There are two basic approaches to permitting people to partici pate in their government. The first, called functional representation, is based on the theory that society is made up of different constituencies, including labor, business, church, academic, ethnic, racial, and other groups.
Each group is allocated a certain number of seats in the legislature or convention. The allocation of each group’s percentage is necessarily arbitrary and imposed by a dictator or other force from above. This is the type of government used in Franco’s Spain and in Salazar’s Portugal.
The second type of public participation, called electoral representation, is based on the premise that society is composed of individuals who live in different communities. Under this system, the territory is divided into geographic areas, and individuals vote for their representatives from that district.
This is the type of governmental participation always chosen by democratic political systems, and it has served us well in America for nearly 200 years.
Minority militants however, have been diligently working in the Democratic and Republican parties to restructure their National Nominating Conventions into racial, ethnic, and sex groups, rather than on the basis of delegates democratically elected from geographical areas. The militants are trying to force on each party convention a system of quotas for various minority groups. They don’t call them quotas, but they amount to the same thing.
The success of these militants at the 1972 Democratic Convention led directly to the nomination of George McGovern at what regular Democrats now think was the most unrepresentative Convention in generations. Yet·despite this bitter memory, the militants scored a partial repeat success at the recent Democratic Party mini-convention in Kansas City.
At the 1972 Republican National Convention, the militants seeking to McGovernize the party were overwhelmingly defeated by a margin of more than two-to-one. However they are now working behind the scenes through what is called the Rule 29 Committee to impose their rules changes on the 1976 Republican National Convention.
Congressman Philip Crane, who has shown particular leadership in opposing those trying to McGovernize the Republican Party, stated recently: “Quotas — no matter how disguised –. do violence to the values and freedoms of Americans in all societal groups, and they frustrate the ability of the people to name the delegates and party officials they desire through elections and conventions. I know from my travels across this nation that the Republican Party is already open to all who wish to participate in it and this is especially true at the Iocal level.”
The minority militants in both political parties represent a movement that is alien to our form of government and in fundamental opposition to the democratic process. It should be clearly recognized as an attempt to suppress the right of the voters to elect whomever they choose to represent their districts at national party conventions.