Jacob Smith’s book, Minority Party Misery, published and released

Assistant Research Professor Jacob Smith’s book, Minority Party Misery,  has been published and released by the University of Michigan Press.  Minority Party Misery examines the role of minority party status on politicians’ engagement in electoral politics. Jacob argues that political actors pull back from electoral politics as it becomes increasingly likely that they will be in the minority in a legislative body, particularly under conditions of high polarization and party unity. Politicians whose party will be in the majority have a clear incentive to engage in electoral politics because their preferred policies have a credible chance of passing. In contrast, it is difficult for minority party lawmakers to get a hearing on—much less advance—their preferred policies. Jacob conducts statistical analyses of electoral data focused on congressional retirements, party fundraising, candidate entry, and party recruitment dating back several decades to test his hypotheses. Finding support for his main thesis, Jacob’s findings have importance implications for democratic governance as the minority party loses some of its most effective politicians. The loss of this talent diminishes the minority’s ability to serve as a loyal opposition party and reduces their capacity to govern successfully when they eventually reassume the majority.