3 out of 4 stars
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In our American politics, there has been a syndrome affecting some of us called “hold your nose and vote.” When elections come up, the two major parties, Democrats and Republicans, put out nominees that are so flawed that you wonder “this is all I have to pick from?” Voting then becomes an act of choosing who you perceive is the lesser of evils. What we get is not what we want, but it will have to do.
Thomas Peterson, in his book The Right To Nominate, proclaims that it does not have to be this way. Would you believe the framers of the Constitution were against all political parties? Our Founding Fathers saw how these factions divided countries and created our Constitution to fight against them. They knew parties were inevitable but sought to keep them under control through their check and balanced system. The predicament we find ourselves in now with the contentious and warmongering attitudes of our current political parties were not because the framers made an imperfect government. They just could not see into the future. Factions developed outside the framework of the government, and like a disease, slowly infected the entire political system. Peterson says, “The party system started out rotten, but in recent times has gotten worse: it is now an oppressive, vexing burden on America.” Every American today has lived under the umbrella of political parties and we assume this is how it will always be. Because of this assumption, some have become cynical of the government and don’t vote.
The author purposes an amendment to our Constitution that gives the people the right to nominate candidates. The power would be back into the hands of the citizens of the United States to say who they want to run for office. Anyone could recommend an individual for office on their merits without dealing with party affiliations and primaries. Once enough people-nominated individuals are in Congress, the death grip on the government that the parties hold will be broken.
Along with the political discourse, Peterson gives a historical background on America’s beginning. I was born in America, but I loved brushing up on my literacy in why the President has vetoes and what is the electoral college. Peterson even exposes who are the culprits in starting political parties in our country. The author throws serious shade at the third President, Thomas Jefferson, and his part in the political arena. I don’t believe Peterson’s vitriol towards Jefferson is completely warranted. Nevertheless, he makes interesting points.
Impressively, Peterson not only presents his idea but also gives a detailed plan on how to achieve it. He states the implantation will take time. Mostly, the author is easy to follow along in his thinking. There is one stipulation to the plan that confused me though. “By law, campaign funds must be provided for these public Nominees.” Funded by whom? Peterson is not clear on how he envisions the candidate to get money. Does the government give it to them or do they raise their own? Towards the end, also, the text became repetitive, and the pace slowed down.
Regardless of how you feel on American politics, Thomas Peterson gives a solid look at its history and the conception of the Constitution. At the very least you are given food for thought in how America could improve its government. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in politics and history, along with anyone looking for a change in the system. I give The Right To Nominate 3 out of 4 stars. There was one paragraph that was repeated verbatim and one missing comma. Overall, it was clean of grammatical errors.
The Right to Nominate
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