The Constitution is the fundamental governing document of the United States. But to what extent do candidates and parties make constitutional arguments in the course of American elections? By examining party platforms, candidate messages, presidential debates, and television ads, The Constitution on the Campaign Trail answers that question, and the results are fascinating. Busch finds evidence for both a long, broad decline in the use of constitutional rhetoric since the mid-19th century and a limited resurgence in that rhetoric over the last four decades. The political analysis found here is firmly grounded in historical research and the conclusions reached are trenchant.
Andrew E. Busch is professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of Reagan's Victory: The Presidential Election of 1980 and the Rise of the Right and coauthor (with James Ceaser) of Red Over Blue: The Election of 2004 and American Politics.
Chapter 1 The Constitution and Electoral Politics Chapter 2 The Constitution in the Party Platforms Chapter 3 The Constitution in Candidate Message Chapter 4 The Constitution in Television Advertising Chapter 5 The Constitution in Presidential Debates Chapter 6 The Constitution and Third Parties Chapter 7 Constitutional Rhetoric and Governing Chapter 8 Conclusion: Constitutional Rhetoric and Its Prospects Chapter 9 Appendices Chapter 10 Endnotes