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The Electoral College Primer (Yale Fastback Series) ebook

by Professor Lawrence D. Longley,Mr. Neal R. Peirce

Electoral College Primer. In this complete guide to the electoral college, Longley and Peirce explain how the .

Electoral College Primer. Series: Yale Fastback Series. Published by: Yale University Press. electoral college was created, how it has evolved, how it has influenced various "crisis" elections (including 1992), how it works today, and how it might affect future elections. The electoral college is a "system of disastrous failings," the authors say, and it could lead to a political and constitutional crisis.

The Electoral College Primer (Yale Fastback Series). Political science educator. 70101/?tag prabook0b-20. Politics of Electoral College Reform. Lawrence Douglas Longley, American political science educator. From instructor to associate professor government, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, 1965-1989; professor, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, since 1989. Visiting associate professor government American . Washington, 1978. Guest lecturer politics Imperial College U. London, 1985.

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Lawrence D. Longley’s most popular book is The Electoral College Primer. The People's President: The Electoral College in America and the Direct Vote Alternative by. Neal R. Peirce, Lawrence D. Longley. Showing 12 distinct works. The Electoral College Primer by. Lawrence D. Longley, Neal R. Peirce.

Discover new books on Goodreads. See if your friends have read any of Lawrence D. Longley's books. Longley’s Followers (1). Longley’s books. Longley and Neal R. 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. Peirce, a prominent Washington journalist, writes a national column on state and local government themes syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

Defenders of the Electoral College instead dusted off a series of less sweeping proposals . Longley is professor of government at Lawrence University; Neal R. Peirce is a noted journalist who has published a series of acclaimed studies of state and local government and one previous book on the Electoral College. by Professor Lawrence D. Longley and Mr.

Longley, Lawrence D. and Neal R. Pierce (1999) The Electoral College Primer 2000. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Cite this chapter as: Engstrom . 2004) The United States: the Future - Reconsidering Single-Member Districts and the Electoral College. eds) The Handbook of Electoral System Choice. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Discover Book Depository's huge selection of Neal R Peirce books online. Great Plains States of America. The Electoral College Primer 2000. Free delivery worldwide on over 20 million titles.

Most Americans remain only dimly aware of the operations of the electoral college and feel little concern over a system that seems to be working. Yet our archaic electoral college has the potential to thwart popular will, warn Lawrence Longley and Neal Peirce, two leading national authorities on the subject. In this complete guide to the electoral college, Longley and Peirce explain how the U.S. electoral college was created, how it has evolved, how it has influenced various "crisis" elections (including 1992), how it works today, and how it might affect future elections.The electoral college is a "system of disastrous failings", the authors say, and it could lead to a political and constitutional crisis. To highlight the shortcomings of the system, they create a fictitious, but not impossible, 1996 election scenario in which neither Senator Robert Dole nor President Bill Clinton can claim a victory in the electoral college. A surprising chain of events set off by a strong third party eventually confers the presidency on the Speaker of the House -- a man who received not a single vote in the popular election. This useful handbook will provide all the information a citizen needs to understand our baffling electoral college.
Don't be fooled by the neutral sounding title, this is an acidic critique and de facto case for the abolishment of the Electoral College.

The case begins, fittingly, with the creation of the Electoral College itself, which as the authors convincingly argue(if even an argument is needed at all, as most of this is simple facts) that the Electoral College as conceived was little more than a jerry-rigged compromise system that was not conceived with any explicit distinct advantages, and then goes on to chronicle the rapidly changing political climate and subsequent collapse of the system conceived circa 1787.

