1st Edition

Political Advocacy and American Politics
Why People Fight So Often About Politics

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 1, 2020
ISBN 9780367275570
December 1, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
160 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Political Advocacy in American Politics: Why People Fight So Often Politics explains the rise in conflict in American politics by showing that citizens engage in interpersonal advocacy more often now. Sean Richey and Benjamin Taylor eloquently show how the confluence of competitive elections and contentious politics in the last 20 years makes citizens more likely to push candidates in everyday discussions, which leads to more fighting about politics.

Using original qualitative, survey and experimental studies, Richey and Taylor demonstrate the causes of political advocacy overtime in the political environment and at the individual level. While some worry about the incivility in American politics, Richey and Taylor argue political talk where conflict is common is caused by high-activity democratic processes and normatively beneficial individual attributes. They demonstrate how campaigns, social media, personality, and partisanship has additionally affected everyday political arguments, in addition to impacting one’s propensity to advocate for individual candidates. Furthermore, Richey and Taylor argue that advocacy—when conceptualized as a democratic "release valve"—is exactly the kind of conflict we might expect in a vibrant democracy.

Political Advocacy in American Politics: Why People Fight So Often Politics is ideal for university students and researchers, yet also accessible to any reader looking to learn more about the role campaigns and personal attributes play in the decision to advocate.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. A Theory of Advocacy

3. Why and How People Advocate

4. How Campaigns Stimulate Advocacy

5. Exploring the Role of Social Distance and Social Media

6. The Psychology of Political Advocacy

7. Conclusion

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Sean Richey is Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. He is also the Director of Georgia State University’s Political Survey Research Lab, which he founded. He researches American politics, with a specialization in elections, voting behavior, public opinion, and quantitative methodology. His research has appeared in several peer-reviewed books and in articles published in academic journals such as Political Research Quarterly, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Communication, Political Behavior, International Studies Quarterly, and others. He was a Fulbright Fellow from 2013 to 2014 at the University of Tokyo, and he was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Tokyo between 2004 and 2006.

J. Benjamin Taylor is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Kennesaw State University. He teaches and researches American politics with a specialization in elections and voting behavior, political communication, media politics, and public opinion. His research has appeared in two peer-reviewed books and in numerous articles in academic journals such as Political Communication, Politics & Religion, American Politics Research, PS: Political Science & Politics and Presidential Studies Quarterly.


"Richey and Taylor provide a timely contribution to the literature on political discord. Skillfully, they find a way to examine incivility through various types of interpersonal communication to demonstrate why Americans need to continue to continue to discuss and interact over politics. Unquestionably, Political Advocacy and American Politics will become a must read in political behavior."

Shauna Reilly, Professor of Political Science, Director of the Institute for Student Research and Creative Activity, Northern Kentucky University

"Political Advocacy and American Politics is a must read for political behavior scholars. The project is very well researched and sheds new empirical light on a normatively important political behavior that scholars of politics often overlook."

Jeffrey M. Glas, Lecturer of Political Science, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia

"An important read for anyone wishing to understand today’s turbulent times, the conditions that drive ordinary citizens to forcefully advocate for their political beliefs, and the importance of contentious political talk for American democracy."

Stacy Ulbig, Professor of Political Science, Sam Houston State University