Examining politics in Idaho through the lens of ideology (i.e., conservative versus liberal) or partisanship (i.e., Democrat versus Republican) does not illuminate the more fundamental dynamics of the state’s political environment. Unlike other states that are divided on partisan or traditional ideological lines, Idaho tends to be divided between its libertarian and communitarian visions of the role of government and the place of the individual in society.
In Idaho Politics and Government, Jasper M. LiCalzi examines the complex world of Idaho politics, where morality dominates but a heartily libertarian strain of individualism keeps lawmakers from falling into the liberal versus conservative dialogue prevalent in other states. After opening with the ultrasound bill failure as a recent example of Idaho’s political culture, LiCalzi traces the influence of individuals and party factions from the 1960s through the present before moving on to the inner workings of government itself, with all its institutions and extra-governmental extensions. He closes with another recent Idaho bill concerning the topics of child support and Sharia (Islamic) law, giving readers yet another glimpse of the workings of Idaho politics and the continuing clash between the community and the individual.
Presenting a continuum of political views from an emphasis on the individual (personified by Thomas Jefferson) to a focus on community (personified by Alexander Hamilton), LiCalzi provides a new method for understanding political actions and situations in Idaho.
Introduction: Ultrasound, Abortion, and Culture Clash
1. Petit-Ideology: Political Subculture Reconstructed
2. Petit-Ideology in Idaho: The Rise of the Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians
3. The Idaho State Constitution: Shield for the Wilsonian
4. State Legislature: Microcosm and Mystery
5. Idaho’s Governor: Hamiltonian in a Jeffersonian Executive Branch
6. The State Judiciary: Idaho’s Sapless Branch
7. Local Government: The Lilliputians of Idaho
8. Interest Groups in Idaho: Trying to Measure Influence
9. Political Parties: What’s the Matter with Idaho?
10. Intergovernmental Relations: A Clear Example of Miles’s Law
Epilogue: Child Support, Sharia Law, and Culture Clash
“Idaho Politics and Government presents a compelling and interesting examination of the state’s politics. Jasper LiCalzi’s creation of the idea of petit-ideology and his thorough exploration of Idaho politics and history to illustrate this concept force readers to reconsider their understanding of state politics within states with strong one-party systems. The implications of the addition of petit-ideology to explain state policy making around the country is exciting.”—James Stoutenborough, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Idaho State University