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

By James W. Davis | Go to book overview

3 Party Reform

Without the divisiveness created by the anti-Vietnam War protesters in the late 1960s, the women's movement, and demands of civil rights leaders, it seems doubtful that party reform, especially in the Democratic Party, would have become the powerful force that transformed the presidential nominating process forever. The spark that set off the explosion of party reform was the strife-torn 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago.

Antiwar candidate Senator Eugene J. McCarthy and his partisans screamed "foul" when Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey won the Democratic nomination without having entered a single primary. McCarthy, a political unknown, had nearly upset President Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire primary, and his impending victory in the upcoming Wisconsin primary reportedly persuaded President Johnson not to seek reelection. Throughout the general election campaign, McCarthyites remained convinced that their candidate had been denied the nomination by insider caucus-convention politics and a stacked convention.


EARLY REFORM COMMISSION

Earlier in the hot summer of 1968, a group of outnumbered McCarthy supporters, led by Iowa Democratic Governor Harold Hughes, created the first reform commission to study the procedures by which national convention delegates had been chosen. Officially known as the Commission on the Democratic Selection of Presidential Nominees, the Hughes Commission reported a disheartening picture of unfair practices. The list of abuses uncovered by the Hughes and McGovern-Fraser Commission was long and detailed. In more than twenty states the party rules governing national

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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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