WINNERS AND LOSERS: How Elections Work in America by Jules Archer

WINNERS AND LOSERS: How Elections Work in America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Well-meant pap about the electoral system, with bitsy historical examples. There's the usual exhortation to teenagers to participate--join a party youth group, work for a candidate. Also, improve-the-world: ""Political activist Dick Gregory is convinced that youth offers the best hope for solving our national problems."" There's a brief reprise of presidential elections (the Hayes/Tilden imbroglio, Nixon's farewell-and-return, etc.); there are a few words on the attributes of a candidate. None of these topics is developed in any substantial way, however, while the statements about them are the commonest of knowledge. ""The candidate considered the 'front-runner' for his party's nomination is usually the one who emerges first in public-opinion polls and state primaries."" The history may be immaterial, distracting: ""A prime concern of every candidate is how to win time and space in the media. In ancient Rome a candidate's supporter would paint notices about them on walls."" About the closest Archer comes to a forthright statement is the observation that the Democrats have been the ones to co-opt third-party policies--but he actually describes the parties in terms that read like handouts. (To a degree, they are.) There are also anecdotes of campaign high-jinks and low blows. In tote, it reads like a card file put through a civics processor.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1984
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich