Dangerous Democracy? / Edition 1

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Direct democracy is alive and growing in the form of statewide ballot initiatives. Currently, twenty-four states allow individuals and groups to propose laws for direct voter consideration and tens of millions of dollars flow into the initiative industrial complex each election cycle. This book assesses the health of the initiative process through the insights of the leading initiative scholars, top journalists, and important political consultants from across the country. The book provides a critical and balanced look into a political mechanism that is having a profound influence on American politics.

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Editorial Reviews

Public Choice
Provides an excellent survey of the issues surrounding ballot initiatives and associated calls for reform. Particularly laudable are extensive citations to the burgeoning academic literature on initiative process and its political consequences found throughout the book. The book is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about the workings of the initiative process and the pros and cons of proposed initiative reforms.
Political Studies Review
A collection of contributions from the good and great in the area...
Robert F. Chase
The growth of the initiative process leapfrogs all those messy Madisonian checks and balances. Measures that wouldn't stand a chance in a state legislature can become law overnight. This excellent collection of essays and responses by both academics and practitioners will help us all better understand the dangers of direct democracy.
David S. Broder
This is an important discussion of a topic increasingly prominent on the political agenda—are expensive initiative campaigns compatible with our system of representative government?
This book assesses the health of the initiative process from the perspectives of scholars, journalists, and political consultants from around the country. It provides a critical look into this political mechanism and the possibilities for direct democracy. Chapters address issues like the historical role of narrow material interests, the undermining of representative government, campaign financing, the place of political consultants, and initiative reform strategies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742510425
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/2/2001
  • Series: Center for Politics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry J. Sabato is Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs and director of the Center for Governmental Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He is the author of numerous books including Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics and Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal. Howard R. Ernst is assistant professor of political science department at the United States Naval Academy. Bruce A. Larson is assistant professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 The Historical Role of Narrow-Material Interests in Initiative Politics Chapter 2 Challenging Initiatives: More than Just Special-Interest Money, an Issue of Political Civility Chapter 3 Initiative Politics: A Useful Blend of Vested Interests and Citizen Politics Part 4 The Populist Legacy: Initiatives and the Undermining of Representative Government Chapter 5 Time to Walk the Talk Chapter 6 Dumber than Chimps? An Assessment of Direct Democracy Voters Part 7 Campaign Financing of Ballot Initiatives in the American States Chapter 8 Ballot Initiative Regulation Interferes with Political Liberty Chapter 9 The Initiative Process: Where People Count Part 10 Political Consultants and the Initiative Industrial Complex Chapter 11 The Campaign Business: a Consultant's Perspective Chapter 12 Observations of Initiative Elections Part 13 The Logic of Reform: Assessing Initiative Reform Strategies Chapter 14 Prospects of Reforming the Initiative Process— Some Thoughts Chapter 15 An Alligator in the Bathtub: Assessing Initiative Reform Proposals Part 16 A Call for Change: Making the Best of Initiative Politics Chapter 17 Response to "A Call for Change" Chapter 18 Biblography Chapter 19 Index

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