a valuable recruiting ground for attracting new workers to help in the upcoming presidential campaign.
Critics of the caucus-convention system argue that a small cadre of extremists within the party can capture control of the presidential nominating machinery within the state. Since only a small percentage of voters within a state--1 or 2 percent--can take over control of the precinct caucuses and the subsequent county, congressional, and state conventions (because control of the precinct caucuses assures domination of the higher-level party gatherings), the caucus participants may be unrepresentative of the rank- and-file voters within the state. If a small band of party activists, ideologues, or extremists capture control of the nominating machine within the state, they may in effect deprive the party of a serious opportunity to carry the presidential ticket in November. The case of the extreme right-wing Goldwaterites in 1964 frightening away Republican voters from the party banner in the presidential election and the case of the left-wing McGovernites capturing the Democratic presidential nominating machine in 1972 and then driving away moderate rank-and-file voters in the November election are two examples that readily come to mind.
On the other hand, the possibility of an extremist wing of the party controlling the outcome of a presidential primary election within a state is a low-risk factor. Consequently, in the 1970s, several states adopted presidential primaries to minimize the possibility of party activists dominating the national convention delegate selection process.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System:A Sourcebook. Contributors: James W. Davis - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 57.
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