Download Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power by Dana D. Nelson PDF

By Dana D. Nelson

Throughout our heritage, americans were at the same time encouraged and seduced by means of the yank presidency and anxious concerning the misuse of presidential power—from the time of Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR to Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush—as a grave chance to the U.S.. In undesirable for Democracy, Dana D. Nelson is going past blaming specific presidents for jeopardizing the fragile stability of the structure to argue that it's the place of work of the presidency itself that endangers the nice American scan. The emotional impulse to determine the president as a hero, Nelson contends, has ceded our skill to perform executive through the folk and for the folk. She exhibits that workout democratic rights has turn into idealized as—and woefully constrained to—the act of balloting for the president. This pressing ebook unearths the futility of putting all of our hopes for the longer term within the American president and encourages electorate to create a politics of deliberation, motion, and supplier. Arguing for a go back of the stability of power—both symbolically and in practice—to all of the branches of presidency, Nelson eventually calls on american citizens to alter our personal direction and picture a democracy that we, the folks, lead together.

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Additional resources for Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People

Sample text

As political scientists Marc Hetherington and Michael Nelson observe of our own era: “The significance of the chief of state role has little to do with the insignificant formal powers that accompany it or the activities it requires. Rather, it lies in the emotions the role arouses in citizens. ” We are taught in childhood to cede our revolutionary grant of sovereign power as a self-governing democratic People to a fantasy about the president’s “boundless power,” his superhuman ability to protect us, and “benevolence,” his endless capacity to feel our pain (whether or not he can do something about it).

Bad for Democracy This book is about how the presidency came to be so powerful and why that’s bad, both for democratic government and for us as citizens of the world’s “leading” democracy. It’s about why we don’t have to surrender INTRODUCTION 23 to our presidentially trained civic powerlessness, and what we can do instead of surrendering. This book differs significantly from other recent critiques of executive branch power in its willingness to analyze the institution of the presidency rather than blame particular actors, and in its optimism about our ability to challenge these powers and change our democratic future.

S. government and its citizens. So when the itinerant preacher and traveling book salesman Mason Locke Weems began marketing his wildly popular “I cannot tell a lie” biography of Washington in the early 1800s, he offered the American public a chance nostalgically and fictionally to recapture a sensation of national unity that could offset their anxieties about ongoing political disagreements. It seems that the American public in 1809 understood Weems’s folksy fictions about the president for what they were: moral embellishments.

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