Read more about Attenuated Democracy:  A Critical Introduction to U.S. Government and Politics

Attenuated Democracy: A Critical Introduction to U.S. Government and Politics

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David Hubert, Salt Lake Community College

Copyright Year: 2020

Publisher: Salt Lake Community College

Language: English

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Table of Contents

  • Part 1: Thinking Like a Political Scientist
  • Part 2: Constitutional Foundations
  • Part 3: Congress
  • Part 4: The Presidency
  • Part 5: The Supreme Court
  • Part 6: The Federal Bureaucracy
  • Part 7: Linkage Institutions
  • Part 8: Electoral Politics and Public Opinion
  • Part 9: Individual Political Behavior
  • Part 10: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

About the Book

The U.S. political system suffers from endemic design flaws and is notable for the way that a small subset of Americans—whose interests often don’t align with those of the vast majority of the population—wields disproportionate power. Absent organized and persistent action on the part of ordinary Americans, the system tends to serve the already powerful. That’s why this text is called Attenuated Democracy. To attenuate something is to make it weak or thin. Democracy in America has been thin from the beginning and continues to be so despite some notable progress in voting rights. As political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens wrote, “The essence of democracy is not just having reasonably satisfactory policies; the essence of democracy is popular control of government, with each citizen having an equal voice.” (1) Since this is likely to be your only college-level course on the American political system, it is important to point out the structural weaknesses of our system and the thin nature of our democracy. Whenever you get the chance—in the voting booth, in your job, perhaps if you hold elected office—I encourage you to do something about America’s attenuated democracy.

About the Contributors


David Hubert received his B.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. He makes his home in Utah where he serves as Associate Provost of Learning Advancement at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). He led the development and implementation of SLCC’s ePortfolio requirement in its General Education program, directed SLCC’s Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, and helped the college receive a commendation from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities for its assessment of General Education learning outcomes. 

Active as a professor of Political Science, Dr. Hubert developed three separate online Political Science courses, one of which has used open educational resources since 2008.  He led four different study abroad trips to London that centered on active learning. In collaboration with colleagues, he developed two different learning communities. He serves as a faculty member at the AAC&U’s Summer Institute on High Impact Practices, and the Summer Institute on General Education. He is Treasurer and board member of the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL). In his spare time he loves tennis, photography, camping, and stargazing in Utah’s southern wilderness.