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If you look up Joe Lieberman on web and go to the wilkpedia entry you see republican
President Bush go up to the former Dem VP challenger and lean forward and hug
him. Some say he kissed him. This has been called the „kiss of‟ death as Liberman lost
his Dem slot for the 2006 Senate in the primary race within the Dem party – though
he had represented it since 1988.

It makes the point that primaries within parties are endemic in US politics. This
session though focuses on the special subtype of the presidential Primary. The key fact
about the US election is because the next contest in 2008 will be betetween 2
candidates as yet unknown.

As usual there are changes in the story. The text on pages 276 –7 discuss
the process before and after 1968. Some might call the current process
the New Primary System or the New Nomination System.This is another
area where ‘new’ seems irrestistible

In Britain we are fairly sure about the leaders who will contest our next
general election, but we do not know the timing of the election. But I
have changed Tory leader almost every year I have given this session. I
trust David Cameron is here for longer than his precessors.

For the US we know the date of the election -first week November,
2008. Now we can predict that there will about 15- 20 serious names in
each party next time.

Last time around do you remember names such as Al Sharpton, Dennis
Kucinich(Oh) , Howard Dean, Wesley Clark? It was by no means
obvious that Kerry would be Dem challenger.

Technically the two major party candidates are chosen in the 8 months
before the November election in the period of the primary elections–
though most informal campaigns start earlier– the so called invisible
primaries. So organisations are getting in place now.

In fact in 1999 before the start of the primaries in 2000, 6 of the 12
interested Republicans had withdrawn before the technical contest had
started. So some candidates lose before the official contest begins. So we
have lots of layers of complexity here. One article in PS and Politics
April 2003 says for example ‟In mid January 2003 for example I have
seen several articles claiming that the possible presidential candidacy of
Senator Bob Graham may be hurt by the fact that he is getting into the

race too late – even though the first primary is still a year away and the
general election twenty two months off.‟

The same article by William Mayer said that in every recent election
more than 230 individuals have filed a statement of candidacy with the
FEC. He says most election cycles generate 10–15 serious declared

I want to try a general approach rather than an accumulation of detail. That‟s because
 most of you have bought the expensive textbook. So far so good, but I
think I should add to the text book and try and comment on it rather than
simply repeat it.

This requires that you read the text: some students buy texts not as a
source but as a sort of lucky charm; they feel better that the book is in
their room but they don‟t quite get round to opening. So use the textbook
for the detail. I have read the chapter in the 8thedn so in this session I an
trying to reinforce that chapter by confirming the central themes and
adding some more detail as we have time at the end.

There is a wonderful website www.the

A third, and main reason, for avoiding a blow by blow account is two
fold. It is complicated because the story of nomination is the interaction
of the wishes of 50 states, the parties in the states and some attention to
national party rules. You can easily get lost and the Greenpapers gives
you more detail than you need, but I promise you are not expected to
know more than the stark pattern.

A further argument against a blow by blow approach is that this all
changes rapidly by time. You need to bear this in mind as you read.
Something true about a state in 1988 or 1992 might be untrue by 2008.
If you try to cover every detail, the impact of changes is overwhelming.

You will think I go into too much detail. I assure you I could make it

All that is to say that you should not be over ambitious and worry if you
do not get every detail correct. I want to use this session to try to ensure
you get the elements of the big picture correct. I am trying to establish

which details are important – and not matters which are properly for
American politics anoraks.

Note some of these terms are technical, but some are just journalistic

In an excellent book on the election of Jimmy Carter (Marathon) Jules
Witcover wrote that,

the maze of different
kinds of primaries ... has
made presidential politics
an insiders‟ game that
even many of the insiders
cannot follow. (Witcover,
Marathon, 1977)

I quote that as my usual get out of jail free card when accused of over complicating. I
am trying to persuade you that if I make this completely clear then I am over
simplifying. If this sounds complex it is because it is not because I have made it so. It
is my misfortune that it is complex not my fault. Witcover is saying that may of the
professionals are unsure of the system. That is because it is a patch work of local
rules. There is no uniform set of rues covering all states.

Note textbook p274

In the United States, almost all candidates for
major offices are nominated through a primary
election, a preliminary election conducted
within the party to select its candidates. 43
states use primary elections alone to nominate
candidates for all state and national offices,
and primaries figure in the nomination process
of all other states. The rules governing primary
elections vary greatly by state; and the can
change between elections. Hence it is difficult
to summarize the types of primary and their
incidence. Every state uses primary elections
to nominate candidates for statewide office,
but about ten states also use party conventions
to place names on the primary ballots. The
nomination process then is highly centralized,
resting on the decisions of thousands, perhaps
millions, of the party rank and file, who
participate in primary elections.

From the text book I also extracted a sort of text for the day: we can also pick up a bit
of jargon underpinning this:From party centred to candidate centred elections.

