cover image Bush v. Gore: Exposing the Hidden Crisis in American Democracy

Bush v. Gore: Exposing the Hidden Crisis in American Democracy

Charles L. Zelden, . . Univ. Press of Kansas, $34.95 (390pp) ISBN 978-0-7006-1593-3

Historian Zelden (Battle for the Black Ballot ) offers a comprehensive and thoughtful study of the high-stakes legal drama of the 2000 presidential election. He doggedly documents the strategies of the troops of lawyers from the Bush and Gore camps, the seesaw of court victories and defeats, the transparent machinations of the local political machinery as well as what he views as the prejudices and predilections of the Florida judges who had a role in the dispute. Zelden is especially attentive to the rationales of individual Supreme Court justices, which resulted in the Court's opinion in Bush v. Gore . But Zelden's most heartfelt point is that the electoral process—the bedrock of democracy—is broken, and that without significant reform American democracy is threatened. Zelden suggests that the U.S. needs a uniform national electoral system that leaves no “wiggle room” for partisan local officials. The details of the Bush v. Gore dispute may seem stale to some readers, but Zelden's concerns about restoring the integrity of the electoral process are provocative and timely. (Sept. 4)