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Fredonia American Democracy Project (ADP)
Democracy, Electoral Process & Politics
Understanding the Fundamentals of the U. S. Presidential Election System (eBook) by This is the first book on the U.S. presidential election system to analyze the basic principles underlying the design of the existing system and those at the heart of competing proposals for improving the system. The book discusses how the use of some election rules embedded in the U.S. Constitution and in the Presidential Succession Act may cause skewed or weird election outcomes and election stalemates. The book argues that the act may not cover some rare though possible situations which the Twentieth Amendment authorizes Congress to address. Also, the book questions the constitutionality of the National Popular Vote Plan to introduce a direct popular presidential election de facto, without amending the Constitution, and addresses the plan's "Achilles' Heel." In particular, the book shows that the plan may violate the Equal Protection Clause from the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Numerical examples are provided to show that the counterintuitive claims of the NPV originators and proponents that the plan will encourage presidential candidates to "chase" every vote in every state do not have any grounds. Finally, the book proposes a plan for improving the election system by combining at the national level the "one state, one vote" principle - embedded in the Constitution - and the "one person, one vote" principle. Under this plan no state loses its current Electoral College benefits while all the states gain more attention of presidential candidates.
Publication Date: 2012
Electoral College Reform (eBook) by Why hasn't the United States reformed the Electoral College system, and how can it best do so? To address these questions, Electoral College Reform: Challenges and Possibilities brings together new essays by law professors and political scientists examining the reasons for reform, the issues surrounding a Constitutional amendment, the effect of the Electoral College on political campaigns and government policymaking, and the possibilities for extra-Constitutional avenues to change, including the courts and the state legislatures.
Publication Date: 2010
Ballot Battles (eBook) by The 2000 presidential race resulted in the highest-profile ballot battle in over a century. But it is far from the only American election determined by a handful of votes and marred by claims of fraud. Since the founding of the nation, violence frequently erupted as the votes were beingcounted, and more than a few elections produced manifestly unfair results. Despite America's claim to be the world's greatest democracy, its adherence to the basic tenets of democratic elections - the ability to count ballots accurately and fairly even when the stakes are high - has always beenshaky. A rigged gubernatorial election in New York in 1792 nearly ended in calls for another revolution, and an 1899 gubernatorial race even resulted in an assassination. Though acts of violence have decreased in frequency over the past century, fairness and accuracy in ballot counting nonethelessremains a basic problem in American political life.In Ballot Battles, Edward Foley presents a sweeping history of election controversies in the United States, tracing how their evolution generated legal precedents that ultimately transformed how we determine who wins and who loses. While weaving a narrative spanning over two centuries, Foleyrepeatedly returns to an originating event: because the Founding Fathers despised parties and never envisioned the emergence of a party system, they wrote a constitution that did not provide clear solutions for high-stakes and highly-contested elections in which two parties could pool resourcesagainst one another. Moreover, in the American political system that actually developed, politicians are beholden to the parties which they represent - and elected officials have typically had an outsized say in determining the outcomes of extremely close elections that involve recounts. Thisunderlying structural problem, more than anything else, explains why intense ballot battles that leave one side feeling aggrieved will continue to occur for the foreseeable future.American democracy has improved dramatically over the last two centuries. But the same cannot be said for the ways in which we determine who wins the very close races. From the founding until today, there has been little progress toward fixing the problem. Indeed, supporters of John Jay in 1792 andopponents of Lyndon Johnson in the 1948 Texas Senate race would find it easy to commiserate with Al Gore after the 2000 election. Ballot Battles is not only the first full chronicle of contested elections in the US. It also provides a powerful explanation of why the American election system has been- and remains - so ineffective at deciding the tightest races in a way that all sides will agree is fair.
Publication Date: 2016
The Myth of Voter Fraud (eBook) by Allegations that widespread voter fraud is threatening to the integrity of American elections and American democracy itself have intensified since the disputed 2000 presidential election. The claim that elections are being stolen by illegal immigrants and unscrupulous voter registration activists and vote buyers has been used to persuade the public that voter malfeasance is of greater concern than structural inequities in the ways votes are gathered and tallied, justifying ever tighter restrictions on access to the polls. Yet, that claim is a myth. In The Myth of Voter Fraud, Lorraine C. Minnite presents the results of her meticulous search for evidence of voter fraud. She concludes that while voting irregularities produced by the fragmented and complex nature of the electoral process in the United States are common, incidents of deliberate voter fraud are actually quite rare. Based on painstaking research aggregating and sifting through data from a variety of sources, including public records requests to all fifty state governments and the U.S. Justice Department, Minnite contends that voter fraud is in reality a politically constructed myth intended to further complicate the voting process and reduce voter turnout. She refutes several high-profile charges of alleged voter fraud, such as the assertion that eight of the 9/11 hijackers were registered to vote, and makes the question of voter fraud more precise by distinguishing fraud from the manifold ways in which electoral democracy can be distorted. Effectively disentangling misunderstandings and deliberate distortions from reality, The Myth of Voter Fraud provides rigorous empirical evidence for those fighting to make the electoral process more efficient, more equitable, and more democratic.
