Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Fall 2006), pp. 1389-1406


This Comment takes the common comparison of shareholder democracy and political democracy in a new direction by exploring the parallels between the board of directors and the Electoral College, examining both institutions in light of the differences between nation and corporation and their contrasting histories. Both are "once removed" representative democracies, because both systems only give the voters the right to vote for representatives who then select those who actually govern. The Comment next considers, with a critical eye, the underlying premise that shareholder and civic democracies can be compared at all, given the radically different nature of the corporate and civic polities. It concludes that the Electoral College/board of directors comparison, like the comparison of the two democracies, is tantalizing but ultimately of limited value given the distinctive roles that each institution, and each polity, play in the modern world.