   Perhaps the most important
   change in American elections is
   that candidates don‟t campaign
   just to get elected anymore. It is
   now necessary to campaign for
   nomination as well… For most
   important offices today, however,
   candidates     are    no   longer
   nominated      by     the   party
   organization but within the party.
   (Janda, Berry and Goldman, 2005,

The distinguishing feature of the
nomination process in American
party politics is that it usually
involves an election by party
voters.[GJ: Note this expression: we
might want to qualify this later]
National party leaders do not choose
their party‟s nominee for president
or even its candidates for House and
Senate seats. (Janda et al, 2005, 274)

Even the Tory party election process now has an element of the US about
it. The current choice handed over to the party members.

So the core of this session is the nomination of the Presidential
Candidates. In this we come across a new world of jargon: if by the end
of this session everyone is not happy with these terms then I will have
failed to make the jargon clear - and you will have failed because you did
not ask I have read through Chapter 9 of the textbook and here is a list of
the sort of terms that are not individually difficult but collectively make
this rather impenetrable.

Closed Primary
Open Primary
Blanket Primary
GOP (ie Republican)/ Democratic
National Conventions (ie 2 – one for each
Democratic/ GOP National Committee (ie
2– one for each party)
Direct Primary
Presidential Preference Primary
Delegate Selection Primaries
Favorite Son
Super Tuesday/ Fat Tuesday
Big 10 Tuesday
Junior Tuesday

Note that the Janda chapter starts with one discussion (primaries in
general) and moves on without signalling it too clearly - to something
more important but narrower.

They say a primary election is a preliminary election conducted within
the party to select its candidates. 43 states use primary elections alone
and primary elections feature in the nomination processes of other states.
They say (p274)

The rules governing primary elections
vary greatly state by state; and they can
change between elections.Hence it is
difficult to summarize the types of
primary and their incidence.

On p275 Janda et al start talking about Nomination for the Presidency.
This is a special sub type of candidate nomination process.

The start of the section is about the fact that generally party candidates
for elected office in the US are chosen not by the party hierarchy, but by
the public. The fact that parties in part select Presidential candidates by
primary is the most important case of a wider phenomenon.

The diseases that the Americans were trying to cure in devising this
system are obvious and perhaps two fold. In British politics in a safe seat
the public have no real choice. If they want to support the national party
they have to vote for, to put in office, whoever the local party selects.

Or the disease might be that at some point the public resist the views of
the central party. Some might say that this was a problem that befell the
Old Labour party: The public might have supported a Blair style or
Social Democrat type Labour candidate, but they had to back the Left
candidates then chosen by constituency activists – or vote for another
party. The party views were out of step with the more moderate public

So the primaries were invented to generate candidates in step with public
opinion. (This might of course have had unintended consequences). You
might argue that the Consevatives with leaders like Howard got
themselves a series of less likely election winners because they have
allowed members too much say… )

This is a perennial problem for parties: activists tend to want a more
extreme policy position than is palatable to the public at large. Too much
activist power might diminish party electability. So the primaries exist in
theory to ensure that the candidates selected are in tune with the broad
electorate, or at least the views of party sympathisers rather than party
insiders. In practice party insiders might care more about winning and
select more centrist candidates.

The primaries allow the wider public to referee a battle within the party.
On say the battle over Europe within the Tory party, there would, in a
primary system, be a chance for the public to decide which sort of Tory
candidates they wanted - and hence in aggregate what kind of Tory party
they wanted.

A possible misunderstanding here is the breadth of the electorate that is
allowed to vote in a primary: that is why I noted above the phrase „party
voters‟. The assumption in the primary system is that a large proportion
of the ultimate electorate participates. Not just a few card carrying

If it is only a limited number or are eligible to participate – or in practice
participate you might still get selections that reflect the unelectable
activists rather than the mainstream electorate. There is at least a hint that
that is what the Tories have done in the UK. In letting the party members
vote on a leader they may have set up a system generating a leader
popular with the activists over one who might have maximised votes.

Janda et al say

In the United States, almost all aspiring
candidates for major offices are
nominated through the primary
election, a preliminary election
conducted within the party to select its
candidates. 43 states use primary
elections alone to nominate candidates
for all state and national offices, and
primaries figure in the nomination
processes of all other states.(Janda et
al, 2005, p274).
[It is worth stressing that the figures refer to nomination for all
posts and not presidential nominations at which we are really

They say,

A presidential primary is a special
primary held to select delegates to
attend a party‟s national nominating

 So this is the vital difference between a primary for say Democrat
candidate to be Governor and a presidential primary. For the Governor
there are numerous names on the ballot and the wimnner wins the right to
represent the party. In the Presidential process the primary winner picks
up delegates. The actual selection is made at national conventions of the
parties and the primaries determine who attend that.
Step one in this argument might be to remember that this is a state by
state process.

