Anatomy of a Purple State

A North Carolina Politics Primer

By Christopher A. Cooper

Anatomy of a Purple State

Approx. 216 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 1 halftone, 1 fig, 19 graphs, 2 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8171-9
    Published: October 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8170-2
    Published: October 2024

Paperback Available October 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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North Carolina represents a perfect distillation of the promise and peril of modern American democracy: hyperpartisanship, gerrymandering, dissatisfaction with the two-party system, the rural/urban divide—these issues are all brought into sharp relief in the Tar Heel State. For that reason, North Carolina politics and government are increasingly of interest not just to North Carolina citizens but to journalists, political observers, and people across the country. Political scientist Christopher A. Cooper, to whom the national media go when they need a quote about North Carolina politics, offers a primer made for all people, no matter their political leanings.

Readers will be introduced to everything that has made North Carolina the most purple of purple states—from the state constitution and the influence of think tanks to the growing racial diversity of the state and the limitations on the governor's power. By explaining how we came to be in the political situation we are in, Cooper shows us where we might go next. And, as many have said, "As North Carolina goes, so goes the nation."

About the Author

Christopher A. Cooper is the Madison Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs and director of the Haire Institute for Public Policy at Western Carolina University. In addition to two books, he has written for numerous publications, including The Assembly, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Charlotte Observer, and the News and Observer.
For more information about Christopher A. Cooper, visit the Author Page.


"Cooper deftly describes how North Carolina grew from a one-party state of the Old South into the purple state we have today. As a primer on North Carolina state politics, this is as good as it gets."—Jim Morrill, former political reporter for the Charlotte Observer

"Chris Cooper has written an articulate, thoughtful book that describes and elucidates modern North Carolina politics, the politics of 'purple' states more broadly, and, in some respects, US politics as a whole."—Irwin Morris, North Carolina State University