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The Electoral College Primer 2000 - Longley, Lawrence D.; Peirce, Neal R. - Yale University Press


The Electoral College Primer 2000

  • Lawrence D. Longley and Neal R. Peirce
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Out of Print.


The president of the United States is not actually elected by a direct vote of the people but indirectly by means of an electoral college. Yet the operations of our archaic electoral college and the extent of its influence in presidential elections are little understood by most Americans. In this complete and authoritative guide to the electoral college, Lawrence D. Longley and Neal R. Peirce provide essential information on how the electoral system works—and sometimes misfires. At its best, the authors reveal, the electoral college distorts campaign strategy and poorly represents the popular will. And at its worst, it can create political and constitutional crises.

The book includes detailed accounts of recent elections, including that of 1992 when election of the president by the House of Representatives appeared for a while to be the likely outcome. The authors also offer an imaginative version of election year 2000, during which the astonishing results of an electoral deadlock demonstrate the disastrous failings of the electoral college as a means of electing the people’s president.

Reviews of the earlier edition:

“[Longley and Peirce] argue that the electoral college system is unfair in its underrepresentation of certain social groups and poses significant peril for future elections. . . . Their argument is forceful, coherent, and convincing.”—Choice

“The authors indict the [electoral] college. . . . Abolish it, they say, and their excellent civics book persuasively promotes that reform.”—Booklist

Lawrence D. Longley is professor of government at Lawrence University and coauthor of Bicameral Politics: Conference Committees in Congress, published by Yale University Press. He was a presidential elector in the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections. Neal R. Peirce, a prominent Washington journalist, writes a national column on state and local government themes syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

Lawrence D. Longley is professor of government at Lawrence University and coauthor of Bicameral Politics: Conference Committees in Congress, published by Yale University Press. He was a presidential elector in the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections. Neal R. Peirce, a prominent Washington journalist, writes a national column on state and local government themes syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

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