There are contests within each party, within each state that show who
party sympathisers in the state want as the Presidential contender for
each the candidate slot of each party.

The issue is how to reconcile the views of the different states. If some
states want Clinton and others want Gore, which candidate does the
national party select?

The basic answer is the selection of Delegates – States select delegates
who attend a party National Convention. The numbers of delegates at
the NC favouring a candidate determines the winner (majority

Each major party has a National Convention to which states are
allocated Delegates according to a formula (different for each party) that
reflects state popn, state loyalty to the party in previous elections, etc.

In 2004

Dem Boston July 26
There were 4,322 convention participants. The winner needed 2162
votes. Kerry got 4253. Dennis Kunich got 43 There was no recount.
Rep NY Aug 30th

The public in a primary state select delegates in anticipation of which
candidate the delegates will back at the convention. Therefore if the
Republican public want Bush to win, they really select Bush leaning
delegates.(This might or might not be obvious on the state ballot).

The Candidate selected by each party is technically, (note that
reservation) chosen by the Delegates within each party national

So the links in the simplified   Presidential nomination system I am
describing is

The public in States
select Delegates in contests
within parties –

Delegates      attend    the
relevant Party conventions –

Relevant      convention
Decides on Candidate for
each Party.

In      presidential      preference
primaries (used in all 42
Democratic primaries in 2000 and in
most of the 45 Republican primaries
in 1996) party supporters vote
directly for the person they favor as
their party‟s nominee for president.
In almost all Democratic presidential state primaries, the candidates win
delegates in proportion to votes cast according to a variety of formulas.
Most commonly 15% of vote gets you some delegates to go to national
convention. In most Republican contests it is winner take all (as used to
be case in Democrats.) bot sometimes winner take more of

In the American experience, the invention of public selection of
candidates as well as between candidates came from the Progressive
movement of the first quarter of the 20th century. This is described in
Chapter 7 of Janda. The Progressives were reacting against party
corruption and thought the answer was to give more say to the public. As
the table in Janda shows( 7.3) the progressives advocated a range of

Referendum (25 states), Initiative (20 states) Recall (20 states - rarely

The Progressive device that really interests today is the Primary. Janda

Not content to vote for candidates
chosen by party leaders, the
Progressives championed the Direct
primary - a preliminary election, run
by state governments, in which the
voters choose the party‟s candidate
for the general election. Wanting a
mechanism to remove elected
candidates    from     office,    the
Progressives backed the recall, a
special election initiated by a
petition signed by a specified
number of voters. (2005, p215).

We can dress it up, but the main point is that the public have a say in
choosing the candidates. This is true for all elected posts of any
importance. AS I said earlier I think Janda rather glides over something
that causes confusion. Primaries are not just something for selecting
Presidential candidates - but as the chapter then only gives examples of
Presidential contests - the impression may be that there are only
Presidential primaries.

In fact the Presidential Primaries that we will look at are in some ways
atypical. Two points:

*Fewer States use Presidential Primaries than use Primaries for other

*Presidential Primaries (largely) select delegates not candidates.

Now I want to invent something that does not exist, but it describes the
heart of the system: we can embellish later.

A    Hypothetical,  Pure,
Primary - only,
Presidential     Candidate
Selection Process.

 I can think of 20 or more qualifications we can make, but the main point
is that a pure primary system does not exist. The burden of the rest of this
session is about showing the complications that make real life much
more chaotic that the pure model suggests.

One important fact about the primaries is that they are held in a strung
out fashion from about Feb to June. If we were inventing a primary
system we would probably simply hold all the primaries on the same
date. This does not happen and this has real implications over which
states are important – and hence who wins,

The introduction of the Primary was initially one of the Progressives
successes. First used in the Presidential selection process in 1912, Janda
says on p278

‟Heralded as a party “reform”, primaries spread like wildfire. By 1916, a
majority of delegates to both conventions were chosen through party
elections, but presidential primaries soon dropped in popularity.‟

 So by 1926 there were 26 states holding presidential primaries, but at
least 8 repealed their laws by 1935.So we have a pattern of expansion of
primaries, retreat, and then expansion from the late 60s onwards. So
primaries grew in number, retreated in the middle third of the century,
grew in the 70s but growth is now plateaued.

One reason for the retreat in the 20s and 30–s was the expense for
candidates and states, but secondly states found they could get more
influence on the choice by having less participatory choices. Remember
at that time a two thirds majority needed in convention and that hard to
get.There was a chicken and egg. Winning delegates by candidates in old
style primaries was not determining the final selection – so it was not
worth candidates competing and the spiral of decline set in.

