Campaigns and elections What everyone needs to know®

Dennis W. Johnson

Book - 2020

This book offers the most up-to-date examination of campaigns and elections, including the challenges and opportunities they present. It addresses fundamental questions about who votes in American elections, how legislative districts are reapportioned and why it matters, the realities of voter fraud, the pros and cons of reforming the Electoral College, the impact of dark money on campaigns, and the role of political consultants and specialists, among other topics. Given the fragility of our ele...ction process, what are the threats to a healthy American democracy? Do the candidates with the most money always win? This is not simply a book on how campaigns are run, but why campaigns and elections are integral components of American democracy and how those fundamental elements may be vulnerable to misuse.--COVER.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Oxford University Press [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
xxii, 188 pages ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780190935580
0190935588
9780190935573
019093557X
9780190935603
019093560X
Main Author
Dennis W. Johnson (author)
  • Voting and participation
  • Carving out legislative districts
  • Political parties and elections
  • Statewide, local, and congressional elections
  • Presidential elections
  • Money, mega donors, and wide open spending
  • Inner workings of modern campaigns
  • Direct democracy : ballot campaigns
  • How campaigns have changed
  • Threats to democracy.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Elections in the United States are an important component of the function of our democracy, providing voters with the opportunity to indicate which candidates they prefer and what policies they would like to see implemented. The purpose of this book is to educate readers about the significance and implications of those elections. Presented in question-and-answer format, it contains 126 short articles (ranging from two paragraphs to two pages in length) that have been grouped into ten broad chapters. Those chapters cover voting, redistricting, political parties, campaign financing, ballot initiatives, how campaigns have changed, threats to democracy, and more. The author uses both historical and current examples, with frequent references to the 2016 and 2018 elections. While the format often requires the reader to jump around in the book to follow some topics, the questions are relevant and the answers are quite readable. From super PACs and the Electoral College to gerrymandering and voter suppression, this book will help readers understand how American elections work and what can be done to keep them fair and representative. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Frequent and fair elections, open to all, are fundamental elements of a democracy. The United States, through its local, state, and national contests, holds more elections, more often, than any other democracy in the world. But in recent years, there have been troubling signs that our systemof campaigns and elections has become much more fragile than we had previously thought. More specifically, in the past twenty years, campaigns have changed profoundly: social media and viral messaging compete with traditional media, races once considered local in nature have become nationalized,Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance law now encourage mega-donors, voters are more polarized, party affiliation has waned, and the middle ideological ground has given way to extremist language and voter rage. Twice in sixteen years we have seen winning presidential candidates gaining fewerpopular votes than their opponents. The fundamental right of every citizen to vote has been impeded by state legislatures demanding tighter access, more identification, and accusations of voter fraud. And we have faced the real threat of foreign influence in our national elections. This book offers the most up-to-date examination of campaigns and elections, including the challenges and opportunities they present. It addresses fundamental questions about who votes in American elections, how legislative districts are reapportioned and why it matters, the realities of voterfraud, the pros and cons of reforming the Electoral College, the impact of dark money on campaigns, and the role of political consultants and specialists, among other topics. Given the fragility of our election process, what are the threats to a healthy American democracy? Do the candidates with themost money always win? This is not simply a book on how campaigns are run, but why campaigns and elections are integral components of American democracy and how those fundamental elements may be vulnerable to misuse.