Direct democracy is alive and growing in the form of statewide ballot initiatives. Currently, twenty-four states allow individuals and groups to propose laws for direct voter consideration and tens of millions of dollars flow into the initiative industrial complex each election cycle. This book assesses the health of the initiative process through the insights of the leading initiative scholars, top journalists, and important political consultants from across the country. The book provides a critical and balanced look into a political mechanism that is having a profound influence on American politics.
Larry J. Sabato is Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs and director of the Center for Governmental Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He is the author of numerous books including Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics and Peepshow: Media and Politics in an Age of Scandal. Howard R. Ernst is assistant professor of political science department at the United States Naval Academy. Bruce A. Larson is assistant professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Part 1 The Historical Role of Narrow-Material Interests in Initiative Politics Chapter 2 Challenging Initiatives: More than Just Special-Interest Money, an Issue of Political Civility Chapter 3 Initiative Politics: A Useful Blend of Vested Interests and Citizen Politics Part 4 The Populist Legacy: Initiatives and the Undermining of Representative Government Chapter 5 Time to Walk the Talk Chapter 6 Dumber than Chimps? An Assessment of Direct Democracy Voters Part 7 Campaign Financing of Ballot Initiatives in the American States Chapter 8 Ballot Initiative Regulation Interferes with Political Liberty Chapter 9 The Initiative Process: Where People Count Part 10 Political Consultants and the Initiative Industrial Complex Chapter 11 The Campaign Business: a Consultant's Perspective Chapter 12 Observations of Initiative Elections Part 13 The Logic of Reform: Assessing Initiative Reform Strategies Chapter 14 Prospects of Reforming the Initiative Process- Some Thoughts Chapter 15 An Alligator in the Bathtub: Assessing Initiative Reform Proposals Part 16 A Call for Change: Making the Best of Initiative Politics Chapter 17 Response to "A Call for Change" Chapter 18 Biblography Chapter 19 Index