Evidence from the 2020 Campaigns in PennsylvaniaEdited by Stephen K. Medvic, Matthew M. Schousen, and Berwood A. Yost
Given the news media’s focus on national issues and debates, voters might be expected to make decisions about state and local candidates based on their views of the national parties and presidential candidates. However, nationalization as a concept, and the process by which politics becomes nationalized, are not fully understood. Are All Politics Nationalized? addresses this knowledge gap by looking at the behavior of candidates and the factors that influence voters’ electoral choices.
The editors and contributors examine the 2020 elections in six Pennsylvania districts to explore the level of nationalization in campaigns for Congress and state legislature. They also question if politicians are encouraging nationalized behavior and straight ticket voting—especially with down-ballot races.
Are All Politics Nationalized? concludes that issues specific to particular districts—such as fracking and local union politics—still matter, and candidates are eager to connect with voters by highlighting their ties to the local community. National politics do trickle down to local races, but races up and down the ballot are still heavily localized.
Contributors: Sophie Ackert, Andrew Bloeser, Christopher Borick, Kristen Coopie, Angela M. Corbo, J. Wesley Leckrone, Sarah Niebler, Olivia O’Donnell, Benjamin T. Toll, Tarah Williams, and the editors.
“Nationalization seems to be a skeleton key explaining various aspects of contemporary American politics, but recent research has focused overwhelmingly on voters—not on political parties, politicians, or campaigns. This indispensable volume compiles detailed studies of 2020 campaigns in Pennsylvania to identify the limits of today’s nationalization. Even amidst a pitched presidential campaign in a pivotal state, local issues and appeals were central to many campaigns. With incisive studies of six congressional districts in the Keystone State, this book is an essential addition to our understanding of campaigns, elections, and nationalization.”—Daniel J. Hopkins, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Increasingly United States: How and Why American Political Behavior Nationalized
“Nationalization is a purported hallmark of contemporary American politics. In Are All Politics Nationalized? editors Stephen Medvic, Matthew Schousen, and Berwood Yost examine the extent of nationalization in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Research on nationalization emphasizes partisan fealty in mass voting behavior, but the editors take a different approach by considering the behavior of candidates on the campaign trail. By investigating select 2020 U.S. House races paired with two state house contests embedded in these congressional districts, the contributors assess the level of nationalization up and down the ballot in shared political contexts. This novel study will make you reconsider the degree to which the national ‘party line’ animates and shapes electoral politics.” —Seth C. McKee, Professor and American Government Coordinator in the Department of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, and coauthor of Rural Republican Realignment in the Modern South: The Untold Story