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Bad for Democracy

How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People

Bad for Democracy by Dana D. Nelson
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Throughout our history, Americans have been simultaneously inspired and seduced by the American presidency and concerned about the misuse of presidential power—from the time of Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR to Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush—as a grave threat to the United States. In Bad for Democracy, Dana D. Nelson goes beyond blaming particular presidents for jeopardizing the delicate balance of the Constitution to argue that it is the office of the presidency itself that endangers the great American experiment. The emotional impulse to see the president as a hero, Nelson contends, has ceded our ability to practice government by the people and for the people. She shows that exercising democratic rights has become idealized as—and woefully limited to—the act of voting for the president. This urgent book reveals the futility of placing all of our hopes for the future in the American president and encourages citizens to create a politics of deliberation, action, and agency. Arguing for a return of the balance of power—both symbolically and in practice—to all the branches of government, Nelson ultimately calls on Americans to change our own course and imagine a democracy that we, the people, lead together.
University of Minnesota Press; September 2008
272 pages; ISBN 9780816666607
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Title: Bad for Democracy
Author: Dana D. Nelson
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Presidential Power to the People - Utne Reader Online
Mon, 05 Jan 2009 12:21:47 -0800
Presidential Power to the PeopleUtne Reader OnlineThe title of Dana D. Nelson's latest book captures both its radical ...