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Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Political Science > Reference > 0300109687
  1. Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America
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  2. Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America

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    Customer Ratings (4 reviews)
    Price R621.00

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Americans currently choose their president through the electoral college, an extraordinarily complex mechanism that may elect a candidate who does not receive the most votes. In this provocative book, George Edwards III argues that—contrary to what supporters of the electoral college claim—there is no real justification for a system that might violate majority rule.

Drawing on systematic data, Edwards finds that the electoral college does not protect the interests of small states or racial minorities, does not provide presidents with effective coalitions for governing, and does little to protect the American polity from the alleged harms of direct election of the president. In fact, the electoral college distorts the presidential campaign so that candidates ignore most small states and some large ones and pay little attention to minorities, and it encourages third parties to run presidential candidates and discourages party competition in many states.

Edwards demonstrates effectively that direct election of the president without a runoff maximizes political equality and eliminates the distortions in the political system caused by the electoral college.

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George C. Edwards III
Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Edwards provides a lucid, devastating critique of the Electoral College and its negative impact on American politics and government. After reading this book it will be hard for people to keep a straight face when defenders of this 18th century institution make such outmoded arguments as "candidates will spend time only in population centers" (as if they don't focus all their energies right now on just a handful of states and as if candidates in all races for governor don't try to win votes wherever they are in a state).

My one disappointment is his recommendation that we enshire the principle of "plurality rule" when directly electing the president. That would mean we could have presidents elected with less than 30% of the vote and would maintain the "spoiler" dynamic for any independent and third party candidate trying to offer new ideas to voters. Far better would be to establish a 50%-plus-one majority requirement as proposed by Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and groups... Read more
Texas A&M University political science professor George Edwards, III, brings an interesting and thought provoking study with "Why the Electoral College is Bad for America" (2004 paperback). His 198 pages provide significant research (with 21 pages of endnotes and a plethora of helpful graphs, accommodating statistical tables, and informative charts). His resource data alone is worth the cost of the book!

Starting from the premise- the Electoral College has a wide range of advantages and disadvantages for American policy- Edwards precedes to focus on the problems with the 18th century presidential election system. He notes, "the electoral college poses a real potential for deadlock" (page 61). And, of course, the political party in power always appreciates the electoral system while the party out of presidential power wants to altogether eliminate the program.

Encouragement of a third party system (page 140) or direct election by the national populace- or as... Read more
This book is the spiritual successor to the "Electoral College Primer" series that was discontinued in 2002 due to the death of its primary authors. For opponents of the Electoral College it's a good thing the mantle has been passed, because this book represents a far more damning case for the abolishment of the Electoral College than those books did.

A large portion of the material is lifted verbatim from those books, but in addition to exhibiting the voting power distortions created by the Electoral College, this book also tackles the practical arguments put forth in defense of the Electoral College head on. Edwards effectively dismantles the idea that it is a bastion of federalism, and also the specious "vote fraud deterrent" argument often trotted out. Perhaps the single most impressive argument in the book is a quote cited from James Madison that "The President is to represent the people, not the States". Edwards supports his refutations to EC-defender favorite... Read more
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