U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook

By James W. Davis | Go to book overview

6 National Convention Delegate Selection before and after McGovern-Fraser Reforms

Before the rise of the Progressive movement at the turn of the century, all forty-five states-- Oklahoma did not join the Union until 1907; Arizona and New Mexico, until 1912; Hawaii, 1959; and Alaska, 1960--used the caucus-convention system to select state delegates to the national conventions. By the early years of the twentieth century, however, widespread charges of corruption and oligarchical control over the machinery of both major parties by the political bosses and vested interests who worked with them echoed across the land. It was the rising discontent among the middle class--the small businesspeople, members of the professions, and independent farmers--that spawned the Progressive movement and the rise of presidential primaries.


PROGRESSIVE ADVOCATES OF PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES

Over the next fifteen years the Progressives could claim credit for a series of governmental reforms: the direct primary, direct election of U.S. senators, nonpartisan local elections, the initiative, referendum, and recall. The Progressives, however, failed to achieve one of their major goals: major reform of the presidential nominating process. From the start, the Progressives argued that basic reform of the presidential nominating process could never take place until the state parties were freed from the vicelike grip of big-city bosses, state party leaders, and big business.

By 1912, under Progressive-inspired leadership, more than a dozen states had adopted presidential primaries to select national convention delegates and/or to express a presidential preference on the ballot. 1 But most of these

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U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Presidential Nominations-- American Style 1
  • Introduction 8
  • 2 - History of Presidential Nominations (1789-1968) 9
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Party Reform 20
  • Notes 32
  • 4 - Presidential Primaries in the Postreform Era (1972-1996) 34
  • Notes 44
  • 5 - The Caucus-Convention System 45
  • Notes 57
  • 6 - National Convention Delegate Selection Before and After Mcgovern-Fraser Reforms 59
  • Notes 66
  • 7 - Who Are the Delegates? 67
  • Notes 81
  • 8 - Nominating Strategies 83
  • Summary 98
  • Notes 99
  • 9 - Nominating Finance 101
  • Notes 122
  • 10 - Supreme Court Decisions and Presidential Nominations 125
  • Notes 132
  • 11 - Primaries, Caucuses, and the Mass Media 134
  • Notes 144
  • 12 - Primary Debates 146
  • Notes 155
  • 13 - Polls and Primaries 157
  • Notes 170
  • 14 - Voter Participation in Primaries and Caucuses 172
  • Notes 192
  • 15 - Proposed National Primary 195
  • Notes 205
  • 16 - Regional Primaries 206
  • Notes 213
  • 17 - National Preprimary Convention Plan and Other Recent Reform Proposals 215
  • Notes 221
  • 18 - National Nominating Conventions 223
  • Notes 251
  • 19 - Presidential Nominations: The Perot Model 254
  • Notes 261
  • Appendixes 263
  • Glossary 269
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 283
  • About the Author 295
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