Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of
Democracy in America (Paperback)
by Andrew Gumbel
(3 customer reviews)
List Price: $15.95
From Publishers Weekly
In a riveting and frightening account, Gumbel, U.S. correspondent for Britain's Independent, traces election fraud in America from the 18th century to the present, spotlighting the Hayes-Tilden election of 1876, vote buying in the Gilded Age and the history of black disenfranchisement in the post-Reconstruction South.
The last 100 pages are devoted to the elections of 2000 and 2004. Gumbel rehearses the Florida mess and argues that those who care about voting rights should be terrified by Justice Scalia's argument in Bush v. Gore that the Constitution doesn't per se guarantee a right of suffrage. Gumbel shows that the confusion (at best) and cheating (at worst) that went on in Florida are not unusual, describing numerous county and state elections plagued with problems: registered voters purged from the rolls; queues at polling places so long that would-be voters gave up; and confusing ballots.
Who are the villains? Not just the Republicans; he shows Democrats equally willing to play dirty. This book is sure to be controversial, and if it garners media attention, that's all for the good, for the issues Gumbel so winningly addresses are crucial to the future of democracy. (Sept.)
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The 2000 presidential election meltdown and the more recent controversy about computer voting machines did not come out of the blue. Steal This Vote tells the fraught but very colorful history of electoral malfeasance in the United States. It is a tale of votes bought, stolen, suppressed, lost, cast more than once, assigned to dead people and pets, miscounted, thrown into rivers, and litigated all the way to the Supreme Court. (No wonder America has the lowest voter participation rate of any Western democracy!)
Andrew Gumbel-whose work on the new electronic voting fraud has been praised by Gore Vidal and Paul Krugman, and has won a Project Censored Award-shows that, for all the idealism about American democracy, free and fair elections have been the exception, not the rule. In fact, Gumbel suggests that Tammany Hall, shrouded as it is in moral odium, might have been a fairer system than we have today, because ostensibly positive developments like the secret ballot have been used to squash voting rights ever since.
* Paperback: 362 pages
* Publisher: Nation Books (July 10, 2005)
* Language: English
* ISBN: 1560256761
* Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.3 x 1.0 inches
* Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces.
* Amazon.com Sales Rank: #614 in Books
(Publishers and authors: improve your sales)
Excellent book, August 21, 2005
Reviewer: KAB (Columbus, OH) - See all my reviews
Andrew Gumbel's 'Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America' is an interesting book which encourages American readers to think deeply about their democracy as it relates to the voting system. The author discloses the flaws central to this issue by retracing its history all the way back to the Hayes-Tilden election of 1876 to the 2000 and 2004 elections, all three of which whose results we are taught were byproducts of election fraud.
One aspect of this book that I find particularly interesting is that, unlike a barrage of other political books on the market, it is not a one-sided attack against either conservatives or liberals; it shows that members of both parties are not shy about breaking the rules, thereby dispelling any belief that only Republicans would take part in voter fraud.
In conclusion, 'Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America' is sure to be useful tool for readers interested in learning American democracy in terms of the structure of its voting system. It is also sure to be a necessary resource for readers interested in learning how the powers-to-be can not only succeed in secretly disenfrachising voters belonging to a lower class, but get away it. It may even encourage Americans to stand up and push for a more promising, fairer voting system. Recommended highly.
Yet another wakeup call, August 19, 2005
Reviewer: S. C Sochet "samerator" (syosset, NY United States)
This book has gone almost unnoticed in the media. It is clear that Republican operatives took advantage of the fact that there really is no legal penalty for election tampering. Therefore, fixing elections is as American as apple pie. No penalty, not reason not to do it. Ask anyone you know in politics, especially if they didn't win, and they will tell you. Sad.
Finally and Yikes!, August 9, 2005
Reviewer: Celia Alario (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Wow! After 2000 and 2004 I really did feel like the crisis of electoral politics in the US was systemic but not until Gumbel's book did I realize that the history is all there, well there in HIS book, not in my high school or college history books. Thank heaven he ends with tangible suggestions for solutions and ways to return us to a true democracy. Now the job is to organize to make those suggestions into reality.