Item description for Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College by II Gary L. Gregg & Mitch McConnell...
The distinguished contributors to Securing Democracy---including Michael Barone, Walter Berns, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan---have an uncommonly complete understanding of the nature of American politics. They show that the American concept of democracy means much more than a prejudice for national direct elections. This book is the definitive volume for anyone interested in the logic and importance of the Electoral College, as well as the uniquely successfully democracy it has helped forge.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 8.5" Height: 6" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Jan 15, 2008
Publisher Intercollegiate Studies Institute
ISBN 1933859474 ISBN13 9781933859477
Reviews - What do customers think about Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College?
Perhaps it could be better titled 'Securing the Republic' Apr 26, 2003
~Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College~ is a brilliant anthology of essays, which defend the Electoral College. Contrary to popular belief, America was never founded as a "democracy," but rather as a constitutional federal republic with limits set not only on the powers of government but on that of majority rule. The founders sought to check the excesses of democracy, and the 'one-man, one-vote' ethos is not even remotely accurate in describing the nature of our representative republic. Elections within the federal system are in fact state elections as it was the states that ratified the Constitution. It is the states that ultimately decide on whether the Constitution may be amended. The founders designed the federal system with a great deal of ingenuity and profoundly realistic understanding of human nature. The Electoral College is designed to check the excesses of democracy and is one of the cornerstones of the federal system, which keeps the republic from succombing to majoritarian tyranny. In a republic, the rule of law reigns supreme, not the tumultous and turbulent changing passions of the people. Contributors include a wide cast of characters from across the political spectrum. Senator Mitch McConnell whom I had the honor of campaigning for in Kentucky writes a brilliant introduction to this book. Even Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan offers an astute essay on the Electoral College and shows how it so remarkably captures Calhoun's principle of concurrent majorities. Gary Gregg offers an informative essay on the origins and meaning of this remarkable republican institution. The Electoral College may be dismissed as an anachronistic institution of the horse-and-buggy era, but when properly understood, it testifies to the genius of the founders and the federal system they left us. As Ben Franklin declared, we have a republic if we can keep it.
Won't fit on the back of a Volvo Jan 17, 2002
As editor Gary L. Gregg notes in his preface, opponents of the Electoral College can employ simple slogans -- like 'Majority Rule!' or 'Democracy!' -- to advance their arguments. Proponents of the College, however, find their arguments 'won't fit on the back of a Volvo' (as the noted thinker Linus Van Pelt said, 'There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.'). They need books like ... well, like this one. People who support the idea of the Electoral College, or who are inclined at least to give the Founders the benefit of the doubt, will find reinforcement and useful ideas to advance their arguments. Opponents probably won't be convinced.
Part of the problem is that to grasp why we have an Electoral College requires some familiarity with America's founding, the nature and purpose of the Union, the meaning of federalism, the role of the States (are they the creatures of the central government, or vice versa, or what?), and ... heresy of heresies ... the dangers of 'democracy,' which the Founders more or less equated with mob rule. In short, some effort and discipline and time have to be put into the question, plus what Daniel Patrick Moynihan refers to as 'solemn, prolonged, and prayerful consideration' (p. 88). It's so much easier just to watch Dan Rather and get good and worked up about 'the stolen presidency.'
As with any collection of essays, this book doesn't carry a logical strain of argumentation through from page to page. The contributors approach the question of the Electoral College from various perspectives, and inevitably there is some rehashing of history and theory, and a few divergences of opinion. The overall effect, however, is positive.
The other characteristic in a collection of essays is that some contributions are better than others. That's certainly true in this case. However, I disagree with the institutional reviews of this book that suggest the 'invective' employed by some of the contributors damages their arguments irreparably. People who throw around loaded words like 'theft' and 'coup' have to expect strong language from the other side too.
In all, Gary Gregg's book goes a long way toward confirming Sen. Moynihan's belief (in the same paragraph I quoted above) that abolishing the Electoral College would be 'the most radical transformation in our political system that has ever been considered.' It's just a shame that so few Americans will expend the effort to figure that out.