What would have happened if Aaron Burr, rather than Jefferson, had become president? What if Nixon had defeated Kennedy in 1960? What if Al Gore had become president in 2001 instead of George W. Bush? Using six cases, political scientists Robert Dudley and Eric Shiraev argue that engaging in this counterfactual exercise provides an excellent opportunity to revisit history, learn from its lessons, and relate to contemporary elections.
The authors’ aim is not to prove that their suggested scenarios would have certainly happened, but merely to show that they might have, and therein lies the importance of voting. Every vote counts, and the consequences can be enormous.
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About the Author
Eric Shiraev is a professor and senior research associate with George Mason’s Center for Global Studies and research associate with the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies of George Washington University. He is the coauthor of People and Their Opinions: Thinking Critically About Public Opinion (Pearson, 2006), with Richard Sobel; and America: Sovereign Defender or Cowboy Nation? (Ashgate, 2005), with Vladimir Shlapentokh and Joshua Woods. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.