With voting already underway in some states, the democratic process is beginning to play out in the 2020 presidential election. To help inform voters on key issues, the Brookings Institution Press has compiled an election reading list on the changing demographics and political discord that will shape this election’s outcome.
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By Stephanie Muravchik and Jon A. Shields
Why did so many working-class Democrats vote for Donald Trump in 2016—and will it happen again in 2020? Investigating these questions, Stephanie Muravchik and Jon Shields over a four-year period lived in and studied three Democratic communities that supported Trump. What they found were communities more aligned with their local identity than their racial identity and Democratic bosses more reflective of Donald Trump’s style than that of the modern Democratic party.
Blue Metros, Red States
The Shifting Urban-Rural Divide in America’s Swing States
By David F. Damore, Robert E. Lang, and Karen A. Danielsen
The outcome of the 2020 presidential election will likely be decided in the suburbs. In “Blue Metros, Red States,” David Damore, Robert Lang, and Karen Danielsen examine the demographic shifts, voting patterns, economic data, and social characteristics of 27 major metropolitan areas across 13 swing states, locating the red/blue dividing line and assessing the state of play in each state.
Get Out the Vote
How to Increase Voter Turnout
By Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber
The most important element in every election is getting voters to the polls, which presents a more challenging task in 2020 because of COVID-19. “Get Out the Vote” has become the reference text for those who study voter mobilization. Donald Green and Alan Gerber explore the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of campaign tactics from door-to-door canvasing to social media outreach and “relational organizing.”
Divided Politics, Divided Nation
Hyperconflict in the Trump Era
By Darrell M. West
Based on conversations over the past 40 years, Darrell West presents a memoir of how political differences have escalated into today’s hyperpartisan conflict. In “Divided Politics, Divided Nation,” West explores the political, economic, and cultural aspects of this polarization and offers the stark warning that we must overcome these divisions if there is any hope in maintaining a functioning democracy.
How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America
By William H. Frey
Amplified by economic, political, and social factors in 2020, race continues to be a contentious topic in America. Using the U.S. Census, national surveys, and related sources, William H. Frey’s “Diversity Explosion” provides an accessible overview of the changing racial demographics in the United States. It is an essential guide for anyone who wants to understand this profound change and the potential for a less divided nation.
- Listen to Frey’s interview on The Economist’s Checks and Balances podcast.
Words That Matter
How the News and Social Media Shaped the 2016 Presidential Campaign
By Leticia Bode, Ceren Budak, Jonathan M. Ladd, Frank Newport, Josh Pasek, Lisa O. Singh, Stuart N. Soroka, and Michael W. Traugott
Did the news and social media ultimately influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election? “Words That Matter” assesses how the media covered the election and what information—true or false—helped voters make their decisions. Analyzing five data sets from news coverage to social media to Gallup polling data, the authors argue the unique way each presidential candidate was covered by the media had a measurable impact on public opinion.
For more books on politics, governance, and other topics, please visit the Brookings Institution Press.