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Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College (2nd Edition) Paperback – September 3, 2012
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"Tara Ross has done an outstanding job of combining historical analysis with clear-thinking logic." --Edwin Meese III, former U.S. Attorney General
"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
Following the contested election of 2000, opponents of the Electoral College were swift to dismiss the institution as outdated and elitist, an anachronism that should be replaced by a direct popular vote. Many of the nationâs most prominent liberal politicians â" from Senator Hillary Clinton to House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt â" called for the institution to be abolished in order to "respect the will of the people."
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College