"Felchner, an editor of U.S. News & World Report, has assembled a group of academics---political science and law professors---pollsters, and a few journalists for this wide-ranging look at American elections."---Library Journal
"The phrase `culture wars' has come to encompass the subjects, persons, and institutions involved in the more polarizing conflicts in American public values of recent decades. In typical discussions of the culture wars, such subject areas as religion, abortion, immigration, and education are well explained and balanced with an emphasis on recent decisions of the Supreme Court. McGough (senior editorial writer, Los Angeles Times) more often simply relates the content and development of antagonistic views in an evenhanded, if pat, presentation. His sketches of persons, foundations, and institutions that furnish the effort, ideas, and resources behind the debates are useful and set this volume apart from others like it."---Library Journal
"Economic consultant and former public servant Moss argues that American politics have been corrupted by special interests, moneyed lobbyists, and the system of campaign finance. He supports this argument through interviews with a variety of Washington actors, including a lobbyist, a European diplomat, and individuals on both sides of the Washington political divide. He then describes the deleterious impact of this corruption in failing to address global warming, raise the minimum wage, fix the health care crisis, or address inner-city crime. He also connects the system's deteriorating political leadership to the tragedy of Iraq and offers a number of measures to solve the problem, including charging the American Political Science Association and other nonpartisan groups with developing candidate information profiles, founding a Federation of Public Interest Organizations ... providing public financing for all federal elections, and restoring Federal Service capabilities and expertise."---Reference & Research Book News
The first decade of the 21st century has been one of the most contentious in the history of American participatory democracy, with the acrimonious 2000 presidential election, complaints about the 2004 election, arguments over "voter I.D." laws, and a bitterly contested fight over the 2008 Democratic nomination. Is this simply the price of democracy, or could the process function more smoothly?
Quick-fix plans to "restore democracy" are superfluous. Fortunately, Reforming the Electoral Process in America: Toward More Democracy in the 21st Century offers a more nuanced approach, emphasizing the value of civic engagement in a democratic society.
Author Brian L. Fife situates our current plight in the context of the growth of democracy, from the Framers of the Constitution through the Jacksonian era, the enfranchisement of African Americans after the Civil War, women's suffrage, and the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s. He reflects on the work of the Framers as it pertains to voting and elections, compares voting laws and voter turnout in the various states, and offers an analysis of the impact of money in American elections. Ultimately, he proposes a blueprint for reform that includes national same-day voter registration, stronger political parties, reconsideration of felons' voting rights, regional primaries, and the abolition of the Electoral College.