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Didi Kuo
Journal Articles

Reassessing American Democracy: The Enduring Challenge of Racial Exclusion

Johanna Kalb, Didi Kuo
Michigan Law Review Online , 2020

American democracy is in trouble. Since the 2016 election, a sizable literature has developed that focuses on diagnosing and assessing the state of American democracy, most of which concludes that our system of government is in decline.[2] These authors point to the rise in party polarization, the increasingly bipartisan abandonment of the norms of the democratic process, the rise of populism, the degradation of the public sphere, and the proliferation of gerrymandered districts and voting restrictions to illustrate the breakdown.

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Journal Articles

Political Reform and American Democracy

Didi Kuo
2020

The 2016 election brought into sharp relief the anomalies and imperfections of our democratic institutions. Trump, beating out a crowded field of primary candidates, won the election having lost the popular vote. Despite intense media coverage, the party primaries were still low-turnout events, and party infighting undermined the legitimacy of the final candidates. Third-party candidates who stood no chance of winning nonetheless drew significant votes in swing states.

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Journal Articles

Comparing America: Reflections on Democracy across Subfields

Didi Kuo
Cambridge University Press , 2019

Is America in a period of democratic decline? I argue that there is an urgent need to consider the United States in comparative perspective, and that doing so is necessary to contextualize and understand the quality of American democracy. I describe two approaches to comparing the United States: the first shows how the United States stacks up to other countries, while the second uses the theories and tools of comparative politics to examine relationships between institutions, actors, and democratic outcomes.

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Books

Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy

Didi Kuo
2018

Political parties in the United States and Britain used clientelism and patronage to govern throughout the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, however, parties in both countries shifted to programmatic competition. This book argues that capitalists were critical to this shift. Businesses developed new forms of corporate management and capitalist organization, and found clientelism inimical to economic development.

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Journal Articles

Polarization and Partisanship

Didi Kuo, Didi Kuo
2015

In an article in the American Interest, Didi Kuo argues that understanding the causes of polarization -- whether rooted in a polarized electorate, or rooted in the ideological extremism of campaign donors and candidates -- has different implications on political reforms. If polarization is an elite phenomenon, institutional and legal reforms have a much greater chance of success. 

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