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

By James W. Davis | Go to book overview
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place without the approval of a Republican National Convention. This process itself spells delay. For example, recommendations of the GOP Delegates and Organizations Committee, established in 1969 to encourage greater rank-and-file participation in the delegate selection process, could not be considered until the 1972 Republican Convention. Furthermore, if any action had been taken by the 1972 GOP convention on the rules, they could not be implemented until the 1976 convention. No wonder one critic complained, "The system employed by the Republicans institutionalizes conflict avoidance; it deflects and rechannels dissent before it can emerge ultimately at the national convention."14

Based on a review of the two parties' management of the presidential selection process over the past quarter century, students of presidential nominating reform would do well to focus their sights chiefly on the Democratic Party, for the Republican Party prefers to continue doing business the old-fashioned way--that is, to defer to the state parties in all phases of the delegate selection process.

The authoritative work on the early period of the presidential primary is Louise Overacker, The Presidential Primary ( New York: Macmillan, 1926).
Theodore H. White, The Making of the President ( New York: Atheneum, 1969), pp. 257-313.
See Mandate for Reform: A Report of the Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection to the Democratic National Committee ( McGovern-Fraser Commission) ( Washington, D.C.: Democratic National Committee, 1970), pp. 9- 32.
Byron E. Shafer, Quiet Revolution: The Struggle for the Democratic Party and the Shaping of Post-Reform Politics ( New York: Sage Foundation, 1983).
Democratic Party of the United States et al. v. LaFollette et al., 101 S.Ct. 1010 ( 1981).
See Martin P. Wattenberg, The Rise of Candidate-Centered Politics ( Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).
Nelson W. Polsby, Consequences of Party Reform ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 74-75.
Elaine C. Kamarck, "Delegate Allocation Rules in Presidential Nomination Systems: A Comparison between the Democrats and the Republicans," The Journal of Law and Politics 4 (Fall 1987): 276.
William Crotty, Party Reform ( New York: Longman, 1983), p. 215.


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