MSU Assoc. Professor Dr. Matt Grossman presents Asymmetric Politics

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 7:00pm

Schuler Books & Music
1982 Grand River Ave
Okemos, MI 48864

Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats Cover Image
ISBN: 9780190626600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now-Click on title for location specific availability.
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 7th, 2016

"Not many books change how you think about American politics. This one will. Grossmann and Hopkins' research decisively shows that the two parties are not the same-and once you understand the ways in which they're different, American politics begins to make a lot more sense." --Ezra Klein, Editor-in-Chief, Vox

"In this detailed and well-argued book, Grossmann and Hopkins present formidable evidence against a still-too-common depiction of American parties, which views their 'polarization' as a consequence of their equivalent march away from some imagined middle. Asymmetric Politics encourages a badly-needed re-examination of the very distinctive internal workings and strategic choices of Democrats and Republicans." --
Paul Pierson, John Gross Professor of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley, and co-author of Winner-Take-All Politics

"This deeply clarifying book not only helps us gain a better grasp of our polarized politics, it also helps to show how the methods of political science can help bridge the gap between the theory and practice of American political life-bringing the former down to earth and lifting the latter toward a more coherent understanding of itself. It is required reading in this confusing time." --
Yuval Levin, editor, National Affairs

“Grossmann and Hopkins provide a fresh and incisive analysis of the state of America’s party politics. Analyzing evidence including campaign speeches, party platforms, public opinion surveys, and Congressional voting patterns, they argue that the contemporary GOP has become a vehicle for an ideological movement, while Democrats aim at distributing benefits to groups in their partisan coalition.” - Steven Schier, Choice

Why do Republican politicians promise to rein in government, only to face repeated rebellions from Republican voters and media critics for betraying their principles? Why do Democratic politicians propose an array of different policies to match the diversity of their supporters, only to become mired in stark demographic divisions over issue priorities? In short, why do the two parties act so differently-whether in the electorate, on the campaign trail, or in public office?

Asymmetric Politics offers a comprehensive explanation: The Republican Party is the vehicle of an ideological movement while the Democratic Party is a coalition of social groups. Republican leaders prize conservatism and attract support by pledging loyalty to broad values. Democratic leaders instead seek concrete government action, appealing to voters' group identities and interests by endorsing specific policies.

Meet Dr. Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University as he presents his book Asymmetric Politics, co-authored with David A. Hopkins.

This fresh and comprehensive investigation reveals how Democrats and Republicans think differently about politics, rely on distinct sources of information, argue past one another, and pursue divergent goals in government. It provides a rigorous new understanding of contemporary polarization and governing dysfunction while demonstrating how longstanding features of American politics and public policy reflect our asymmetric party system.

About the Author

Matt Grossmann serves as the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR.) A nationally known political scientist, he also holds a position as Associate Professor (link is external) of Political Science at Michigan State University.

As an expert on American politics and government, his research spans national and state policymaking, election campaigns, interest groups, and political parties. His current work explores key differences (link is external) between major political parties and economic inequality in policy influence.

He is the author of Artists of the Possible (link is external): Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945, published by Oxford University Press in 2014 and The Not-So-Special Interests (link is external): Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance, published by Stanford University Press in 2012.

He is author of numerous journal articles on such topics as policy change, political party networks, the legislative process and public opinion. His research appears in the Journal of Politics, Policy Studies Journal, Perspectives on Politics, American Politics Research and other outlets. He is also co-author of Campaigns & Elections, a textbook available through W. W. Norton, and editor of the volume New Directions in Interest Group Politics, from Routledge. He also writes for blogs (link is external) and popular media (link is external).

His roots are also deep in practical politics, especially in candidate training, policy and survey research. His experience includes work at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Center for Voting and Democracy and the Center for Democracy and Technology. He served as a fellow for the Sunlight Foundation and co-authored a book for use in campaign leadership institutes.

A member of MSU’s faculty since 2007, he is founder and director of the Michigan Policy Network (link is external) and served as liaison to MSU’s Washington Semester Program (link is external).

He received his bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College, his master’s in political science in 2002 and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007. He became IPPSR director in January 2016. Matt is available by phone (517) 355-6672, by email at grossm63 at, on Twitter @mattgrossmann (link is external) and at (link is external)