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Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 9, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
The monumental difficulty of running for president of the United States as a third party or independent candidate is the subject of this informative but sometimes tedious chronicle by Ralph NaderÖs former campaign manager, who frames her crusade to get Nader onto the ballots in the 2000 and 2004 elections as a stand to give voters more voices and more choices. An NYU law school graduate, Amato brings a lawyerÖs sensibility to the book and details the endless technicalities, lawsuits and court rulings that NaderÖs team faced. This diligent chronicling could be essential reading for anyone planning to mount or advise an independent or third party run for president, but it is hard to imagine that the general reader will be captivated by the rented office space scandal of June 2004 and other such complications. Despite the bookÖs flaws, Amato displays an encyclopedic knowledge of election law, and her recommendations for election reform, including a comprehensive plan for Federal Administration and Financing of Elections, are crucial contributions to the debate over election law. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
—John Anderson, former Independent presidential candidate and chair of the Center for Voting and Democracy
"Theresa Amato takes the biggest swing--not a jab, but a roundhouse punch--at America's corrupt electoral system."
Top customer reviews
THIS IS TOUGH SLEDDING BUT WOW….WHAT TRUTHS ARE IN THIS BOOK !!! DO NOT BUY IF YOU ARE A DIEHARD DEM OR REP. THIS IS FOR INDEPENDENT SHARP THINKERS. YEP !! I AM ENTITLED TO MY OPINION.
The book is written, and extremely well at that, by the campaign manager for the Nader campaigns of 2000 and 2004. You don't have to be a fan of Ralph Nader to sympathize with what their team had to go through, you could be a fan of Ross Perot, John Anderson, George Wallace, or any independent candidate. Doesn't matter.
Read it and weep. Or better yet, act.
Edit of 18 Jun 09 to add two books by others and downgrade own books to unlinked mention.
Do not be surprised if your vote "disappears". Amazon has the idea that anyone who votes for more than one of my reviews is a "fan" and should not count. We are all at the mercy of their control of the system.
I am giving this book five stars instead of four because it is the de facto "Bunker Hill" of our 21st Century Nation, doing for politics what Silent Spring did for the environment.
The book needs to be re-issued immediately in paperback with four additions that should themselves be offered free online: an annotated bibliography that properly embraces those who have gone before; an annotated legal list of cases; a list of the worst of the 527's; and a Presidential Decision Memorandum that itemizes the Electoral Reform Act of 2009.
The book does not acknowledge work by many including William Greider, e.g. Who Will Tell The People? : The Betrayal Of American Democracy or Greg Palast, e.g. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. The latter bears on the author's being unwitting about Al Gore being bought off in Florida (today he is worth $100 million), with Warren Christopher carrying the offer from Wall Street.
That having been said, this is a SENSATIONAL BOOK not least because for the first time it has gotten Ron Paul to endorse a book and to talk to Ralph Nader in constructive terms--I pray this means that Ralph Nader is now ready to play well with others, including Cynthia McKinney and Jackie Salit.
I have goosebumps as I write this and a huge smile. This book is the first shot at our Bunker Hill and the government Of, By, and For the Banks (see the image I have loaded) is on the run, Goldman Sachs is finishing up its looting of the US Treasury, and I for one am appalled at the lack of integrity across the Senate--John McCain included--in failing to stop this under Bush and now under Obama--what better evidence do we need that this book by this author is "on target"? See Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders;The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy);Obama: The Postmodern Coup - Making of a Manchurian Candidate; and Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency among many others.
Here are my fly-leaf notes, followed by an itemization of the book's concluding thoughts and other recommended reading.
For me the gem of gems in this book is on page 253, and I quote the author directly: "Whether you can vote--and whether your vote counts--depends primarily on where you live."
In many states such as Florida, 25% of the male black population has been convicted of a felony, served its time, and is still not allowed to vote. I agree this needs to change. [See Intro note 3 for citation].
Across the entire book, using the two Nader campaigns as a source of actual experience--this is non-fiction at its very best--non-fiction of great consequence I might add--the author documents the degree to which state documentation requirements and voting procedures vary "wildly" and can also be intimidating.
Citing Steven Hill and his book Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics PB, the author quotes Hill: "Winner take all is horse & buggy technology."
The Libertarian Party is mentioned six times, but not recognized by the author as a "main" third party, something I hope Ron Paul's endorsement of this book will change. I URGE THE PUBLISHER TO PAY ATTENTION: this book needs to be issued in paperback immediately, with the four additions detailed above.
I learn an enormous amount in this book, which is certain to be an academic, business, and political classic for years to come.
Terry McAuliffe is an unethical pig. Democratic Party under McAuliffe destroyed Nader's prospects, to include libeling him and creating massive published misrepresentation. I learn from the author that "You can get away with libel if you put it in a lawsuit."
"Campaigns are simultaneously over-regulated, under-regulated, and ineffectively regulated." The entire book documents this assertion.
$250,000 a day is what needs to be raised to be a Presidential candidate.
527s are not only out of control and use the federal complaints progress as well as state by state law suits to put third party campaigns into grid-lock.
3rd parties are not offered Secret Service protection (and in my view need it the most)
Press is a trivializing factor to point that 45% of the public now ignores the press (but I would add, still has no solid "truth teller" to rely upon).
Good chapter on the Presidential Debate Commission which is an unethical and unofficial fraud created to exclude Third Parties, and which uses the police to block third party candidates from even being in attendance.
Over 6 million "lost votes" across the Nation. Diebold is trash (I already knew that, but the book does a fine job of documenting Diebold's criminal insecurity.
Observers are blocked from vote counting by being called "threats to security." I have a note, "Insanity prevails."
I learn there is a National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) which is important, since it was this position that stole the election for Bush in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.
The concluding review covers:
Absentee & early Voting
Military & Overseas Votes
The recommendations for reform are comprehensive:
Eliminate Electoral College
Add Affirmative Right to Vote
Federalize Federal elections
Federal Administration (24 specifics)
State-Level Reforms (25 specifics)
For a shorter eight-point version, search for <Electoral Reform Act oss.net>. The book ends with thoughts on the consequences of doing nothing. I urge one and all to demand of Obama an Electoral Reform Act of 2009, which itself should be defined by a nation-wide virtual summit among all interested voters.
Three other books of note:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life
The People's Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy
I have offered up free online all of the books from Earth Intelligence Network, at oss.net/BOOKS (add the www), and especially recommend the annotated bibliography at oss.net/PIG, as it is a virtual "Citizen's Reader" and my summaries of 500+ books across a range of topics relevant to restoring the goodness of America at home and abroad can be helpful in arming those who mean to government themselves with the power of knowledge. The three best books here at Amazon (out of links) are:
ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig
NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political
COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
Resist the Borg. Do not be assimilated. Demand Electoral Reform NOW.
This book explains how the laws and two parties hold back independents and third parties. But the Plurality Voting System also does this. To learn how to fight this, also check out:
1. Single-Winner Systems Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It)
2. Multi-Winner Systems Real Choices / New Voices
This book also complements Amato's:No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates