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Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College (2nd Edition) Paperback – September 3, 2012
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"Tara Ross writes with cogency, analytical force, and practical insight." --Kenneth W. Starr, former Independent Counsel and Dean of Pepperdine Law School
"Reader friendly" - "Better still, Ross's defense is no curmudgeonly conservative plea for respecting tradition. It is a full throated roar." --Bradley A. Smith, FEC Commissioner
From the Publisher
The critics are wrong, and this book shows why. Written in straightforward language, Enlightened Democracy traces the history of the Electoral College from the Constitutional Convention to the present, and along the way it explains why the Framers took such pride in their now-controversial creation. After reading this book the case is clear: The Electoral College doesnât ignore the will of the people, but it does protect our republic and promote our liberty. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The Electoral College was a thoroughly researched system of checks and balances worked into the fabric of the U.S. voting system. In her study of the electoral system, Ms. Ross does an excellent job of explaining the thought processes that went behind this invention of our founding fathers. She also delves into the anomalies of such contentious elections as the 1888 and 2000 campaigns, giving thought provoking reasons as to why these elections demonstrate the success of the electoral college, rather than the demise of an anachronistic electoral machine.
"Enlighened Democracy" is a great choice for anyone who left the 2000 election worrying that our voting system is antiquated or problem - riddled. Ms. Ross deliberately explains the founding fathers' plan and shows how that plan has succeeded in its intentions time and again.
In addition to tracing the Electoral College's history and making the case that it is a valuable institution for modern America, Ross also does a good job of showing how the system has served over time. She makes the point that it forces candidates to run national (as opposed to regional) campaigns and that it has helped many a candidate with a small popular vote majority gain enough legitimacy to govern effectively (as it did for Bill Clinton in 1992).
All in all this is a fascinating book on an often misunderstood topic. From the introduction by George Will to the discussion of the Constitutional Convention, Enlightened Democracy is readable, enjoyable, and long overdue.
We are all Americans, it is true. But some live in cities, some have agrarian lives. There are big states and small states (again, large in size and population). Some are industrial; others are centers of banking and others of politics. Some rely on a strong presence by the military for economic survival. There are many other configurations. For too many, the few TV shows we watch become the common reality and we assume that if it makes sense to a talking head on the tube it must make sense in the real world. It does not! The perfect example is the famed movie critic Pauline Kael's reaction when McGovern was destroyed by Nixon in the 1972 Presidential election. She asked a friend, "How can this be? No one I know voted for Nixon." All of us live in a truncated subset of the real world.
The founders understood this and believed that the proper role for government was to have the work done as close to the people as possible and the various States then had much more power than they do today. Maybe there is a good reason for this change of power from the states to Washington D.C., maybe not. However, the Federal government is still a creature representing a vast array of lives. One of the strengths of our system is its ability to require compromise and to thwart rashness. Almost no one gets what he or she wants or believes is best.
One of the wonderful inventions of the founders was the use of the Electoral College in choosing our Chief Executive.Read more ›
You come away from this book with a clear understanding of the importance of the Electoral College and the ways in which it protects our political systems.
A close reading of this book leaves the reader with insights into the Founders' goals and reasoning and immense appreciation of their genius in creating a form of government that has survived and met the needs of its citizens for over 200 years.
However, Tara Ross ably refutes the major challenges to the Electoral College in this volume, "Enlightened Democracy." Ross discusses the challenges the Founders faced at the Constitutional Convention and how the adoption of the Electoral College protected the principle of majority rule and minority rights; how it saw after the interests of both large states and small states; how it avoided pure democracy but still ensured that the people would decide the election; and how it was a federalist solution that ensured both the people and the states would play a role.
Ross explains the problems that would ensue with election by popular vote, and shows how the Electoral College ensures that by requiring a president to win support across most if not all regions of the country, an elected president must serve the country as a whole rather than just see after the interests of one or two regions or groups of voters. Our current system is built to try to prevent a dangerous extremist with a narrow base of support from ever being elected--as many have stated, if there had been something like an Electoral College in Weimar Germany, Hitler would very likely not have been able to come to power.
Many think that the Electoral College is an eighteenth-century anachronism, but the author shows that it is not out of date and still functions as intended in the early twenty-first century.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good read. A bit dry but given the topic the author did a good job. This should be required reading for high school students.Published 1 month ago by komalley65
Good book! Explains need for electoral college very concisely!Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
I actually wrote a 4,000 pages essay on why the Electoral College does not function and this book actually worked pretty good. Read morePublished on July 9, 2014 by Ericka Manjarrez
Great read, much more enlightened on the process and it's impetus. This should be a must read for high school and college students of politics.Published on April 26, 2014 by shawn wallace