Unfortunately, after the history lesson the book begins to fall flat, as it never squarely faces its opponents and often overstates some of the "dangers" of the Electoral College. A long chapter is devoted to "crisis" Presidential elections, but of the seven elections covered, only two could really be called a "crisis" and in the first case the Constitution was subsequently amended to prevent such a crisis from again occurring, and in the second voter fraud and mischief were really at fault for the problems, not the Electoral College. The other five elections were merely very close to being potential crises, i.e "A shift of only x votes could have resulted in the popular vote winner losing the Electoral vote". The authors themselves concede in a Figure footnote that isolated vote shifts in specific states are unlikely to occur(and obviously didn't *actually* happen, anyway) but would instead be indicative of shifting voting trends nationwide. More importantly though is that, as we all know, the "wrong winner" scenario did bear itself out just months after this book was published, and the result could hardly be called a "crisis", as the public at large seemed to accept the legitimacy of the result after the dust of the Supreme Court bomb had cleared.

The meat of the book is devoted to exploring why votes in certain states are worth more than votes in other states. This chapter somewhat misses the point as it carries with it the implicit assumption that any distortion of voting power across the states ought to be condemned. By that I mean the authors do not really tackle the important Federalist arguments for the Electoral College. I call them important not because of any great conviction regarding their merit, but because they are generally the most prominent arguments put forth in defense of the system and are therefore an essential part of any discourse to be had regarding it. Page after page after page of graphs and tables documenting the voting power distortions comes off as a bit hollow when engaging the arguments that preserving federalism is more important than voting equality has been foregone.

The conclusion of the book explores some of the more prominent ancillary problems with the Electoral College, in particular the House of Representatives Contingent Election and the ominous "faithless Elector". Paradoxically, the election of 2000 fiasco actually undermines this criticism more than it vindicates it. If ever there was an election where the author's ultimate nightmare scenario of a faithless Elector sending the election into the House of Representatives would come to fruition, it was 2000. Only two Electors would have had to switch their votes to bring about this horror, and yet endowed with this power to change the course of American history, not a single one of them did. It seems unlikely that this scenario will come into play again anytime soon.

The book ultimately is not convincing because the foundation of its case is built upon the idea that "one man, one vote" is the be-all, end-all for the merit of an election system, and doesn't really consider any arguments to the contrary. It doesn't engage any of the principled arguments for the Electoral College(Federalism) or the practical(deterring voter fraud, upholding the two party system). Whatever real substance those arguments may or may not have, you won't find out from this book.

Principle author Lawrence Longley tragically passed away in 2002, and so the planned quadrennial updating of this volume was scrapped. A spiritual successor does exist in the form of "Why the Electoral College is bad for America", of which I am in the process of reading and will have a review forthcoming.
The Rollers of Vildar
I am writing based on the 1996 edition.

This is a book that focuses on the workings and potential problems of the Electoral College. There is much historical discussion, but the book is primarily concerned with today's Electoral College. Much of this book is adapted from Pierce's The People's President (1968 & 1981, which I also recommend). In light of recent events, this book is very relevant.

The authors strongly feel that the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a direct popular vote. The authors stress the well-known criticisms regarding the "wrong winner", popular vote percentage distortion, faithless electors, and third-party shutouts.

The book especially stresses the potential for chaos in a three- way race, opening with fictitious but ironic 1996 race...

Election night: Bob Dole wins a narrow popular plurality. Bill Clinton wins an narrow electoral plurality. Ross Perot carries several states including Texas. With no electoral majority, the drama is just beginning...

Mid-December: Both parties have persuaded some Perot electors to defect - but not enough. The Electoral College deadlocks, so the vote goes to the House.

Early January: The Republicans have a slim majority in the new House - but not by states (it's one-state-one-vote). The House deadlocks. Meanwhile, the VP vote goes to the Senate, which must choose between Al Gore and Dole's running mate Lamar Alexander. Since the new Senate is 50-50, it deadlocks too.

(Note: the authors maintain that the outgoing VP cannot break the tie in such a case - an open question which would surely go to the Supreme Court.)

Inauguration Day: Still no decision. With the presidency and vice-presidency vacant, House Speaker Newt Gingrich becomes Acting President, as per the 1947 Presidential Succession Act. But...

