Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics
by Steven Hill
AVAILABILITY: Usually ships within 2-5 days
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hard bound
Topics: Democracy: Theory & Practice, History: Local to Global, Race & Civil Rights, Social Movements, United States, Visioning the Future
Description: More info about the book at: www.FixingElections.com . On the web site you can read generous recommendations from noted leaders, writers, and thinkers like Hendrik Hertzberg (The New Yorker), Lani Guinier, author Michael Lind, Katrina vanden Heuvel (editor of The Nation), Prof. Robert Dahl, author William Greider, Professor Rich DeLeon, and Richard Winger (editor of Ballot Access News).
Review(s): "...Steven Hill of the San Francisco-based Center for Voting and Democracy is one of the country's leading proponents of proportional representation, instant runoff voting (IRV), and other alternatives to winner-take-all electoral systems. He was the campaign manager for the precedent-setting Proposition A, a 2001 ballot measure that made San Francisco the nation's first major city to adopt an IRV system for its elections. In 'Fixing Elections', he breaks down how our two-party duopoly has increasingly left most Americans unrepresented and alienated, setting up everything from the dominance of money in politics to the lack of competitive races, risk-taking, or representation of minority voices and views. Again, Hill offers solutions; many other countries have found ways to improve on our 18th century notions of representative democracy, and Hill outlines a lot of the alternatives, how they work, and how folks can work to get them enacted. An eye-opening examination of just how deeply embedded in our electoral structure many of our current woes are, and how simple - and revolutionary - some of the fixes could be." - Working for Change.com, Nov. 27, 2002
"Between capricious voting machines and the corrupting influence of campaign gifts, the American electoral system is not enjoying its finest hour. But these problems are not what bothers Steven Hill, a co-founder of the Center for Voting and Democracy (a think tank led by former presidential candidate John Anderson). In this tireless jeremiad, Hill maintains that the true threat to our democracy is "Winner Take All," the voting system that reduces an election to a crude all-or-nothing contest that is often decided by special-interest groups.
"It will surprise some former U.S. civics students to learn just how many voting systems exist. "As political scientist Robert Dahl and others have pointed out," Hill says, "the Winner Take All voting system was pretty much all that the Framers knew, since other voting systems like cumulative voting, choice voting, limited voting, proportional representation, instant runoff voting, and the like had not yet been invented... [so] we can hardly blame the Framers."
"Somewhat sweeping in his judgments, Hill blames this culprit for ills ranging from poor voter turnout to self-protective redistricting, from ruthless partisanship to the power of lobbies to subvert the popular will. Yet, despite the repetition, his explanations are well worth following. For one thing, he is a true scholar of the electoral process, illuminating state assembly votes and presidential campaigns alike, and able to tell you exactly what voting system has been used - and when - in nearly every precinct in the country.
"Hill's tour of the U.S. political landscape today gets the book off to a lively start, and anyone who stays with him through the mountains of evidence may well agree that some of our sacred cows are ready to be put out to pasture." - David Baker, Yale Magazine, November 2002