Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College 2nd Edition
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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
About the Author
- Publisher : Colonial Press L.P.; 2nd edition (September 3, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 266 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0977072223
- ISBN-13 : 978-0977072224
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.75 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #202,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College
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Many think that the Electoral College is an eighteenth-century anachronism, but the author shows that it is not out of date and still functions as intended in the early twenty-first century.
The late Tim Russert used to have a great analogy--he stated that the popular vote is like total yardage in a football game. To put points on the board in a presidential election, though, he used to say, you had to carry an entire state, just as you have to get a touchdown or field goal to put points on the board in football. I don't know whether Russert was a supporter of the Electoral College, but the clear lesson from the analogy is that wanting to have the presidency decided by the popular vote is about as rational as thinking that a football game should be won by the team with the most total yardage. Ross also notes that it is possible for a political party to have won less than half the votes nationwide for the House or Senate but could still hold a majority of seats in both chambers, and there is no outcry over that fact.
Ross also lists the problems with the proposed replacements for the Electoral College, and has an appendix of election results. The foreword by George Will is very good. "Enlightened Democracy" is a convincing case for the Electoral College. It is the best way to elect a president in an imperfect world, and I would continue to say that even if someday a candidate I supported won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote.
Top reviews from other countries
If you have ever wondered what may justify the preservation of an election system that does not automatically make the winner of the nationwide popular vote the president, this book is certainly a good place to start.