Tuesday, 30 March 2004

Election reform

Russell Arben Fox has a lengthy summary of an article from February’s American Political Science Review, “Election Time: Normative Implications of Temporal Properties of the Electoral Process in the United States,” by Dennis F. Thompson.

Unlike my usual practice when it comes to the APSR (which is to scan the table of contents, find nothing of immediate interest to my research agenda, and then dump it onto the stack of journals—yes, I’m a bad political scientist when it comes to journal-reading), I actually read the article, and while I’m not quite as enthusiastic about Thompson’s conclusions as Russell is (particularly because I don’t at all buy the argument that campaign finance regulations, no matter how strict, will put an end to the “permanent campaign”), I agree that Thompson does make some worthwhile contributions to the debate, including a strong argument that partisan gerrymandering is fundamentally antidemocratic.

I do wonder, however, where one buys a single copy of the APSR, as Russell implores his readers to do. My advice: go to your local college’s library and read it for free.