 Instead of selecting delegates to go to back candidates states went to
convention with uncommitted delegates to be courted for their votes.
FAVORITE SONS. This meant more promises of assistance for the state
and jobs for the state party officials. State leaders thought they did better
by trading with potential national leaders than by committing to

States in the 20s through to the 50s tended to assume they could get more
influence by not letting the public bind its hands over who to support.
States thought they did better by letting the local political elite do the
choosing - or by choosing to not back anyone until the convention. This
was the Favourite Son strategy; they would select an interim candidate to
back, knowing that at the convention they can dump him and try to back
a winning coalition.

Janda gives the example of the 1920 Republican convention that
produced 9 ballots and dead lock and then a meeting of party leaders that
produced Warren Harding to win the 10th ballot as a compromise.

These dramas at the conventions were caused by the twin facts
that delegates tended to be there as free agents –
and a two thirds majority to win the position as candidate was originally

So because at that time Conventions made the real choice, there was a
downward spiral in the popularity of primaries. As they did not deliver
crucial decisive, choice determining delegates (unlike today) then the
primary process went into decline.

Now this is important to realise particularly if you are a keen student and
reading more than the minimum. If you read wonderful accounts of
campaigns such as Theodore White‟s Making of the President series -
especially the 1960 Kennedy Election year - primaries are very
important. But, and here is the problem, the 1960 importance is different
from say 1996 or 2004.

Why were primaries important to say Kerry in 2004? For a modern
candidate, primaries are important because they determine - as intended
in the pure model - delegates who determine who wins the Convention.

For Kennedy in 1960 (Old style nomination) the primary rewards were
different, vital but symbolic. In the Kennedy period, the primary
delegates were not crucial in directly determining the choice. Even if you
won all the primaries there were not enough Delegates to secure the
nomination, but they demonstrated to the real choice makers – the party
and state bosses – that you had electoral appeal. So winning in the
primaries won a few delegates but more importantly for Kennedy it
persuaded non primary states to back him at the Convention …

 Kennedy in 1960 entered some - but not even all - of the comparatively
few primaries there were. Committed Delegates from winning these
primaries were an incidental benefit of this strategy. He wanted to show
state party leaders who dominated the votes of their slates of delegates
from the non primary states to back him in the convention.

So now I am saying enter the primaries to win delegates in these states:
Kennedy was entering primaries to win delegates in primary states but
more importantly to influence the decisions in the non primary states. At
that time even if he won al the primaries there were not enough primary
delegates to ensure victory in the Convention. Now there is.

So it was important that Kennedy won in Wisconsin and West Virginia
not (centrally) so that he could get the delegates, but so he could prove
he, a NE Catholic, was a viable candidate in non Catholic states. In fact
though he won 56% of the vote in Wisconsin he failed to carry important
Protestant areas…

Indeed it is argued that if Humphrey had kept out of the West Virginia
contest then Kennedy could not have proved Humphrey was beatable by
a catholic.. In fact White described the result in his wonderful prose,
„Hill pocket, hill slope, industrial town, Charleston, parkersburg,
Wheeling, suburban white, negro – the Kennedy tide was moving,
powerfully, irresistibly, all across the Protestant state, writing its message
for every politician in the nation to see. „ (122)


On Monday we had noted that primaries are largely about party
supporters voting in intra party contests to select delegates who are
committed to go to the party National Convention to support potential
party Presidential nominees. The choice is made by an absolute maj in
the National Convention.

The core of the argument today deals with why the primaries became so
much more important post 1968. The So called New Primary system. We
noted that under the influence of the Progressive movement primaries
had been very popular, them stalled and reduced in mnumber.

We noted that even the 1960 version of the Nominating Process and the
National Convention was very different from the present Nominating
Process and the National Convention. As recent as 1960 doing well in
the primaries was a way of influencing the Convention. Kennedy ran in
some but not all primaries not to win delegates but to PROVE HE
COULD WIN DELEGATES. By proving he was a vote winner the party
leaders in the non primary states were persuaded to throw their delegates
behind Kennedy.

To understand this we need a sweeping generalization about the
American Party System. Part of this course is emphasising that
Congressmen and say state Governors can survive without national party
or Presidential support. But at the same time there are a multiplicity of
state and national offices up for electoral determination in the US at the
same time. As a state party boss you might actually have a greater
interest in the state jobs that are up for grabs. But having a Vote winning
party candidate at the top of the ticket is seen as great help in winning the
local elections you might be interested in. So there are phrases like „Vote
the ticket‟ that capture the idea that an individual might see a name they
like a at the head of the party offering and all the candidates of the party
benefit. A similar idea is Presidential coat tails. A President with big coat
tails might help extra members of Congress win their seats. And so the
conventional wisdom is that they are more responsive to Presidential
requests: there is a sense that they are there because of the President and
if the voters see they frustrating the President, they might lose next time.

In the old style Convention, there was a fervent and unpredictable
politics on the floor of the convention with jockeying to trade delegates

for promises from candidates. There would be rumours and deals. The
TV cameras would be there with journalists stoking up the speculation.
The ideal deal for a state would be the delegation that tipped the balance
and gave a challenger the delegates to yield and absolute majority. Yjat
gave maximum leverage and publicity.

