Mayhew – Divided We Govern

Ginsberg and Shefter – Politics by Other Means


Complete and print out this assignment and bring to class on the assigned due date



Directions – answer the following in the space provided:


  1. David Mayhew argues, against conventional wisdom, that divided government produced by the separation of powers works as well as the unified government many critics favor.   List the five central claims Mayhew makes to support his thesis.












  1. Benjamin Ginsberg and Martin Shefter argue that as parties decline and elections become less important, politics is increasingly carried out by other means.  Explain what the authors see as the two major “other means” of this situation.










Directions – read each statement and list of answers.  Pick the best answer and circle that choice.



1. David Mayhew, in Divided We Govern, suggests that:

a) unified versus divided control of government makes little difference in the outcome of


b) a divided government writes as many laws as a unified one, but the laws are not as good.

c) a unified government is more able to attach an ideological coherence to its programs.

d) divided government is the preference of irrational voters.


2. Mayhew argues that congressional micro-management of executive affairs:

a) increases with divided government.

b) decreases with divided government.

c) is independent of divided or unified control.

d) helps end divided government by attacking presidents from other parties.




3. David Mayhew argues that:

a) the promotion of a European-style party government system will solve many of the United States'


b) "party government" schemes are a mistake.

c) the United States needs to maintain separation of powers but increase the power of the two major

                 political parties.

d) American foreign policy is not as coherent as foreign policy made under a parliamentary system.


4.  According to Benjamin Ginsberg and Martin Shefter, "politics by other means":

a) is a result of the declining importance of elections.

b) makes it difficult for the government to achieve collective national purposes.

c) leads to increased battles in the federal court system.

d) all of the above


5.  Ginsberg and Shefter see which of the following as the solution to electoral deadlock?

a) the creation of a parliamentary system in the United States

b) term limitations on officeholders

c) the inclusion of new voters in the electorate

d) more frequent presidential elections


6. According to Ginsburg and Shefter, which is not an outlet for "politics by other means"?

a) the criminal justice system

b) critical elections

c) the federal court

d) the national security apparatus