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Presidential Nominating Process

Overview

The sprawling nominating process is the critical first step every four years in the election of the president. It is where the field of contenders is narrowed from a plethora of aspirants to the two finalists that carry the banners of the Democratic and Republican parties into the fall campaign. In a democracy such as ours, the voters should be major players in this process. Yet while 100 million or more Americans regularly participate in the election of the president, rarely does more than a third that number ...

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Overview

The sprawling nominating process is the critical first step every four years in the election of the president. It is where the field of contenders is narrowed from a plethora of aspirants to the two finalists that carry the banners of the Democratic and Republican parties into the fall campaign. In a democracy such as ours, the voters should be major players in this process. Yet while 100 million or more Americans regularly participate in the election of the president, rarely does more than a third that number vote in the presidential primaries and caucuses that nominate the candidates. And only a small percentage of these voters have a truly meaningful voice - the fortunate few in Iowa, New Hampshire and a handful of other early voting states that for all practical purposes decide for the rest of the nation who the nominees will be. The thrust of this book is to discuss how we as a nation got to this point, how the nominating process currently works, how that compares to other countries, and how our process might be changed to give a more meaningful voice to a much larger number of voters.

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Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
A handy, well-researched guide to the nuts, bolts and history of presidential politics.
The Frey Report
Well-written and interesting book.
Political Science Quarterly
Concise yet illuminating. . . . This enjoyable, informative book merits consideration by undergraduate instructors and civic-minded readers alike.
Harold W. Stanley
Rhodes Cook delivers an excellent, insightful, and highly readable work. Cook gives valuable historical and comparative accounts of leadership selection both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as authoritative appraisals of previous and proposed reforms, making this an indispensable book for understanding the evolution of the presidential nomination process leading to the 2004 primaries and caucuses.
E. J. Dionne Jr.
Rhodes Cook's searching intelligence, his love for what is real—and local—in American politics, and his indefatigable capacity for research have made him a national resource. He has turned his gifts to a nearly impossible problem: the search for a better way to nominate our presidential candidates. This thoughtful and helpful book puts so many of his gifts on display—notably fairness, clarity, sophistication, and an admirable love for democracy and popular participation. This is an enormous contribution to a debate we have every four years, and will no doubt have again soon."
Richard Bond
Terrific insights on how the leader of the free world is chosen. Read this book and you will never not vote again!
Ken Bode
William Marcy 'Boss' Tweed once said, 'I don't care who elects them as long as I nominate them.' Tweed was right: the critical first step in presidential elections is in the maze of primaries and caucuses, and in this timely book, Rhodes Cook tells us why it starts so early and costs so much. He also shows us who has the real power in the system, how it got that way and what reforms are needed to restore some influence to the average voter.
Mark Shields
For an awful lot of Americans, including many of us who cover the subject for a living, the nation's presidential nominating system and primaries remain a source of mystery and confusion. With his signature insight and gift for explanation, Rhodes Cook has written a political Baedeker's or Michelin—the definitive guide to understanding the nation's presidential nominating system. If you read Rhodes Cook's The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? I guarantee you will become a more informed - and maybe even a better—citizen or journalist.
Library Journal
A former political writer for Congressional Quarterly and author of the highly regarded The Rhodes Cook Letter, Cook is one of the true authoritative sources on the presidential nominating process. This short book is jam-packed with important information on the nominating process, placing it in both historical and comparative perspective. Cook traces the historical development of the nominating process from the early days of congressional caucus nominations to the development and proliferation of presidential primary elections. In doing so, he points out both the strengths and the many weaknesses of the process. Cook also performs a great service for readers by briefly comparing how the United States selects its leaders with the nominating methods of countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and Israel (this alone makes the book a valuable contribution). This truly outstanding work draws the reader into a complex web of money, primaries, and politics, offering suggestions for reform but holding out only slim hopes that the reforms will either be enacted or effective.-Michael A. Genovese Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742525931
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Series: American Political Challenges Series
  • Edition number: 176
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rhodes Cook has covered presidential and congressional elections for more than a quarter century - as a political writer for Congressional Quarterly from 1975 through 1997; since then as author of "The Rhodes Cook Letter," the host of a political website, and as a contributing editor for "Public Perspective." Since 1996, he has been the author of "America Votes" (a biennial compilation of nationwide election data) and has written several books on the presidential nominating process, most recently "United States Presidential Primary Elections 1968-1996: A Handbook of Election Statistics" and "Race for the Presidency: Winning the 2000 Nomination." He lives in Annandale, Virginia, with his wife, Memrie.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 I Is There a Place for Us? Chapter 2 A Process in Evolution: From the Founding Fathers to 1968 Chapter 3 Evolution Speeds Up: The Modern Era of Nominating Presidents Chapter 4 The Lay of the Land: 2004 Chapter 5 Looking to the World: How Other Countries Select Their Leaders Chapter 6 Can We Do Better Than This?

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