Now things have changed. We are talking about the primaries pre
cooking the Convention. The message at the Conventions is now in
effect „Here is one we Selected Earlier‟. In other words the delegate
count in the New expanded primary post 1968 situation is in the public
record before the convention starts.

There are several factors pushing to the change that makes the
Convention more a ceremonial event than a real decisionvenue.In the old
days it was essentially winner take all allocation of delegates within
states and so you did not run where you did not think you would win;
moreover you might not run because it was at the convention where the
real decision was made and that was only marginally affected by the
number of delegates committed from the (few) primaries.

But we now have what we can call the Carter Strategy as he was the one
who really realised the implication of rules changes. In 1976 (actually
and importantly) and earlier for the three years prior to that, he just
started to run everywhere.

In the modern system candidates don‟t make sophisticated judgements
about where to run, but they run everywhere because under a form of PR
there are now delegates available in almost every state. It is worth
running to be second.

And of course there is the cyclical argument. Aspirants run because there
are more primaries selecting delegates. Because there are more primaries
selecting delegates, states are tempted to start their own primary because
it is now no use waiting to the Convention to try to be influential in
coalition building. So it is more important than ever for Aspirants to run.

 The Convention has in practice if not in theory turned into a kind of
coronation ceremony. {Raise this later} So as primaries get more
important the convention gets less important .

Janda et al said in the1997 edition,

“In 1996, the public already knew that Bob Dole was the Republican‟s
nominee and Bill Clinton the Democrats. ... What kind of TV event was
this? Observers variously referred to it as a „variety show‟ as „part sales
meeting, part high - school reunion, part Broadway tryout‟ and as an
„awards program.‟” (Janda et al,1997, p284)

The convention in 1960 when Kennedy was running was very different.
The decision was made there: there was tension, uncertainty. By 2004 we
knew the which candidates the vast bulk of the Delegates supported
before their respective convention. The calculations are done in advance
of the convention by any journalist.

Now, in effect, the press or a 100 websites do the counting of delegates
that determine who is selected - not the Convention.

The Old style National Convention which perhaps ran to about 1970
(plus or minus an election) was about state delegations that were
uncommitted and could be swung behind candidates as a result of
brokering and deals. As late as 1968 Hubert Humphrey won the Dem
nomination without winning a primary. But this was seen as so
unsatisfactory that it started a process of reform that we are still living
with. The essence of the changes was that there be wider participation.

Theodore Whites Making of the President 1968 gives the background,

More than 600 delegates in the convention
had been chosen in by processes begun
over 2 years ago. In three states, one man
alone could appoint all, or most of the
delegates … In Georgia, the Party rules let
the governor appoint that state chairman,
who then, with the governor‟s approval,
appointed all of the names on the slate. In
other states, many or all of the delegates
were appointed by the Party‟s executive
committee,      whose    members      were
themselves      chosen    by      processes
incomprehensible to any but seasoned full-
time politicians,
 (1968, p320)

This process sparked of a reaction requiring openness and delegates
reflecting public choices. The basic point of the reforms (Called
variously McGovern or McGovern Fraser reforms) is that the 1968 Dem
convention was unsatisfactory because those at the convention selecting
Hubert Humphrey were out of touch with the Dem supporters who were
on the streets of Chicago protesting against the Vietnam war. Humphry
won in 68 without a primary strategy

So the Dem party invented various quotas and mechanisms to try to make
sure that the Convention looked like the electorate. In the confusion of
Chicago the D pty accepted a minority report on rules that, according to
Theodore White, they did not fully understand. This talked about all
Democratic voters getting „full meaningful and timely opportunity to
participate in the selection of delegates.‟

This set up the reform Commission, initially under George McGovern,
which suggested quotas and demands for proportionality. In 1976 the
Mikulkski Commission reported which allocated delegates by PR.

Now it was not a deliberate intention of those introducing this period of
change that there be a switch to primaries, but state parties seemed to
think it was easier to meet the new expectations by instituting primaries.

Later and confusingly the Dem Party got a degree of cold feet at these
changes and the Hunt Commission in 1984 saw a kind of back tracking
from the earlier reforms. It temporarily allowed winner take more
delegate allocation or winner take all at District level. It increased the
number of superdelegates. They were invented to cope with the fact that
primaries had pushed out the party professional from the convention.
The Hunt Commission said,

  Primaries have proliferated, removing decision making from party
  caucuses and conventions. Our national convention has been in
  danger of what one critic has called „a rubber stamp electoral
  college‟. To an alarming extent our party‟s officials have not
  participated in and this have felt only a limited responsibilty for or
  recent national conventions.

