For the Many or the Few

Author: John G. Matsusaka
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226510875
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Direct democracy is alive and well in the United States. Citizens are increasingly using initiatives and referendums to take the law into their own hands, overriding their elected officials to set tax, expenditure, and social policies. John G. Matsusaka's For the Many or the Few provides the first even-handed and historically based treatment of the subject. Drawing upon a century of evidence, Matsusaka argues against the popular belief that initiative measures are influenced by wealthy special interest groups that neglect the majority view. Examining demographic, political, and opinion data, he demonstrates how the initiative process brings about systematic changes in tax and expenditure policies of state and local governments that are generally supported by the citizens. He concludes that, by and large, direct democracy in the form of the initiative process works for the benefit of the many rather than the few. An unprecedented, comprehensive look at the historical, empirical, and theoretical components of how initiatives function within our representative democracy to increase political competition while avoiding the tyranny of the majority, For the Many or the Few is a most timely and definitive work.

Direct Democracy and Minority Rights

Author: Daniel C. Lewis
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 0415537436
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This book conclusively demonstrates that direct democracy—institutions like the ballot initiative and the referendum—endangers the rights of minorities and perpetuates a tyranny of the majority. While advocates of direct democracy advocate that these institutions protect citizens from corrupt lawmakers beholden to special interests, Daniel Lewis’s thorough investigation shows how such mass participation exposes minority groups to negative policy outcomes favored by only a slim majority of voters. Some would argue that greater democratic responsiveness is a positive outcome, but without the checks and balances of a representative, separated powers system that encourages deliberation and minority representation, minority rights are at increased risk under direct democracy institutions. While research has been presented that supports both sides of the debate, the existing literature has yet to produce consistent and compelling evidence in favor of one side or the other. This book undertakes a comprehensive examination of the "tyranny of the majority" critique of direct democracy by examining a host of contemporary American state policies that affect the rights of a variety of minority groups. By assessing the impact of direct democracy on both ballot measures and traditional legislation, the book provides a more complete picture of how citizen legislative institutions can affect minority rights, covering a myriad of contemporary (and sometimes controversial) minority rights issues, including same-sex marriage, affirmative action, official English, hate crimes laws, racial profiling, and anti-discrimination laws. The book is unique in its approach and scope, making it compelling for scholars interested in direct democracy, state politics, minority politics and electoral institutions, as well as American politics generally.

Direct Democracy s Impact on American Political Institutions

Author: S. Bowler
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 0230612024
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In this volume a series of contributions look at the impact of direct democracy on those processes of representative democracy to raise – and answer – the question: Does direct democracy harm representative democracy?

Rethinking American Electoral Democracy

Author: Matthew J. Streb
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317519817
Format: PDF, Mobi
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While frustration with various aspects of American democracy abound in the United States, there is little agreement over—or even understanding of—what kinds of changes would make the system more effective and increase political participation. Matthew J. Streb sheds much-needed light on all the major concerns of the electoral process in the thoroughly revised third edition of this timely book on improving American electoral democracy. This critical examination of the rules and institutional arrangements that shape the American electoral process analyzes the major debates that embroil scholars and reformers on subjects ranging from the number of elections we hold and the use of nonpartisan elections, to the presidential nominating process and campaign finance laws. Ultimately, Streb argues for a less burdensome democracy, a democracy in which citizens can participate more easily in transparent, competitive elections. This book is designed to get students of elections and American political institutions to think critically about what it means to be democratic, and how democratic the United States really is. Part of the Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation series, edited by Matthew J. Streb.

The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government

Author: Donald P. Haider-Markel
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191611964
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government is an historic undertaking. It contains a wide range of essays that define the important questions in the field, evaluate where we are in answering them, and set the direction and terms of discourse for future work. The Handbook will have a substantial influence in defining the field for years to come. The chapters critically assess both the key works of state and local politics literature and the ways in which the sub-field has developed. It covers the main areas of study in subnational politics by exploring the central contributions to the comparative study of institutions, behavior, and policy in the American context. Each chapter outlines an agenda for future research.

Unequal Democracy

Author: Larry M. Bartels
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400883369
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Bartels’s acclaimed examination of how the American political system favors the wealthy—now fully revised and expanded The first edition of Unequal Democracy was an instant classic, shattering illusions about American democracy and spurring scholarly and popular interest in the political causes and consequences of escalating economic inequality. This revised, updated, and expanded second edition includes two new chapters on the political economy of the Obama era. One presents the Great Recession as a "stress test" of the American political system by analyzing the 2008 election and the impact of Barack Obama's "New New Deal" on the economic fortunes of the rich, middle class, and poor. The other assesses the politics of inequality in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 2012 election, and the partisan gridlock of Obama’s second term. Larry Bartels offers a sobering account of the barriers to change posed by partisan ideologies and the political power of the wealthy. He also provides new analyses of tax policy, partisan differences in economic performance, the struggle to raise the minimum wage, and inequalities in congressional representation. President Obama identified inequality as "the defining challenge of our time." Unequal Democracy is the definitive account of how and why our political system has failed to rise to that challenge. Now more than ever, this is a book every American needs to read.

The Jury and Democracy

Author: John Gastil
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199888531
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and the U.S. Supreme Court have all alleged that jury service promotes civic and political engagement, yet none could prove it. Finally, The Jury and Democracy provides compelling systematic evidence to support this view. Drawing from in-depth interviews, thousands of juror surveys, and court and voting records from across the United States, the authors show that serving on a jury can trigger changes in how citizens view themselves, their peers, and their government--and can even significantly increase electoral turnout among infrequent voters. Jury service also sparks long-term shifts in media use, political action, and community involvement. In an era when involved Americans are searching for ways to inspire their fellow citizens, The Jury and Democracy offers a plausible and realistic path for turning passive spectators into active political participants.