Expressive Politics: Issue Strategies of Congressional Challengers. By Robert G. Boatright. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004. 280p. $44.95.
In an era in which fewer and fewer congressional elections are competitive, why do candidates emerge at all to challenge entrenched incumbents who typically preside over very safe districts? In this book, Robert Boatright provides us with an explanation for this phenomenon. Not all challengers think they have a chance at beating the incumbent; in fact, most are quite aware that they will almost certainly lose and lose big in the general election. Furthermore, because these candidates are not running to win the election, they tend to run different campaigns, many of which are focused on highlighting certain issues and expressing certain political points of view. This is what the author means by “expressive politics.”