But the Hunt Commission is a sort of footnote to the story . The basic
thrust is still that primaries are a necessary rote for challengers. But Hunt
is pointing to a consequence of primaries and giving more power to the
party supporters. Ar firs sight this looks like a democratic gain. The real

issue here was that the party officials were uneasy at the kind of winner
from conventions post McGovern Fraser where primary elected delegates
were in control. Primary participation is low - maybe 25% and the
diagnosis was that the kind of candidate who appealed to those keen
enough to vote in the primary might be very different from the kind of
candidate who could win in the November General Election. Therefore
and ironically as usual, giving power to supporters seemed to encourage
less electable choices for November.

To be blunter about it, the Hunt reasoning was that the liberal leaning
activists who vote in the primary might select liberal candidates who
were incapable of picking up the centre vote in November. The
superdelegates of experienced politicians PLEO Party Leaders and
Elected Officials) were added to the list of delegates to try to ensure
more electable choices. The irony is that while the origin of the primary
system was to ensure the emergence of candidates that reflected public
opinion, critics within the Dem party were saying that primaries
produced less acceptable candidates than did the older system.

Democrats now have nearly 20% of the delegates from each state set
aside for Pledged Party leaders and Elected Officials (PLEOs) and
uncommitted superdelegates.[This kind of detail very fluid].

As part of this reaction against the reforms of the 70s it is worth noting
that there is no rise and rise of the number of Dem primaries. If anything
they are in minimal retreat .But compared with Kennedy period we are
still in a primary dominated period.

Conventions now are very different from this of even 1968.The New
Convention is about reflecting mechanically the result of primaries in
selecting Delegates. In that way the result is normally certain and easily
forecast. (In using the idea of old Convention and New Convention to
reflect the British fashion for applying these adjectives promiscuously.)
[I see Janda makes a similar point by calling the difference as between
Open Conventions and Closed Conventions.] They are just labels so use
whatever you want.

There are some important numbers in Janda around p276 about the
numbers of primaries that are held. We can rougly say that about 30
states use primaries and another 10 at least partly use primaries. You can
sense Janda et al trying to avoid too precise a formulation while trying to
give a sensible sense of scale.

At the last time of looking in all Democratic primaries, candidates who
win at least 15% of the vote divide the delegates from the state in
proportion to the percent they won..

In almost half the Republican Primaries, the winning candidate takes all
the states convention delegates. In Delegate Selection Primaries (used
only by Republicans in six states in 1996), party voters directly elect
convention delegates, who may or may not have declared for a
presidential candidate.(Janda et al, 1997, p29)

So the story sp faR IS THAT – AT LEAST IN PART IN AN
UNINTEDED RESPONSe                    to the mcgovrn reforms presidential
primaries appeared all over US (they had always been fairly ubiquitous
for non Presidential posts. That does of course raise the issue of the non
primary Presidental races. At least in part we can argue they can be
ignored as they are now so overwhelmed by primaries, but at least the
Iowa process is vital.
Janda et al run on from that passage to describe what happens in the states where there
are no primaries. Somehow they have also to sel

Janda et al (2002.p272) say,(similar quote on p278 of current version)

The local caucus method of delegate
selection has several stages. It begins
with local meetings, or caucuses, of
party supporters to choose delegates to
attend a larger subsequent meeting,
usually at the county level. Most
delegates selected in the local caucuses
openly back one of the presidential
candidates. The county meetings, in
turn, select delegates to a higher level.
The process culminates in a state
convention, which actually selects the
delegates to the national convention.
Only nine states (but all four territories)
relied mainly on the caucus process in
2000 (a few combined caucuses with
primaries).(2002, p272)

The caucus system is thus multi staged and protracted. In an important
way in the early caucuses what counts is not the final results but who
seems to be winning. In 1976 Iowa had 47 out of 3008 delegates, but it
was important to Carter (Jimmy Who) because it gave him a profile. It
was a complex system of selecting delegates and at the end of the day
Carter did not even get a spectacular share of the 47, but the quick count
on the first stage seemed to give him a lead and established him as a front
runner. In the end Carter got 25 delegates and M Udall got 20, but it was
the returns from the precincts on the start of the process that gave Carter
his campaign impetus. What counts is how press reads the first stage not
the fine print of actual delegate share some months later.

There is a very interesting and fairly typical story in Witcover
(Marathon). In Feb 1975 Carter had his eye on the 1976 election and
wanting towin the Democratic nomination managed to wangle an invite
to speak in Iowa (which has its very early caucus still allowed following
tradition though earlier than the official start of the campaign ). It was the
only speech slot he could get and he was guest speaker to a lady retiring
as Plymouth County Recorder after 38 years. He was probably not even
first choice.

For his efforts Carter was declared citizen of ... the day by the local radio
station. He got a free car wash, free ticket to the cinema and a free pizza..

