10 Things to Read About the US Presidential Elections

In the context of one of the most controversial and polarising Presidential elections that the US has seen in a long time, we bring you a list of essential readings to understand the phenomenon, the procedures that make this electoral machinery work, as well as the candidates.

1. American Foreign Policy and the 2016 Presidential Election

Wayne Lesperance Jr. examines the foreign policy vision of the two main 2016 presidential candidates, contrasting Hillary Clinton’s pro-military approach with Donald Trump’s inexperience and unorthodox world view.

2. When Playing the Woman Card is Playing Trump

Following up on Trump’s accusations that Clinton has been playing the ‘woman card’ during the general elections, Leslie Caughell studies the impact of Clinton’s approach, concluding that it is successful amongst certain subgroups of voters.

3. The Presidential Nominating Process, Campaign Money, and Popular Love

Robin Kolodny examines the importance of campaign cash in American politics, focusing on Donald Trump’s profile – a self-financed candidate who attracts massive media attention without spending very much money.

 4. Demographics, issues, inequality and turnout in the United States

Authored by Jan Leighley and Jonathan Nagler, this 2013 volume analyses the demographic elements and political positions of American voters and non-voters since 1972, to study how turnout is influenced by electoral reforms, and the choices given by the presidential candidates.

5. Presidential Candidates, Core Partisans, and the Missing Middle in American Electoral Politics   

This 2016 article, written by Larry Bartels, contests the logic of electoral competition by arguing that in the US, presidential candidates assume fairly extreme positions on an assortment of important matters.

6. Trump vs Clinton: Worlds apart on science

Jeff Tollefson goes over the views of the current main presidential candidates regarding stem-cell research, climate change, and energy production, and emphasizes the striking differences between them.

7. America at the ballot box: Elections and political history

This 2015 book, edited by Julian Zelizer and Gareth Davies, gathers contributions from influent political historians, who look into past presidential elections in the US to shed a light on the development of the country’s modern political democracy.

8. Applause, Laughter, and Booing during the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary Debates

Patrick Stewart, Austin Eubanks, and Jason Miller look into the FOX NEWS and CNN Republican Party presidential primary debates, examining the response of the in-person audiences, and arguing that their demographics, as well as the debate setting, may have influenced the candidates’ initial gains in terms of support and prestige.

9. Accuracy of vote expectation surveys in forecasting elections

Andreas Graefe defends, in this 2014 work, that vote expectation surveys that ask the American electoral who they think will win the presidential elections are the most accurate way to predict their victor, and advocates its stronger use.

10. Presidential Candidate Visits and Their Political Consequence

In a 2016 work, Thomas Wood looks into the aim and impact of presidential campaign visits, explaining how they are assigned, and arguing that their impact on voter intentions is minor, and short-lived.

A 2016 general election ballot, listing the presidential and vice presidential candidates, Photo by Corey Taratuta / CC BY 2.0

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

David Ferreira

Research Assistant at CEI-IUL. Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, specialisation in International Relations (ISCTE-IUL).

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