Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jan 14, 2020 - Political Science - 288 pages
A brilliant condemnation of political hobbyism—treating politics like entertainment—and a call to arms for well-meaning, well-informed citizens who consume political news, but do not take political action.

Who is to blame for our broken politics? The uncomfortable answer to this question starts with ordinary citizens with good intentions. We vote (sometimes) and occasionally sign a petition or attend a rally. But we mainly “engage” by consuming politics as if it’s a sport or a hobby. We soak in daily political gossip and eat up statistics about who’s up and who’s down. We tweet and post and share. We crave outrage. The hours we spend on politics are used mainly as pastime.

Instead, we should be spending the same number of hours building political organizations, implementing a long-term vision for our city or town, and getting to know our neighbors, whose votes will be needed for solving hard problems. We could be accumulating power so that when there are opportunities to make a difference—to lobby, to advocate, to mobilize—we will be ready. But most of us who are spending time on politics today are focused inward, choosing roles and activities designed for our short-term pleasure. We are repelled by the slow-and-steady activities that characterize service to the common good.

In Politics Is for Power, pioneering and brilliant data analyst Eitan Hersh shows us a way toward more effective political participation. Aided by political theory, history, cutting-edge social science, as well as remarkable stories of ordinary citizens who got off their couches and took political power seriously, this book shows us how to channel our energy away from political hobbyism and toward empowering our values.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Tufts University political science professor Hersh argues in this earnest yet somewhat mislabeled debut that “political hobbyism,” the practice of obsessively consuming political news without engaging ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
PART I
13
Staten Island Staten Island Take Me In
20
Rooting for the Team
29
Precinct 206
37
Voting or Not
46
Like Share Click
59
Selfish Donor Selfie Donor
74
PART III
107
Outrage and Compromise
117
Bringing Out the Worst in Us
127
Gateway Slacktivism
134
PART IV
145
Rage Against the Machine
160
The Verbalist Elite
170
Fear and Fate
182

PART II
85
Whose Hobby?
94
Politically Spiritual but Not Religious
101
PART V
197
ToDo Lists
210
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2020)

Eitan Hersh received a PhD from Harvard University in 2011. He served for six years on the faculty of Yale University as assistant professor of political science and resident fellow of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies before becoming a tenured associate professor of political science at Tufts University. His peer-reviewed articles have been published in the major political science journals. Hersh is the author of Hacking the Electorate and Politics Is for Power.

Bibliographic information