To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College Paperback – January 15, 2008
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
These essays in defense of the Electoral College, edited by Gregg (The Presidential Republic), a professor of leadership at the University of Louisville, echo the conservative ethos: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Admittedly, the college is a peculiar constitutional institution; each state is given a number of "electors" who in turn vote in each state for the president, in most cases on a winner-take-all basis. So candidates actually must win states, and can as with Gore win the popular vote and lose the presidency. Peculiar indeed, but the scholars assembled here among them Walter Berns, Andrew E. Busch and Daniel Patrick Moynihan argue that the Electoral College has "done much good and very little ill in American history." The college makes of the states more than just administrative units, giving them a voice in national affairs. Bush the younger won, after all, by only one electoral vote, so each electoral vote counts and candidates must pay attention to the diverse regions of the country. Minorities are empowered as they tend to be concentrated and their influence is most felt in state voting. Parties must moderate their stances to appeal to voters across a diverse continental nation, and the winner-take-all system helps reinforce a stable two-party system. Unfortunately, the wisdom here is sullied by too much sectarian silliness. Those on a certain side of the abortion debate, for instance, are labeled "advocates of infanticide," and those questioning the Electoral College are "discontented demagogues" or "shameless demagogues." But a system in which voter turnout in presidential elections averages 50% might legitimately raise some questions, and the authors here would do well to temper their tone lest they be seen as more concerned with defending Bush's election than with the fate of the republic.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Gregg (Univ. of Louisville; The Presidential Republic) here assembles seven essays by political scholars expressing support for the Electoral College. The essays argue that the current structure of the Electoral College maintains our two-party system, keeps our federal and constitutional procedures intact, and has only failed to produce electoral mandates in four elections since 1804. Essays by Gregg and Andrew Bush (Univ. of Denver) provide a good summary of the origin of the Electoral College and then detail changes made to the procedure by the 12th Amendment and by federal statutes. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's essay offers insight into an earlier attempt to change the voting system in 1979. Contributors Paul A. Rahe (Univ. of Tulsa) and Michael M. Uhlmann (Claremont McKenna Coll.) resort to invective rather than informative language against those wanting to amend or eliminate the Electoral College. Public and academic libraries purchasing this book should also purchase Lawrence D. Longley's The Electoral College Primer (LJ 10/15/96) for a more thorough examination of the Electoral College. Joyce M. Cox, Nevada State Lib. & Archives, Carson City, NV
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Republicans did not always defend the Electoral College. Among the party stalwarts who voted to abolish it in 1969 were Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Robert Dole. When the day comes that Republicans see their prospects of winning are hurt by the Electoral College, then it would not be surprising to see them again change their position on this issue.
The fact is there are both benefits and drawbacks to the Electoral College, (as there are to any of the alternatives). The authors emphasize the former, while minimizing the latter. One benefit is to discourage regional candidates who may be very popular in one part of the country, but who need to win electoral votes from more than a single region to win the election. Another purported benefit is to discourage third parties, thus reinforcing the two-party system.
Though direct election of the president is not the only alternative to the Electoral College, the authors contend the status quo works better than direct elections would. Here are likely consequences of direct elections:
* Spawning a variety of splinter and single-issue parties, thus undermining the two-party system.
* Requiring a run-off election between the top two candidates to ensure the winner gets a majority of the popular votes.
* Incentivizing political deals before run-off elections between the major and minor candidates.
* Undermining our federal system in favor of a national system. “Every diminution of the states in an age of centralization portends further diminution.”
Michael Barone and M.M. Uhlmann make the case that the Electoral College leads candidates and parties toward the middle of the political spectrum, muting conflict and doctrine in order to gain a majority of electoral votes. By contrast, under direct election, “incentives toward moderation…would be severely weakened.” This supposed pressure for moderation and compromise, however, has not worked well during the Obama administration.
The predictions proved wrong about a constitutional crisis in 2000 when the candidate with the most popular votes lost in electoral votes. The public largely accepted the outcome, and talk in Congress about changing the system was short-lived.
Nonetheless, one shortcoming of the status quo is getting worse. There were 20 swing states in 1976. Analysts are predicting that by the 2016 election, there will be only seven or eight swing states, a number that has been steadily shrinking. That means the presidential candidates will spend almost all of their time and money campaigning in the handful of battleground states, while ignoring the reliably red and blue states.
It is no surprise that voter turnout is much higher in swing states than in the rest of the country where the winner of all of a state’s electoral vote is easily predictable. In short, popular votes matter a whole lot more in the few swing states than in most of the nation. In addition, the battleground states receive 7 percent more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, and more exemptions from Superfund enforcement and No Child Left Behind.
There is a viable reform underway that would ensure that every vote in every state would matter. It is a proposal that does not abolish the Electoral College, and therefore retains its benefits without the drawbacks of direct election. It is called the National Popular Vote. Ten states and the District of Columbia have so far enacted the NPV law, which would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country. This proposal preserves the Electoral College, but requires that all of the states participating in the intra-state compact will – once the compact is operational – direct that all of their electoral votes be cast for the candidate who wins the most popular votes nationally. No amendment is needed to the Constitution, which already authorizes states to decide how electoral votes are chosen.
The eleven jurisdictions that have signed on possess 165 electoral votes, which is 61 percent of the 270 needed to activate the compact. Newt Gingrich and Jim Edgar have endorsed this plan, as have some GOP legislators in various states. In Illinois, for example, Senators Bill Brady, Frank Watson, and Kirk Dillard voted for the NPV bill when it passed in 2007. Up-to-date information can be found at http://nationalpopularvote.com/
The electoral vote ensures that the winner of the white house has broad popular support in many states of the union, and not just the 10 most populous states.
The current indivual Federal Electoral COmmission and the various other federal statutes limiting individual campaign donations of individual persons also need to be repealed so that what remains by law is only a reasonably transparent type reporting requirment for campaign donations exceeding $ 500.00 per person, but no limits on donations from individual private citizens to candidates for federal state and local public offices. Donations from corporations, unions, and foreign governments should still be prohibited too. Then , U.S. citizens will be able to look up on the internet who is giving how much to which candidate for office (incumbent or challenger). They can then decide who they might wish to vote for.
Dr.. Gregg, won't you please consider making an ebook version? If you need help, I'd be glad to help you with it (without charge). Just email me.
Most recent customer reviews
Thank you Dr Gregg