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You Call This Democracy? 

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How to fix our government and
deliver power to the people

YALSA Finalist
NYPL Best Book
Kirkus Best Book
Oregon Book Award finalist
Stepping Stone Award winner

— New York Times Book Review
★ "A riveting must-read."
Kirkus, starred

* Presidents who take office without winning the popular vote. *

* Voting districts drawn by politicians for their own benefit. *

* Millions of citizens – young, old, poor, people of color,

women – blocked from voting. *

* Money money money wielding more influence

than the wishes of ordinary Americans. *


We think we live in a democracy. One person, one vote. But how democratic is our government really? The hard truth is that political power is not shared equally among all citizens. It shouldn’t matter if you are rich, poor, urban, rural, Democrat, Republican, old, or young when you mark your ballot. Your race and gender shouldn’t matter either. But they all do.


Problems with the Electoral College, gerrymandering, voter suppression, the role of money in elections, and a lack of representation in the polls and in our leadership have led Americans to doubt their government and lash out at each other. Rather than pointing fingers at people and political parties, You Call THIS Democracy? exposes flaws in the system—and offers a clear way out of the mess we are in. Each chapter illuminates an undemocratic element plaguing American democracy and offers solutions, with examples of citizens already working to make change. International comparisons broaden the appeal to readers from all around the globe.  Extensive sources and resources welcome citizens to dig deeper―and take action.

So read this book.
Get outraged.

And then get to work.

Our future depends on it.

"The challenges are sobering, and Rusch lays them out clearly…Rusch unites a passion for democracy with a belief in the power of young people to help restore it. A riveting must-read."  Kirkus, starred review
"Like many well-executed books written for smart teenagers, You Call This Democracy? is enlightening for adults as well." New York Times Book Review
“An elucidating call to action…explores all the ways all citizens (not just youth) can become involved in democratic processes. An excellent book to supplement (or supplant!) many civics texts.”  — Booklist


"Rusch’s clear and engaging prose makes this book a worthy read for adults, too, as she explains gerrymandering, campaign finance, the Electoral College, voter suppression and more. To see the book’s relevancy, readers need only to turn to recent news stories that touch on topics Rusch addresses..." The Oregonian

"You Call THIS Democracy? is vital to understanding how our democracy really works. This book will enable readers to fully appreciate the challenges we face in preserving the integrity of future elections."

 — Donna Brazile, FOX News contributor and political strategist

You Call THIS Democracy? gives us a clear look at the problems we face in our politics today, from voter suppression to gerrymandering to sorting through the noise of partisanship. Most importantly, it provides a roadmap for how we can come together and use our power as citizens to fix them. As we enter into an election year where nothing less than the fate of our republic is at stake, this book is an important read for anyone interested in our politics.”   — Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Reading Rusch’s book is like taking a breath of fresh air and being injected with a vial of hope. A real democracy is within our reach!”

 — Maria Cardona, CNN/CNN en Español political commentator


A desperately needed reality check, resource and call to action for readers of all ages.”

 — Martha Brockenbrough, author of Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary


“This is a powerful book—literally. It's a clear and compelling user's guide to our democracy that gives readers the knowledge and tools to make a difference right now.”

 — Steve Sheinkin, author of National Book Award finalist BOMB


“Elizabeth Rusch has written an important, revealing, and feisty book that shines a light on the many ways our governmental system actually undermines democracy. I hope readers are galvanized by her suggestions—and take action.”

 — Cynthia Levinson, co-author of Fault Lines in the Constitution


“This is an important book for our times. Thoroughly researched and easy to read, You Call THIS Democracy? belongs in the hands of every voter and future voter. Our democracy depends on it.”

 — Winifred Conkling, author of Votes for Women!

"Rusch offers a sprawling, information-rich exploration of the current state of American democracy."  — School Library Journal

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