Contest time: time, territory, and representation in the postmodern electoral crisis
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Prior generations’ electoral crises (e.g., gerrymandering) have dealt mainly with political maneuverings around geographical shifts. We analyze four recent (1998–2003) American electoral crises: the Clinton impeachment controversy, the 2000 Florida presidential election, the Texas legislators’ flight to Oklahoma and New Mexico, and the California gubernatorial recall. We show that in each case temporal manipulation was at least as important as geographical. We highlight emergent electoral practices surrounding the manipulation of time, which we dub “temporal gerrymandering.” We suggest a theory of postmodern electoral crises, in which the rules of time and space are simultaneously in flux. These crises expose concerns with early American democratic theory, which was based on an understanding of “the people” as geographically and temporally unidimensional. Representative systems, therefore, were designed largely without reference to geographic and temporal complexity.
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