chapters.

Chapter 5: Electoral Structure and Institutional Changes

The basic structure of elections, in terms of who is elected, when, and by what means plays an important role in the way elections operate. Poorly structured elections make it difficult for citizens to use elections as a means of popular control of government and give some citizens a more important role than others. Thus any attempt at restoring U.S. elections to health must address the problems generated by the way elections are structured.

Chapter 6: Political Parties and Politicians

Although the American political parties have become involved in the practice of some activities that are detrimental to U.S. elections, healthy elections are unimaginable without strong, competitive political parties. In order to encourage the use of political parties as a means of structuring the choice in elections around philosophies of governance, one thing that needs to change is the rhetoric of the Democratic and Republican Parties and their candidates. If the rhetoric of partisans were more substantive, if it focused on the real nature of the choice that the parties offer voters (and not on irrelevant matters designed to distract voters or divert them from voting according to their overall interests), then members of the public could better understand what their electoral choices truly mean. … Campaign finance laws need to be altered to ensure that the bulk of the money in the campaign system flows through the political parties, and some adjustments are also needed in the way that parties use money on behalf of their candidates—adjustments to make elections more broadly competitive.

Chapter 7: Election Law and Administration

Electoral competition is the lifeblood of elections; without it voters’ chance to hold elected officials responsible or to effect desired changes in their government is limited. As I document in this chapter, laws that govern campaign finance and redistricting play a key role in determining the levels of competition in legislative contests. The laws as they exist today do more to diminish competition than to encourage it. So an important part of the plan to restore health to U.S. elections involves changing these laws in the manner prescribed in order to encourage greater interparty competition. The way the United States manages the act of voting could also be improved in order to ensure equal treatment of voters and to avoid crises in the legitimacy of elections when contests are close.

Chapter 8: The Public

the public must shoulder its share of the responsibility for the poor health of elections. Having people take responsibility for the state of elections and democracy, I might also point out, is the ideologically conservative solution for electoral problems. … Therefore part of nursing U.S. elections back to health requires that the American public break away from these bad habits. Democracy in the United States needs citizens (1) to see elections for what they are, namely, instruments of power for aggregations of like-minded people; (2) as a logical consequence of that more realistic view of elections, to vote based on the party, not the person; (3) to replace some of the time they spend watching television with reading about government and politics, and in the process support good journalism; (4) to become more involved their communities; and (5) to become thoughtful skeptics rather than reactionary cynics.

Saving American Elections: A Diagnosis and Prescription for a Healthier Democracy by Anthony Gierzynski has earned rave reviews from journals and experts. The book is a must read for the 2016 election.

Saving American Elections is part of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America (PIPPA) book series  (Editors: Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly). See more well-reviewed books in the Cambria Press PIPPA Series.

About the author: Anthony Gierzynski is Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont and the Director of the James M. Jeffords Center’s Vermont Legislative Research Service.

Order the hardcover by October 13 (1st Democratic Presidential Debate)
and get 30% off + Free Shipping!
Use coupon code APSA2015.
Libraries can use this code. Valid only for publisher-direct sales.

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President Barack Obama and Immigration: Yes, he can?

Barack Obama Immigration filibuster

“Barack Obama runs a red light” – The Economist

The Economist has just reported on President Barack Obama’s highly anticipated speech last night, with the article titled “Barack Obama runs a red light.” Did he? And if so, can he? And has this been done before?

According to Ryan Barilleaux and Jewerl Maxwell: “Presidents make a variety of substantive decisions and issue executive orders, directives, proclamations, and—with growing frequency—signing statements. To stifle attempts—usually from Congress—to inhibit unilateral or other executive actions, presidents also invoke executive privilege to withhold information and usually meet with success. Indeed, the use of prerogative power has been a characteristic feature of the postmodern presidency (the period from Ronald Reagan forward), and presidential unilateralism flows from several sources” (Tough Times for the President, p. 13).

It should also be noted that earlier Republican President “Bush was also unable to win congressional approval for an immigration reform plan. Earlier in his presidency, different proposals had been passed by the House and Senate, but none was able to win support by both chambers. When the Democrats assumed the majority on Capitol Hill, some observers thought Bush would be able to work out a compromise with Congress. But a bipartisan bill on the issue—the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act—failed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate in June 2007. At this point Bush called on senators to give the bill a chance, and the measure was taken up for consideration later that month. Despite his efforts, however, opposition to the bill’s provision of a path to citizenship for immigrants already in the United States illegally led to its defeat.” (p.74)

There is no question that what lies ahead for President Obama and his 2016 are Tough Times and there will be considerable Filibustering in the U.S. Senate going down.

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#APSA2014 MUST! Lara M. Brown’s sessions and her book Jockeying for the American Presidency

#APSA2014 Lara Brown Cambria Press academic publisher President

#APSA2014 MUST! Lara M. Brown’s sessions on Friday & Saturday and her book Jockeying for the American Presidency

#APSA2014 Must! Lara M. Brown’s session on Friday and Saturday and her book Jockeying for the American Presidency which has earned rave reviews.

This book is in the Cambria Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America (PIPPA) Series by Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly.

Get the #APSA2014 book highlights

See the book at the Cambria Press #APSA2014 booth 524.

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