However after the event his assistant Jody Powell circulated through the
crowd and took the names of people who seemed to have liked Carter.
This was the start of the Carter organisation in Iowa. In a piece of
important jargon we can say that American politics is candidate centred.
The nature of these contests within parties has an impact that runs
through American politics. The candidates are not the creation of parties
but candidates must create their own organisations to win the party label.
So for Carter and other aspirants they had to build their own
organisations in the states because the selection process is about getting
delegates from states.

Often the politics between contenders within parties is more extreme
than you will get in the General Election. One impact of this form of
candidate selection is that it sort of puts a premium on contenders within
parties finding something to fall out about - so one can be more popular
than the next. In their book Candidates, Parties and Campaigns, Salmore
and Salmore talk about candidate centred campaigns and the eclipse of

local parties and the rise of personalised machines run by professional

A broad argument in this session is that there has been a shift from
caucuses to primaries in states: The participatory mood of the 1970s
made primaries seem more legitimate. But let us also note that the nature
of primaries has changed. When I was a student we got the impression
that [primaries were largish scale events but caucuses were smoke filled
rooms: that after all was why they were invented to take power away
from the party bosses and restore choice to the public.

But caucuses now - partly by the public looking over their shoulders at
the primary states – are also far more participatory events. A figure I
have for Iowa in 1988 is that 200,000 voters took part n 6,000 caucuses.
According to Barger in his book The Impossible President the caucus
participation in the 80s varied from 0.4 in Alaska to 4.7% in Louisiana.
4.7% sounds low but it is a different scale from the smoke filed room.

The term Participatory Caucus has been applied to these modern style
caususes. Salmore and Salmore in Candidates, Parties and Campaigns
say (1984, 44)
   aside from the procedure ... there was little to distinguish the Iowa
   caucuses for instance from the New Hampshire primary; they had
   both become media and candidate centred events.‟

Apart from Iowa caucuses tend to attract less media coverage and
generally are seen as rather old fashioned and unimportant.

The primary dates – and the political consequences of dates.

It was suggested on Tuesaday that if the primary system was invented
afresh all the primaries might be on same day. This is not the case.

INSERT 2004 presidential dates

Some points we can notice from either sheet are

1. Contests are on Different Dates.

2. Number of Delegates are different for the two parties. That doesn‟t matter: there
doesn‟t have to be equality as the contests are within parties and not between parties.

To have won the Democrat contest in 1996 the magic number was half of 4,295; for
the Republicans it was half 1,984. Both parties allocate delegation size by state
population but there is also a top up depending on how the state voted last time out.

3.Note Puerto Rico, US Territories, Democrats Abroad get a mention. Such points I
mention just to say that they are unimportant: do not get hung up on them.

4. Note not states are equal. Some have many more delegates than others. So there are
small states like New Hampshire with 26 Democrat delegates compared with
California with 423.

So is it reasonable to say that California is 15 times more important than New
Hampshire? Of course not. New Hampshire is probably more important than
California. But California could have much more impt in 2000 than 1996. We need to
explain both these points later.

5. Note that these things are not permanent. One reason why there is some apparent
confusion in the books is that states change their practices. So these are the rules for
1996; they were different in 1992 and will differ again in 2004.

Since the sheet mentions the terms.

Closed and open we should maybe capture the difference here.

Basically a closed primary is accessible only to registered party identifiers - those who
as registered as supporters (not quite the same as members).

The Open primary is less demanding. You can select to be a Rep or a Dem on the day
of the vote.

(There are further minor distinctions: some such as the Alabama Republican Caucus
are Open but only to Independents and Republicans). In other states you can ask for
both ballots and only use one.

Obviously parties prefer the more closed systems as there are examples of cross overs
ie one party can organise supporters to cross over and determine the choice of
delegates to the other party‟s convention.

[In Texas in the 1980s Reagan was beating Ford in the R primary. Wallace has
effectively dropped out of the Dem contest so Reagan recruited right wing Democrats
to vote for him in the Republican primaries over the more centrist Ford.

Coincidently in his home state of Michigan, Ford was using crossovers to beat
Reagan. He was saying, „I wasnt every person registered in this state to vote for me,
whether they call themselves Dems, Reps or Independents.‟ Ford‟s argument was
support a Michigan man.]

We have, I hope, a reasonably clear picture that within parties those who wish to get
the party nomination have to battle to get delegates. Getting half the delegates will

secure the nomination - technically at the convention, but in practice when the rolling
total allocated by primaries and caucuses reaches half the delegate total of the relevant
national convention.

If we again briefly retrieve the idea of a pure Primary System I think we would if
inventing it with a clean sheet, without thinking much about it, organise all primaries
for the same day. Of course they do not do so and the consequences of this time
dimension are important for the operation of the process.

We have noted the Iowa caucus and the way in which candidates might pay especial
importance to it. The reason is revealed if we go back to the Nominating Season chart.
Iowa 56 Dem delegates, 25 Republican Feb 12 th: New Hampshire Feb 20th, fewer
delegates but a primary rather than a caucus. Iowa and New Hampshire have
historically been vital because they were early. Failure in the early states meant
contenders could not stay in contention for later contests,. Big MO.

