You Call This an Election?: America's Peculiar Democracy / Edition 1

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An introduction to the problems and promises of America's electoral system, Steven E. Schier's book begins with a brief overview of the Florida voting fiasco in the 2000 presidential election. He cogently analyzes where our election politics goes wrong and suggest several steps to make the system better. The manuscript includes numerous examples, anecdotes, and tables, all with the student reader in mind. Schier concludes by proposing an alternative scenario--what if the election reforms he suggests had been in place in Florida in 2000?

Schier argues more specifically that the decline of political paties and the concurrent proliferation of interest groups has inhibited majority rule in America. Parties traditionally sought to mobilize large numbes of voters on election day. As parties' abilities to mobilize have decayed, interest groups have enhanced their ability to activate small factions of the public to influence elections and policymaking. Hence we now have more interest groups than ever before in our national politics, but shrinking numbers of voters. What sorts of reforms does he propose? Enhancing the roles and influence of political parties; giving these parties large blocks of free TV time; adopting one-punch partisan ballots, making it easier for voters to cast a straight-party vote; abandon initiatives, which clutter up the ballot; and party-based financing to boost voter turnout.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878408955
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven E. Schier is the Dorothy H. and Edward C. Congdon Professor of Political Science at Carleton College. He is the author of eight books and numerous scholarly articles. He recently completed a Fulbright senior lectureship at York University in Toronto and serves on the board of The Dirksen Center for Congressional Studies. Schier has contributed articles to the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. He has commented on politics for national network and cable television and is a political analyst for KSTP television in Minneapolis.

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Table of Contents



1. What an Electoral System Can Do

2. Compared to What?

3. Why Turnout Fell

4. Direct Democracy or Legislative Government?

5. Four Controversies

6. What Sort of Democracy?

Conclusion: Less Peculiar




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