Public criticism of the quality of campaigns has become a regular feature of the campaign season. Such criticism points toward a widely shared ideal of political conduct that serves as a standard of reference against which campaigns may be judged. This standard expresses a clear and consistent preference for campaigns that talk about substance over style; that appeal to deeply held rather than superficially held beliefs; that deal with politically important issues rather than trivial ones; and that attempt sincerely to change people's more deeply held beliefs rather than merely to inform or motivate them. Implicit in this conception is something like a belief that democratic citizens are obliged to take seriously their role as voter, to care deeply about the polity, and to make decisions rationally. The central concern of this book is to flesh out and explore the details of this ideal of democratic citizenship in election campaigns.
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