Political science professor explores advocacy in politics
KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 8, 2021) — The old adage posits that polite conversation does not include politics or religion.
Kennesaw State assistant professor of political science J. Benjamin Taylor asks, “Why not?”
Taylor has co-authored a book called Political Advocacy and American Politics: Why People Fight So Often About Politics, in which he and Georgia State University associate professor of political science Sean Richey argue that political advocacy—trying to persuade someone of your viewpoint while remaining civil and recognizing their humanity—is part and parcel of a functioning democracy.
“Political advocacy is an important component of democratic citizenship,” Taylor said. “Despite the fact that it could result in conflict, it should be seen as a net positive.”
The research that led to the book started with a question that appears on a post-election survey from the American National Election Study, which has been conducted after every national election since the 1950s. That question asks respondents if they’ve tried to persuade another person toward their point of view. Taylor said positive responses to the question remained low until the early 2000s. In 2016, nearly 40 percent of respondents said yes, they had indeed engaged in political advocacy. Taylor chalked it up to the increasing polarization in American society.
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