Campaigns, Elections, and the Threat to Democracy

This book offers the most up-to-date examination of campaigns and elections, along with the threats to democracy coming from the 2020 presidential election, the Big Lie, and more recent attempts to stifle democratic involvement. 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 the US system of campaigns and elections has become much more fragile than previously thought. Campaigns have changed profoundly: social media and viral messaging compete with traditional media; Supreme Court decisions on campaign-finance law now encourage mega-donors and have given the green light to all-out partisan gerrymandering. Voters are more polarized, and thanks mostly to Donald Trump, the whole legitimacy of elections is called into question. Further, the United States has faced the threat of foreign influence in our national elections. This book addresses fundamental questions about who votes in American elections, how legislative districts are drawn up, the empty charges 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. 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 are vulnerable to abuse.

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