An impassioned takedown of the undemocratic features of American electoral politics and their role in the 2016 election.
Americans are taught to cherish our democracy, especially our right to vote. But after the 2016 presidential election, we are confronted, yet again, with the reality that our system is neither free nor fair. Almost every step along the way is filled with intentional and unintentional pitfalls, barriers, and dysfunction. The results disadvantage, discourage, and ultimately disenfranchise, but a myth persists that our elections and democracy are exemplary.
Our system is adept at pre-empting the very citizens whose participation would upend governing classes and economic elites. That's done by making voting more complicated, less accountable and resistant to reform. Whether we're talking about voter ID laws, superdelegates, convoluted state recount rules, or the archaic Electoral College, procedures have greater weight than democratic principles, or evidence-based determinations.
Democracy Betrayed catalogs the long litany of ways our elections failed, and continue to fail, their billing as model democracy. It will look through the lens of impassioned skepticism, highlighting what went wrong and conveying why that need not be the case. More people registered to vote in 2016 than ever before, even if turnout was about the same as 2012. That shows people want a system they can believe in. This book will speak to them and show them how they can fight for a better democracy.
Steven Rosenfeld is a national political reporter at Alternet and the author and editor of several books on campaigns and elections, including What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election and Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting. In 2010, he worked with Pew's Election Initiatives division to draft a registration modernization plan and report, which lead to the creation of EricStates.org, which is now helping 21 states update their voter registration files and identify eligible but unregistered voters. He is a former reporter for NPR and a former executive producer at Air America Radio. He lives in San Francisco, CA.
- Title Page
- Foreword by David Talbot
- Section I: The Democrats
- 1 Bernie Sanders
- 2 Who Won Iowa?
- 3 Las Vegas Rules
- 4 New Questions, New Barriers
- 5 The Not-So-Golden State
- 6 The Democratic National Committee
- Section II: The Republicans
- 7 Gaming The Rules of Politics
- 8 Creating Partisan Ghettos
- 9 Looking Forward, Not Backward
- 10 The Voting Wars
- 11 The Starting Line
- 12 The Finish Line
- 13 The Playbook: Do Everything
- Section III: The Recounts
- 14 What Happened?
- 15 The Final Swing States
- 16 The Electoral College
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