I want to recommend this book, Marc J. Hetherington's Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism. I have only begun to read it, but I have looked at three of his previous papers:
- The Political Relevance of Political Trust, APSR vol. 92, no. 4 (Dec. 1998) 791-808;
- The Effect of Political Trust on the Presidential Vote, 1968-1996, APSR vol. 93, no. 2 (June 1999) 311-326;
- Political Trust and Racial Policy Preferences, AJPS vol. 46 No. 2 (April 2002) 253-275
Part of this effort will entail reasserting popular ownership of government authority. Increasing public participation in the political process, increasing the responsiveness of government institutions, increasing transparency in process as well as substance - all of these are essential steps not only to increasing government effectiveness, but to warding off the specter of conservatism.