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The Choice of the People? Debating the Electoral College
978-0-8476-8217-1 • Paperback
May 1996 • $28.95 • (£17.95)
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Pages: 192
Size: 6 x 9
By Judith Best and Thomas E. Cronin
Series: Enduring Questions in American Political Life
 
Political Science | Political Process / Political Parties
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
The electoral college is arguably the most important but least understood factor that determines the President of the United States. This book brings together the ideas of today's most prominent supporters, critics, and opponents of the electoral college. Along with critical documents that provide historical background and demonstrate the evolution of debates over the legitimacy of this American institution, Judith Best and Thomas E. Cronin together with the testimony of Lawrence D. Longley, analyze the electoral college from a variety of perspectives and propose a wide range of alternatives, from maintaining the status quo to imposing radical reform. Among the issues addressed by these essays and documents is the fate of third parties in presidential elections.
Judith Best is distinguished teaching professor of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland. Thomas E. Cronin is president of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.
Chapter 1 Foreword
Part 2 Part I: Why the Electoral College Keeps Winning: The Federal Principle in Presidential Elections
Chapter 3 Introduction
Chapter 4 Do We Have a Winner? The Right Winner: Not by Numbers Alone! The Federal Principle and the Presidency
Chapter 5 Closing the College
Chapter 6 Beating the Alternatives
Chapter 7 The Constitutional Solar System
Chapter 8 Appendix A: Distribution of Electoral Votes, 1991-2000
Chapter 9 Appendix B: Popular and Electoral Votes in Presidential Elections, 1789-1992
Chapter 10 Select Bibliography
Part 11 Part II: Readings
Chapter 12 Editor's Introduction
Chapter 13 Statement of Lawrence D. Longley before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution (1992)
Chapter 14 Statement of Governor Morris in the Federal Convention of 1787
Chapter 15 The Federalist Papers 39, 51, and 68 (excerpts)
Chapter 16 The U.S. Constitution: Article II, Amendment 12, and Amendment 20
Chapter 17 Report of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Direct Popular Election of the President and Vice President (1977)
Chapter 18 Statement by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Electoral College (1979)
Chapter 19 Index
[This] careful analysis of the multidimensional arguments that have swirled around the electoral college for two centuries is presented clearly and cogently . . . should be read carefully by those familiar with the debate and especially by those who are not.
James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University


A comprehensive, valuable work for all students of the American governmental system.
R. Gordon Hoxie, Chairman and CEO, Center for the Study of the Presidency


It is probably asking too much to expect this volume to put an end to the perennial debate over the electoral college, but it does lay out the arguments, both for and against it. And if, on balance, its proponents make the better case, so be it.
Walter Berns, John M. Olin University Professor, Georgetown University


A rich collection of essays and reference information enlivening the continuing debate over how to elect the people's president.
Lawrence D. Longley, Lawrence University


It is altogether an attractive teaching package.
Booknotes


 
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