Since the late 1960s, trust in government has fallen precipitously. The nine essays composing this volume detail the present character of distrust, analyze its causes, assess the dangers it poses, and suggest remedies. The focus is on trust in the Congress. The contributors also examine patterns of trust in societal institutions and the presidency, especially in light of the Clinton impeachment controversy. Among the themes the book highlights are the impacts of present patterns of politics, the consequences of public misunderstanding of democratic politics, the significance of poll data, and the need for reform in campaign finance, media practices, and civic education.
Foreword: Trust and Democracy -- The Puzzle of Distrust -- Insiders with a Crisis from Outside -- Appreciating Congress -- Congress and Public Trust -- How Good People Make Bad Collectives -- Congress, Public Trust, and Education -- Performance and Expectations in American Politics -- Epilogue -- Trends in Public Trust: 1952-1998