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Taming the Electoral Collegeby Robert W. Bennett
Synopses & Reviews
Taming the Electoral College explores poorly understood aspects of the electoral college, including two possibilities in particular that could pose the most serious danger for American democracy. These are, first, determination of the president by “faithless electors” who ignore the popular vote in their states, and, second, choice of the president in the House of Representatives, which is required if no electoral college majority votes in favor of a single candidate. In any given election, neither of these outcomes is likely, but the 2000 election showed that we would do well to take both of them seriously and take action now to prevent them from occurring. Both possibilities could be dealt with by constitutional amendment, but amendment is difficult to achieve, particularly as it bears on the electoral college process. This engaging book instead offers nonconstitutional solutions to the two possibilities, as well as to a variety of other problems that lurk in the shadows of the electoral college process. It also offers a way to work toward popular election of the president without a constitutional amendment.
This book examines the history and weaknesses of the electoral college and proposes reforms that could be made to our electoral process without a constitutional amendment.
“Bennetts book on the electoral college is the best book on this subject in years, if not ever...Bennett is clearly more interested in scholarship than he is in persuading the reader to one point of view about the electoral college.”—Ballot Access News
“The electoral college is a disaster waiting to happen. But the brief interest kindled by the 2000 election, in which the electors chose a president who lost in the popular vote, dissipated in the face of 9/11 and other matters of more immediate concern. Without downplaying the importance of wholesale reform, Robert Bennett, a distinguished constitutional scholar, argues lucidly and persuasively that incremental changes could avert major crises, such as subversion of the democratic process by ‘faithless electors who do not adhere to their mandates.”—Paul Brest, Dean Emeritus, Stanford Law School; President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
About the Author
Robert W. Bennett is the Nathaniel L. Nathanson Professor of Law and former Dean of the School of Law at Northwestern University. He is the author of Talking It Through: Puzzles of American Democracy (2002).
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