“At the individual level, political psychologists have repeatedly shown that agenda setting and issue salience are subject to elite cues and elite manipulation. By selectively focusing individuals’ attention on some issues rather than on others, partisan elites can indirectly manipulate levels of trust. When one set of partisan elites has political incentives to increase political trust while another set has reasons to depress it, the likely result is the polarization of political trust along partisan or ideological lines. Such polarization makes it difficult to forge consensus and govern.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 70.

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“If economic performance is the engine that drives political trust, that engine needs to work about four times as hard for about four times as long to raise trust as it does to lower it.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 70.

 

“…polarization at the elite level ought to contribute to less political trust for two reasons. Loud disagreements between party elites will raise public concerns about legislative processes. In addition, polarization decreases the likelihood that Congress will produce a meaningful record of legislative accomplishment. For both reasons, polarization ought to cause political trust to decline.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 58.

“If polarized governments are less likely to succeed in passing legislation to deal effectively with the nation’s social and economic challenges, then why would Americans trust them?” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 58.

“Since human beings tend to overweight negative information…, more people will identify the economy as an important problem when it is relatively bad… When the economy is relatively good, however, salience will be lower. By implication, fewer people will judge the government based on how it is performing during good times than bad ones.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 53.

“The length and breadth of the economic expansions in both the Reagan and Clinton years produced economies that were sometimes even stronger than those of the post-World War II years. Although the mid-1980s and late 1990s both saw increases in political trust, in neither period did trust approach the level it had attained in 1972, much less in 1958 or 1964. Simply put, a performance-based account is, by itself, incomplete.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 49.

 

“The fact that trust in government is both historically low and more polarized by party than ever before explains why Washington does not work in the early twenty-first century. In the end, problems remain unresolved; a governing crisis persists.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 42.

 

“Despite the link between mass preferences and public policy, scholars of public opinion have repeatedly shown that citizens’ initial policy preferences are quite sensitive to how their elites talk about politics… This implies that citizens’ policy preferences are first led by political elites and only later lead the decisions of political elites. We would like to think that the relationship between the governed and their governors is largely bottom up: the people start with strong beliefs and preferences about a political matter, and their representatives work to reflect it. This is seldom how the process actually works in the real political world…” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 41.

 

“The Framers conceived a set of governing institutions designed to frustrate change. Compared with most other democracies, the legislative process in the United States is a labyrinth with so many potential choke points that it is something of a miracle that legislative accomplishments occur at all.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 39.

“The existence of policy consensus in the electorate can give institutions a nudge. But without it, those who occupy those institutions need not be particularly concerned with public opinion.” – Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph, Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), p. 39.