Ultimate Tyranny : The Majority Over the Majority
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- Hardback | 229 pages
- 142.24 x 210.82 x 27.94mm | 204.12g
- 09 Apr 1981
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
- New York, United Kingdom
When Gene McCarthy ran for President as an independent in 1976, he ran up against a series of barriers erected over time to thwart third or minor party candidates; hence this chronicle of complaints about how we choose a president. McCarthy opens with charges that the Constitution is under attack through the reckless use of amendments; he cites the prospective balanced budget amendment as a prime example, but proposals for the direct election of the president are his real target. Distinguishing between technical and substantive amendments, McCarthy argues that the Founders' decision to establish an Electoral College was a reasoned effort to protect minorities and maximize participation. The Electoral College system is in need of repair, he agrees, and would have us devise a better system of voting for electors to establish a proportional representation. This chapter is the first and last to deal with anything approximating a theoretical issue; virtually everything else is related to his own election bid. McCarthy decries the 1974 electoral reform as guaranteeing Republican and Democratic hegemony through federal financing, and recounts his own legal efforts to have the reforms declared unconstitutional. Likewise, he goes through his unsuccessful challenge to equal-time provisions by the networks, and the struggles he had with the bureaucratic decisions of the Federal Election Commission. A couple of general chapters round off his anger through attacks on government bureaucracy in general and the print media, which he accuses of unwitting complicity in limiting political discussion. The trouble isn't with McCarthy's accusations - the two parties really do control the electoral process, there are good reasons for opposing direct election, the press is myopic, etc. - but with the nagging, personal quality of his complaints. When he thinks broadly and sprinkles his reflections with his ample knowledge of American history, McCarthy has something to say; most of the time, unfortunately, he's reliving the less interesting of his two campaigns. (Kirkus Reviews)