Publication Date: 2017
To Assure Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process (eBook) by In 2000 the American electoral system was tested by a political ordeal unlike any in living memory. Not since 1876-77 has the outcome of a national election remained so unsettled for so long. The past election¡¯s recount conundrum shook the nation¡¯s faith in the mechanisms that support the democratic process. Led by former Presidents Ford and Carter, the National Commission on Federal Election Reform undertook a study of the American electoral system. The resulting report describes where and what went wrong during the 2000 election, and makes clear and specific recommendations for reform, directed at state government, Congress, news organizations, and others. This volume also includes the full text of the Task Force Reports from the Commission.
Publication Date: 2002
The Message Matters (eBook) by The economy is so powerful in determining the results of U.S. presidential elections that political scientists can predict winners and losers with amazing accuracy long before the campaigns start. But if it is true that "it's the economy, Stupid," why do incumbents in good economies sometimes lose? The reason, Lynn Vavreck argues, is that what matters is not just the state of the economy but how candidates react to it. By demonstrating more precisely than ever before how candidates and their campaigns affect the economic vote, The Message Matters provides a powerful new way of understanding past elections--and predicting future ones. Vavreck examines the past sixty years of presidential elections and offers a new theory of campaigns that explains why electoral victory requires more than simply being the candidate favored by prevailing economic conditions. Using data from presidential elections since 1952, she reveals why, when, and how campaign messages make a difference--and when they can outweigh economic predictors of election outcomes. The Message Matters does more than show why candidates favored by the economy must build their campaigns around economic messages. Vavreck's theory also explains why candidates disadvantaged by the economy must try to focus their elections on noneconomic issues that meet exacting criteria--and why this is so hard to do.
Publication Date: 2009
Ballots, Bullets, and Bargains (eBook) by Drawing on twenty-four years of experience in government, Michael H. Armacost explores how the contours of the U.S. presidential election system influence the content and conduct of American foreign policy. He examines how the nomination battle impels candidates to express deference to the foreign policy DNA of their party and may force an incumbent to make wholesale policy adjustments to fend off an intra-party challenge for the nomination. He describes the way reelection campaigns can prod a chief executive to fix long-neglected problems, kick intractable policy dilemmas down the road, settle for modest course corrections, or scapegoat others for policies gone awry. Armacost begins his book with the quest for the presidential nomination and then moves through the general election campaign, the ten-week transition period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, and the early months of a new administration. He notes that campaigns rarely illuminate the tough foreign policy choices that the leader of the nation must make, and he offers rare insight into the challenge of aligning the roles of an outgoing incumbent (who performs official duties despite ebbing power) and the incoming successor (who has no official role but possesses a fresh political mandate). He pays particular attention to the pressure for new presidents to act boldly abroad in the early months of his tenure, even before a national security team is in place, decision-making procedures are set, or policy priorities are firmly established. He concludes with an appraisal of the virtues and liabilities of the system, including suggestions for modestly adjusting some of its features while preserving its distinct character.
Publication Date: 2015-08-04
Why American Elections Are Flawed (and How to Fix Them) (eBook) by The flaws in the American electoral process have become more apparent over many years. The contemporary tipping point in public awareness occurred during the 2000 election count, but several major structural weaknesses exacerbated doubts in the 2016 campaign, worsening party divisions and further corroding public trust in the electoral process. It is impossible to fix a problem without understanding its nature. To gather independent evidence about the quality of elections around the world, the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP), an independent project with a research team based at Harvard and Sydney universities, was established in 2012. According to expert estimates developed by EIP, the 2012 and 2014 elections in the United States were the worst among all Western democracies. Without reform, these problems risk damaging the legitimacy of American elections?further weakening public confidence in the major political parties, Congress, and the US government, depressing voter turnout, and exacerbating the risks of contentious outcomes fought through court appeals and public protests. Why American Elections Are Flawed (and How to Fix Them) describes several major challenges observed during the 2016 US elections, including deepening party polarization over basic electoral procedures, the serious risks of hacking and altering official records, the consequences of deregulating campaign spending, and the lack of federal standards and professional practices in electoral management. Pippa Norris outlines the core concept and measure of electoral integrity, the key yardstick used by the EIP to evaluate free and fair elections. She compares cross-national and state-level evidence from expert and mass surveys to diagnose problems in American elections. She shows how these challenges could be addressed through several practical steps designed to improve American electoral procedures and practices. If implemented, the reforms recommended by the EIP will advance free and fair elections at home and abroad.
Publication Date: 2017
The Great Alignment by The most in-depth analysis to date of America's current political polarization and the forces that led to a Trump presidency Alan I. Abramowitz has emerged as a leading spokesman for the view that our current political divide is not confined to a small group of elites and activists but a key feature of the American social and cultural landscape. The polarization of the political and media elites, he argues, arose and persists because it accurately reflects the state of American society. Here, he goes further: the polarization is unique in modern U.S. history. Today's party divide reflects an unprecedented alignment of many different divides: racial and ethnic, religious, ideological, and geographic. Abramowitz shows how the partisan alignment arose out of the breakup of the old New Deal coalition; introduces the most important difference between our current era and past eras, the rise of "negative partisanship"; explains how this phenomenon paved the way for the Trump presidency; and examines why our polarization could even grow deeper. This statistically based analysis shows that racial anxiety is by far a better predictor of support for Donald Trump than any other factor, including economic discontent.]]>
Call Number: JK2261 .A284 2018
Publication Date: 2019
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