Candidates and the media have made Iowa and New Hampshire the accepted starting
points, even if other states vote before them..

In the New Nomination process (if we again use that term) is that the process has
become front loaded. This has been a profound change. This in fact is in part a
consequence of the rule changes of the 70s and 80s.Janda 7th edn)
Fig 9.1
shows that in 1988 it took 19 weeks to select 75% of the delegates. By 2000 this was
down to 11 weeks.

This change again has to be appreciated if we are to make sense of the older
descriptions of the nomination process. Congressional Quarterly says,

Not long ago, states scattered their primaries across the calendar from Feb to June,
giving candidates that survived the opening contests time to raise money and hone
their strategies.(p2483)

So in the old days you could start with a comparatively cheap shot at the Presidency.
The early states tended to be quite small - by historical accident. So an outsider could
try his luck and if he finished in the top three or four out of the 6 - 12 candidates that
always seem to come out of the woodwork, then they could attract enough finance to
make the next step.

In the old style you could attract money by winning; crudely you now need to have the
organisations in place and hence spend the money, before you can prove yourself a
winner. Again Con Quarterly says that early financing is more prerequisite than ever.
By the start of the primary season a candidate will almost certainly need to have raised
millions of dollars - some say as much as $20 million - to compete effectively.

In the old days when the campaign was elongated a sort of short list was determined
by the early results and then they fought out the contest over a couple of months.

In 1972 there were only 2 primaries before the middle of March. In 1988 there were
20 primaries and 6 caucuses before March 15 th.

In 1996 30 states held contests by March 14 and 38 by March 31. So there has been a
compression in the effective length of the campaign. In 2000 the contests were really
over by March 14th.In 2004 John Edwards withdrew on March 3rd effectively giving
Kerrey the nomination.

The idea of campaign compression was deliberate, but it has as usual not emerged as
intended. In 1984 the party tried to keep the contest in the window of March 13 to
June 10th. They were concerned that as states competed for attention they would leap
frog each other earlier and earlier.They introduced the idea of a start on March 13th -
except that they finally agreed to respect the tradition of the early states of Iowa, New
Hampshire, Maine and Vermont to stay out of the window.

In the past decade groups of states to move their contests to the start of the season.
This hasas called Super Tuesday or Fat Tuesday (referring to the number of delegates
available). This has actually pushed Iowa and New Hampshire even earlier.
Now why would states rush to the start of the calendar?Basically it was because if
they were later they tended to be ignored.

The first states in the Super Tuesday strategy were a band of frost belt states - the old
areas of industrial decline.They said why should the filtering of Dem candidates be
done in the mainly Republican small states of New England? We will give contenders
a big band of industrial state delegates so that candidates will hang on in until
Supertuesday.. Before the primaries had caught on the big industrial states had been
the kingmakers because of their clout in the general election: Supertuesday was a way
to win back influence..

In 1988 a group of Southern States made a play for more attention. They essentially
argued that the real winning strategy for the Democrats in November is to regain the
South to the Dem coalition. So they said in effect we‟ll do two things.

1. We‟ll go over to primaries because they attract more media attention.

2, We‟ll also go to the start of the race so that candidates with Southern credibility
might struggle in New England and hang on to a boost from the Southern Super

This was expressed by Charles Robb, former Governor of Virginia, he said,

   We want candidates to think about the South as they speak to audiences in Iowa.
   We want them to keep them from taking positions there that would kill them in

14 states from the South joined Supertuesday in 1988. In 1992 Bill Clinton saw this
pay off. He lost New Hampshire to Paul Tsongas and South Dakota to Kerrey, and
Colorado To Jerry Brown. But on SuperTues March 10th he won Southern contests

A state like California is juggling several factors. It might want to go earlier just in
case the contest is decided before then but it also wants attention on itself or with few
competitors so the March 26th shift in 1996 (from June) was a compromise. It
guessed that 26 th is not too late for someone likely to need their delegates to hang on
especially on the Rep side where it is winner take all. (Decided to go even earlier in

So in the New Nomination system the date changes have tried to stop candidates from
bring excluded in the rather arbitrary early contests of Iowa and New Hampshire. In
2000 the first legitimate date for the Dems was March 7th,. Southern SuperTuesday
was on March 14th.

Turnout in the primary states before and incl March 7th was 22.9% Afterwords it was
14% as in the result really in bag,

Now we are near I hope an understanding of how the New Nomination process has
downgraded the National Convention; as the Janda chapter argues the National
Conventions are reduced in importance BUT the final thought is what if the PR new
system allows three contenders to stay in the race. It is now a short race and there is
not a filtering over time as used to happen. PR spreads the votes around. There could
in fact again be an interesting convention.


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