Allan Lichtman calls attention to the U.S. founders' greatest error—failing to guarantee individual citizens the right to vote—and explains why it has triggered an unending struggle over voting rights.
Allan J. Lichtman’s important book emphasizes the founders’ great blunder: They failed to enshrine a right to vote in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights ... Lichtman, a professor of history at American University, uses history to contextualize the fix we’re in today. Each party gropes for advantage by fiddling with the franchise ... Lichtman ticks through the vital reforms ... Lichtman sounds dispirited about his own proposals ... Just beyond the scope of Lichtman’s book hovers the great question of our time. Why has partisan conflict grown so fierce? ... Lichtman ends with a little flicker of hope. Growing outrage, he thinks, could ignite demands for change. With luck, this fine history might just help to fan the flame.
Allan J. Lichtman discusses VIVA [the Voter Information and Verification Act] at length in a chapter late in The Embattled Vote in America, while his earlier chapters provide a rich historical background to the law ... The great value of Lichtman’s book is the way it puts today’s right-wing voter suppression efforts in their historical setting. He identifies the current push as the third crackdown on African-American voting rights in our history.
Lichtman...a winner of the National Jewish Book Award, does not conceal his political preferences throughout this sturdy account; it’s abundantly clear that he is unhappy with both Donald Trump and the current GOP. Nonetheless, he marches us through the dark history of voter limitation, from the Founders to now, and the images he paints are not flattering ... His text is rich, occasionally dense, with examples ... An alarming, important, perhaps even essential book.