This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to provide an answer to the question: “Who governs” America when Americans live in so many types of places and under so many types of government? It argues for the need to look beyond the forces that shape national politics and consider the factors that influence local politics, particularly local elections. By reexamining local government in terms of their size, scope, and bias, we can restate the question of “who governs” as a question of how does changing the size, scope, or bias of a small-scale democracy affect the ability of its citizens to govern themselves? Or, more importantly, to what extent does changing the size, scope, and bias of a municipality fundamentally alter the distribution of power and resources within a locality?
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