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Who Has the Ear of Your Legislators and Why They Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

by Anthony Orlando

We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?

In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.

Prof. Anderson is an Associate Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She serves as the director of the center for Social Solutions to Environmental Problems, prior to which she served as a legislative assistant in Congress and received a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”


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Related Reading

“Fear of Primary Voter Punishment as an Obstacle to Legislative Compromise” by Sarah E. Anderson, Daniel R. Butler, & Laurel Harbridge Yong

“Legislative Institutions as a Source of Party Leaders’ Influence” by Sarah E. Anderson, Daniel M. Butler, & Laurel Harbridge

“Salience and the Government Provision of Public Goods” by Matthew Wibbenmeyer, Sarah Anderson, & Andrew J. Platinga

“Trump May Reverse U.S. Climate Policy But Will Have Trouble Dismantling EPA” by Sarah Anderson

“Partisan Bias and Policy Outcomes” by Laurel Harbridge

“Americans Say Congress Is Listening to All the Wrong People” by Laurie Kellman & Emily Swanson

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