Journalists pay much more attention to predictions, turnout and results of midterm elections than to the ways that citizens participate in politics between elections. For the 60 million Americans who report being involved in voluntary associations, elections are only one way in which they advocate for issues, hold elected officials accountable and build constituencies. How do these individuals as well as business groups and advocacy organizations influence changing patterns in non-electoral civic participation?
Over the next two weeks, the Monkey Cage will post responses to this question from members of the Scholars Strategy Network Civic Engagement Working Group. They will address the causes and consequences of non-electoral civic participation. Can this participation be harnessed for electoral turnout as well as for ongoing base building for advocacy organizations? Does business involvement in grass-roots mobilization and advocacy make participation less equal? Do new technologies mitigate possible inequalities? What do patterns of participation and advocacy look like around specific issues? Civic participation between elections has implications for American politics that extends beyond the outcome of any single election. The series will examine how the long-term strategies of movements and advocacy groups on both the right and the left extend beyond elections and significantly shape policy landscapes and outcomes.
Lina Stepick is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and coordinates the Scholars Strategy Network Civic Engagement Working Group.