By Alan Ware
This is the first major study of the origins of direct primary elections in the U.S. since the 1920s. It rejects the widely held view that primaries resulted from a conflict between anti-party reformers and so-called party "regulars." Instead, it shows that the direct primary was the result of an attempt, starting in the late 1880s, by mainstream party politicians to subject their previously informal procedures to formal rules. Politicians turned to the direct primary because it proved impossible to make effective changes to the caucus-convention system of nominating candidates.