Democracy's Moment: Reforming the American Political System for the 21st Century

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The two-month long Election Day in Florida made one thing clear: We need to find ways to make the American political system more responsive to the demands of all citizens. This book provides a critical assessement of a broad range of electoral reforms proposed to enhance responsive government. The book aims not only to analyze the obstacles to full political participation, but to capitalize on the window of opportunity that election 2000 has provided to make our political system more truly democratic—to realize ...
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Overview

The two-month long Election Day in Florida made one thing clear: We need to find ways to make the American political system more responsive to the demands of all citizens. This book provides a critical assessement of a broad range of electoral reforms proposed to enhance responsive government. The book aims not only to analyze the obstacles to full political participation, but to capitalize on the window of opportunity that election 2000 has provided to make our political system more truly democratic—to realize 'democracy's moment.'
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
This volume is filled with sound theory and practical approaches to solving the problem of nonparticipation in the U.S.'s political life. The presidential election of 2000 may have presented the American political system with the moment it has been waiting for—the moment to undertake serious, meaningful reform. Those who share that interest will find this volume enormously helpful. Recommended.
Future Survey
A valuable overview of the many ways to strengthen democracy . . . the varied approaches in this book, all moving together, are an agenda that can bear fruit over time.
Political Studies Review
The book is not just a valuable contribution to political science, but a passionate pleading for reforms in the tradition of the progressive movement as most openly demonstrated in the concluding remarks. The volume can be recommended either to the student of U.S. electoral matters or to the reform activist; ideally—one is tempted to assume—the reader may be both.
Michael X. Delli Carpini
Bringing together a rich and thoughtful collection of essays written by democratic theorists, researchers, and practitioners, Democracy's Moment provides a thoughtful and compelling argument for the need to rediscover our tradition of democratic reform, and a pragmatic blueprint for how to do so. This book should be read by anyone interested in the theory and practice of participatory democracy.
From The Foreword - Miles S. Rapoport
Democracy's Moment is a tremendously important contribution to a moment in our nation's history—democracy's moment, hopefully—when we can make major progress toward reforming our democratic processes and practices to make them as vibrant, inclusive, and fully participatory as we possibly can. The book contains a terrific assortment of historical analyses, current trends, and particular policy proposals aimed at making democracy truly work.
CHOICE
This volume is filled with sound theory and practical approaches to solving the problem of nonparticipation in the U.S.'s political life. The presidential election of 2000 may have presented the American political system with the moment it has been waiting for—the moment to undertake serious, meaningful reform. Those who share that interest will find this volume enormously helpful. Recommended.
Robert D. Johnston
Listening to most academics and pundits, you would not necessarily believe it: but this IS democracy's moment. Ronald Hayduk and Kevin Mattson are to be congratulated for bringing together a wise group of essayists who combine a detailed knowledge of the electoral system with a democratic imagination grounded in the best of American historical traditions. This is the rare book that could produce a genuinely better civic life.
Booknews
Hayduk (political science, Borough of Manhattan Community College) and Mattson (history, Contemporary History Institute, Ohio U.) present 15 essays that offer recommendations for the reform of the American political system with the aim of deepening democratic participation and government responsiveness. Essays also feature prominent discussion of the historical genesis of problems and recommended reforms. Largely approaching the issues from a progressive viewpoint, chapters look at the repeal of ballet access obstacles, the pushing of campaign finance reform, promoting deliberative democracy, community organizing, civic education, proportional representation, instant run-off voting, and the opening up of political debates. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ronald Hayduk is assistant professor of political science at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Kevin Mattson is associate professor of history at Ohio University and faculty associate at the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction and Historical Background Chapter 2 Remembering Florida for the Right Reasons Chapter 3 History as Hope: The Legacy of the Progressive Era and the Future of Political Reform in America Part 4 Eliminating Barriers to Political Participation: Tearing Down Walls Chapter 5 The Weight of History: Election Reform During the Progressive Era and Today Chapter 6 More Choice Please! Why U. S. Ballot Access Laws are Discriminatory and How Independent Parties and Candidates Challenge Them Chapter 7 Freeing Politics from the Grip of Money: The Limits of Campaign Finance Reform and the Need for a New Approach Part 8 Engaging Citizens: Building Citizens Chapter 9 Democratic Theory and the Case for Public Deliberation Chapter 10 Educating for Democracy Chapter 11 Community as a Source for Democratic Politics Chapter 12 Can the Internet Rescue Democracy? Toward an On-line Commons Part 13 Making the System More Responsive Chapter 14 Instant Runoff Voting and Full Representation: Keys to Fulfilling Democracy's Promise Chapter 15 Putting Democracy Back into the Initiative and Referendum Chapter 16 The Debate Gerrymander and America's Electoral-Industrial Complex Chapter 17 The Electoral College: Constitutional Debate, Partisan Manipulation, and Reform Possibilities Part 18 Challenges and Prospects for Democratic Reform Chapter 19 What Makes Reform So Difficult: The Case of America's Cities and the Problem of Elites Chapter 20 Looking Backward While Looking Forward to Democracy's Moment Chapter 21 Appendix: National and Regional Democracy Organizations
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