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Nelson W. Polsby

Biography: 

Heller Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley.

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Recent Commentary

WINDS OF CHANGE: Politics After Sept. 11

with Newt Gingrich, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, July 18, 2002

The war on terrorism has created unique ideological challenges for both ends of the American political spectrum. Does the left, long opposed to the exercise of U.S. military power, risk irrelevance by opposing the war on terror? How does the libertarian wing of the right, long opposed to big government, respond to its expanding role in protecting our security? How has President Bush's conduct of the war on terrorism affected his chances for reelection in 2004?

THE GRAND OLD, OLD PARTY: The Future of the Republican Party

with Newt Gingrich, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The presidential election of 2000 highlighted the significant demographic divisions between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The strength of the Republicans lies in the South and in the middle of the country. But the voters that carried those regions for George W. Bush, mostly white and Protestant, are shrinking as a proportion of the overall United States population. Are these demographic changes a serious problem for the Republicans? If so, what can they do to bring groups that have traditionally been Democratic—Hispanics, blacks, and Catholics, for example—into the Republican Party?

PRIMARY COLORS: The Presidential Primary System

with Newt Gingrich, Shanto Iyengar, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, March 14, 2000

In the 2000 presidential campaign, Gore and Bush locked-up their nominations almost six months before their parties' conventions. The Democratic and Republican national conventions, formerly full of high-stakes drama as the party delegates chose their presidential tickets, are now little more than formalities. Is the presidential primary system in need of reform or is it working just fine? Does the front-loading of the primary season make it impossible for a dark horse candidate to build a campaign? Do the political parties have too much power in the process or not enough?

THIS OLD HOUSE: The U.S. House of Representatives

with Newt Gingrich, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, March 14, 2000

The House of Representatives is a venerable institution, now more than 200 years old. Is the structure of the institution itself appropriate to the demands of our modern, rapidly changing democracy? What reforms did Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress of 1994 make to the House? Were his reforms just partisan fix-it jobs or were they much-needed repairs for the long-term? Is it even possible to make long-term changes to the House?

POLITICS FROM THE BLEACHERS: The State of American Politics

with Morris P. Fiorina, Richard Brody, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, December 15, 1998

Will the recent presidential crisis have a long-term impact on the nation and its government or just on the legacy of one man? Which party will emerge victorious in the elections of the year 2000? Richard Brody, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, Morris Fiorina, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, and Nelson Polsby, Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, and Heller Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley discuss American politics today.

Campaign Finance: Roll Back the Reforms

by David Brady, Nelson W. Polsby, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David Brady and Berkeley political scientist Nelson W. Polsby believe we need fewer limits on political contributions, not more. An interview by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

POLITICAL TECTONICS

with David Brady, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 7, 1997

Nelson Polsby, professor of political science, University of California, Berkeley and Hoover Fellow David Brady discuss the implications of Republican houses of Congress and a Democratic president.