Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Election?: 6th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Election?

6th Edition

By Stephen J. Wayne


258 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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The 2016 elections are over, but the debate over the fairness and accuracy of our electoral process has never been more contentious. Hacking, fake news, a 'rigged system,' voter ID challenges, Super PACs, and an Electoral College defying the popular vote count all lead to a common question and concern: Is this any way to run a democratic election?

New to the Sixth Edition

  • New data and timely illustrations from the 2016 elections.
  • Social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) and their impact.
  • Fake news vs. more objective and traditional election news coverage.
  • Election integrity in the face of hacking, rumoring, and instantaneous news.
  • Money—the role of Super PACs and billionaire donors as well as candidates.
  • Updates and refinements to pedagogical features including chapter introductions, end of chapter exercises, and online references in the suggested readings.


Praise for the Sixth Edition

If you aren't lucky enough to be enrolled in one of Prof. Wayne's classes, this smart, accessible book is the next best option. It allows readers to explore what works and what doesn't—and helps them to analyze for themselves how and why.

Rebecca Sinderbrand, Yale University; The Washington Post

Do democratic elections accomplish in practice what they promise in theory? This fresh edition of Wayne’s seminal book looks back at the 2015–2016 election cycle and reminds readers that many of the contributing factors to Donald Trump's success are features of the American election process rather than exceptions to it.

Lauren A. Wright, Princeton University; Author of On Behalf of the President

In a time of rampant questions about domestic elections and "fake news," this edition of Stephen J. Wayne's book is both timely and relevant. The questions he raises about the integrity of our state election systems and the impact and role of social media, money, the nomination process, and political parties in our election processes are urgent today. Highly recommended.

John Kenneth White, Catholic University of America; Author of What Happened to the Republican Party?

A comprehensive study of every component of the American electoral process… and essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand how American elections inform politics and policy making. By addressing key issues in the 2016 elections, from social media to voter ID laws, Wayne grounds contemporary electoral questions in enduring debates about American democratic governance.

Meena Bose, Hofstra University; Director, Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency

Wayne tackles many of the great questions of American politics – voter turnout, representation, the roles of media and money, parties, nominations, campaigns, and government responsiveness – with an engaging, accessible, and informed discussion that will prove useful in a variety of undergraduate courses.

George C. Edwards III, Texas A&M University

Timely, insightful, and comprehensive, this book is a must-read for students, scholars, and instructors: Wayne provides a clear analytical framework for understanding the American system and thought-provoking ideas about elections past and future.

Margaret Tseng, Marymount University

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Democratic Elections: What’s the Problem?

Chapter 2 Popular Base of American Electoral Politics

Chapter 3 How Representative Are American Elections?

Chapter 4 Has Money Corrupted Our Electoral Process?

Chapter 5 News Media Coverage: Fair or Unfair? True or False?

Chapter 6 The Nomination Process: Whose Is It Anyway?

Chapter 7 Are American Parties Still Representative?

Chapter 8 Campaign Communications: How Much Do They Matter?

Chapter 9 Elections and Government: A Tenuous Connection

About the Author

Stephen J. Wayne is Professor of Government at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on the presidency, elections, and psychology and politics. Wayne makes regular appearances in the media and on the lecture circuit, speaking about the American presidency and electoral politics.

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