Half of our eligible citizens fail to cast a presidential ballot and many more than half routinely ignore state and local elections. Does this phenomenon point to a crisis of democracy or does such behavior simply reflect indifference - or even contentment - among the public? Should we be alarmed that so many of our citizens seem disinterested and unwilling to participate in the various activities and forms of association that constitute civic life? If we are concerned by such matters, what might be done to reengage those who are seemingly disengaged? This book explores these questions and examines the well being of our civic condition at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Grounded in a communication perspective, we view the fundamental nature of a democracy as that of a civic dialogue - an ongoing conversation between our elected leaders or political candidates and the citizens they lead or wish to lead. Accordingly, the studies presented in this volume examine our civic sphere and the electoral process as a communicative interaction between elected officials, political candidates, the media, and citizens.
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