Half of America's eligible citizens fail to cast a presidential ballot and many more than half routinely ignore state and local elections. Does this phenomenon point to a crisis of democracy or does such behavior simply reflect indifference - or even contentment - among the public? This book explores this and other questions and examines the well being of the country's civic condition at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Grounded in a communication perspective, the fundamental nature of a democracy is viewed as that of a civic dialogue - an ongoing conversation between elected leaders or political candidates and the citizens they lead or wish to lead. Accordingly, the studies presented in this volume examine civic sphere and the electoral process as a communicative interaction between elected officials, political candidates, the media, and citizens.