The House can keep voting until Dole, Clinton, or Perot wins 26 states. The Senate can keep voting until Gore or Alexander gets 51 votes. If the Senate decides first, the new VP would also be Acting President. Acting President Gingrich must govern knowing that either House can replace him at any time...

January 1999: The newly elected Congress chooses a president. America's longest election is finally over.

The balance of the book is divided between historical narratives and mathematical analysis of how the electoral and popular votes diverge. I found the narratives very interesting, the analysis less so.

A chapter entitled "Recent Crisis Elections" discusses 1948, 1960, 1968, 1976, 1980, and 1992. I disagree with the title; the only crises were 1800, 1876, 2000 and possibly 1824. However, the chapter is quite interesting - 1948, 1960, and 1968 almost went to the House. Particularly notable are the Alabama 1960 vote (a hybrid slate of 6 unpledged and 5 Kennedy Democrats won - so what was Kennedy's real popular vote?), the Hawaii 1960 rival electors, and the 1976 election night (which dragged on until 3:30 AM and had a retraction - sound familiar?).

Other chapters discuss a variety of points:

* Why was the Electoral College created and how has it evolved?
* When did the "wrong winner" win? Almost win?
* How are electors chosen?
* Can a state legislature appoint electors itself?
* How often have electors been faithless?
* What if the electoral votes are disputed?
* What if a candidate dies before Election Day? (It happened in 1912.) Before the electoral votes are cast? (It happened in 1872.) Before they're formally counted? (It has never happened.) Before Inauguration Day? (It almost happened in 1933 to FDR.)
* What if the election goes to the House?

This book contains a lot of information that should be more widely known, especially in light of the 2000 election. I would have appreciated more historical narratives. If there is a 2004 edition, obviously the authors will have a lot to say about 1876 and 2000.

Some interesting elections which could have been discussed are:

1836: The Whigs try to send the election to the House by running three regional candidates, but fail. Virginia's 23 electors refuse to vote for Richard Johnson, Martin Van Buren's running mate, sending the VP race to the Senate. Why? Johnson reportedly married one of his slaves!

1844: Moderate Henry Clay barely loses decisive New York thanks to an abolitionist candidate. Proslavery expansionist James Polk wins and proceeds with the Texas annexation and the Mexican War.

1860: Abraham Lincoln isn't even on the ballot in the South, but he wins a popular plurality and an electoral majority. This would have still happened even if his three opponents united.

1864: No electors are appointed from the Confederate states, although Lincoln asserts that these states never left the Union. I believe Congress formally excluded the seceded states from the Electoral College. This would have been interesting precedent if Florida in 2000 ended with no electors. Does Gore win 267-246 with 25 abstentions, or does it go to the House because 267 of 538 is not a majority?

1880, 1884, 1888: New York tips the election each time. 1880's popular vote nationally was 10,000 out of 9 million, 1884 is remembered for the fateful "rum, Romanism, and rebellion" slur, and 1888 is remembered for the "wrong winner."

1896: William Jennings Bryan, heading both the Democratic and Populist tickets, has two running mates. If he won things would have been interesting, because his electors did not vote for VP as a bloc.

1916: World War I looms. This largely forgotten race has the closest electoral vote (277-254) between 1876 and 2000. California's 13 votes decides - by 4,000 votes out of a million. At first it appears that Charles Evans Hughes has unseated Woodrow Wilson. Imagine if he asked for a recount...

The book is fairly concise while still covering a lot of interesting ground. Recommended.
This is the perfect book for anyone who has never quite understood how the electoral college works (or, even, why we still use it) in national elections for the President. It highlights the historical foundations for its formation, as well as specific, historical examples--where its existence has proven to be questionable (at best), in terms of electing the President of the U.S. This book's timeliness can be seen in the current presidential-election situation--which has called into question the electoral college's capability, in being able to elect "the people's choice" to the presidency.
The Electoral College Primer (Yale Fastback Series) ebook
Professor Lawrence D. Longley,Mr. Neal R. Peirce
Politics & Government
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Yale University Press (October 1, 1996)
256 pages
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