A More Perfect Constitution Why the Constitution Must Be Revised: Ideas to Inspire a New Generation


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Walker & Company


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0802716830

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352 Pages

$18.00

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Larry Sabato is increasingly alarmed at the growing dysfunction and unfairness that he perceives in our political system. To solve this, to restore the equity for ordinary citizens that is at the core of our democratic society, he believes that a radical step must be taken—to revise the Constitution, the document that guides our country’s political process.  He suggests that its outmoded provisions are holding the United States back and that those elements of the document must be reformed and updated in order for positive change and progress to take place.

The original framers fully expected the Constitution to be regularly revised by succeeding generations to reflect the country's changing needs; yet, apart from the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, it has only been amended 17 times in 220 years, and most of those amendments had minor ramifications. Today, partisan gridlock dominates Washington; 17 percent of voters elect a majority of senators; the presidency has assumed powers that are unprecedented and likely unintended by the original authors; politicians spend as much time campaigning for office as they do governing; and average Americans feel more and more disconnected from the political process so that half or more don't vote in many elections—all of which would most likely have horrified Jefferson and Madison.

A More Perfect Constitution presents twenty-three dynamic proposals to reinvigorate American governance at a time when, Sabato argues, such change is urgently needed. Combining idealism and pragmatism, and with full respect for the original document, Sabato's thought-provoking ideas range from the length of the president's term in office and the number and terms of Supreme Court justices to the structure of Congress, the vagaries of the antiquated Electoral College, and a compelling call for universal national service—all laced through with the history behind each issue and their potential impact on the lives of ordinary people.

Sabato is aware that such changes won't happen easily, but he urges us nonetheless to engage in the debate and discussion they will surely engender.

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  • The founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, Larry J. Sabato has been called "the Dr. Phil of American politics." He has appeared on every national television and radio program, including 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Hardball, The O'Reilly Factor, and Nightline. A Rhodes scholar, he received his doctorate in politics from Oxford, and has been on the faculty of UVA since 1978. He is the author of countless articles and some twenty books, including Feeding Frenzy: Attack Journalism & American Politics, The Rise of Political Consultants: New Ways of Winning Elections, and most recently The Sixth Year Itch: The Rise and Fall of George W. Bush's Presidency, and he co-anchored the BBC's coverage of the 2006 elections. In 2002, the University of Virginia gave him its highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, given annually to one person since 1955.
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