The Right to Vote has Become the Fight to Vote

Wall Street Journal Book Review by Henry Olsen, 3/21/16
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Michael Waldman is president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan law and policy institute that focuses on improving the systems of democracy and justice.  From the book’s description:  “Waldman takes a…look at a crucial American struggle: the drive to define and defend government based on ‘the consent of the governed.’ From the beginning, and at every step along the way, as Americans sought the right to vote, others have fought to stop them.  This is the first book to trace the full story from the founders’ debates to today’s challenges: a wave of restrictive voting laws, partisan gerrymanders, the flood of campaign money unleashed by Citizens United.  Americans are proud of our democracy.  But today that system seems to be under siege, and the right to vote has become the fight to vote.”

Other editorial reviews:

“Waldman’s important and engaging account demonstrates that over the long term, the power of the democratic ideal prevails–as long as the people so demand.” (The Washington Post)

The Fight to Vote is an important and powerful reminder that we forget American history at our peril: that democracy was hard-won and that with the right to vote once again under attack, it’s ours to lose.” (Linda Greenhouse, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, and Joseph Goldstein, Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School)

“As Waldman makes clear in this important book, the fight to vote has been at the heart of US history, as have the countless debates over how to expand democracy even as ‘some fought to gain a voice in their government’ while ‘others fought just as hard to silence them.’…Waldman’s bracing account of voting rights and political equality arrives right on time for the 2016 presidential campaign.” (Booklist, starred review)

“A compelling–and disheartening–history of voting in America….Waldman urges citizens to find a way to celebrate democracy and reinvigorate political engagement for all.  A timely contribution to the discussion of a crucial issue.”  (Kirkus Reviews)

“Through this book, Michael Waldman delivers a message every American needs to hear.  The struggle for the right to vote is not over.  It is still being waged even today.  We must use it or we can lose it.” (Rep. John Lewis)

All bolding ours.

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