American Elections: The Rules Matter

A fascinating must-read for anyone wishing to better understand Election 2000, or any American election, this unique new book by two renowned authors gives readers the tools they need to examine our election system as it exists today. Two themes make this text's approach to understanding American elections unique. First, it looks at elections in the context of the new institutionalism, arguing that an understanding of American elections requires more than knowledge of voting behavior. Election choices and voter responses to the electoral process are profoundly affected by the laws defining the electoral process. Secondly, the importance of federalism in understanding the electoral systems is emphasized throughout. Although there are elections for national office, there is no national election. There have been nationalizing trends in election law, but states-as seen in Florida after the 2000 election-are still the major actors in defining American elections. In order to gain a true understanding of U.S. elections, the effects of new institutionalism and federalism must be taken into account-and Dudley & Gitelson's new text is the only one to offer such an approach.