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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.500
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.623

CiteScore 2018: 0.83

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.595
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.631

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Volume 14, Issue 4


Modern Eras and Alternative Futures: The American Elections of 2016 in the Longest Run

Byron E. Shafer / Regina L. Wagner
Published Online: 2017-02-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2016-0038


On the morning after, the aggregate story of the American elections of 2016 was one of surprise. Professional pundits – not to mention the pollsters, those masters of disaggregation – had been rather strikingly wrong. So, one of the major products of the elections of 2016 was a major research project for these professional disaggregators. But can those who treat elections as aggregate phenomena – as patterned wins and losses across time – fit these results into an ongoing pattern? Within this pattern, what looks familiar and what looks anomalous? Or, said the other way around, when does a recognizable “modern world” begin, and what are its contours? And in the end, even if 2016 proves to have more similarities than differences to some (surely not all) of its predecessors, what would have to happen in order for its anomalies to become the shape of a successor world, making 2016 look like the beginning of something seriously new? Those are the questions that motivate this paper.

About the article

Byron E. Shafer

Byron E. Shafer is Hawkins Chair of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His most recent book is The American Political Pattern: Stability and Change, 1932–2016 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016).

Regina L. Wagner

Regina L. Wagner is a graduate student in the same department. Her dissertation is Patterns of Representation: Women’s Political Representation in the US and the Conceptualization of Women’s Interests. They are working jointly on The Long War over Party Structure: Political Parties and Representative Democracy in American Politics.

Published Online: 2017-02-22

Published in Print: 2016-12-01

Citation Information: The Forum, Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 399–413, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2016-0038.

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Byron E. Shafer and Regina L. Wagner
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